We're in the process of rationalising our blogs, and we've decided to amalgamate the EleganceStudios.com blog with my personal HywelPhillips.com one.
To see future posts and keep up to date with our latest productions, please go to the new combined blog!
Bastinado - finished principal photography! Trailer Up!
We recently finished the principal photography on our next movie, Bastinado!
I've just put together a first teaser trailer: check it out at the new movie page for Bastinado
This was the first outing for our digital cine camera (a RED, as used on Hollywood blockbusters like The Hobbit, Prometheus and Contagion).
It was very exciting to discover how easy it was to use- actually easier than the HD video cameras we've been using for the last couple of years.
And wow- how good does the footage look? It is awesome even down-converted to full HD for the web- you should see how the original 4K footage looks! I wish everyone had a cinema grade digital projector in their house so we could distribute that way… ah well, maybe in the future we will, and we can re-issue all our films for theatrical presentation :-)
It was a very intense and sexy shoot, with Ariel having written and scheduled so many bastinado punishments to be inflicted on her in the course of 36 hours that we weren't sure if she would be able to take it. Hywel somehow bore up under the strain of inflicting them all… and Ariel took her punishment like her character in the movie- with great fortitude despite the intensity!
We still have a few set-up exterior shots to grab. It was lashing with rain and blowing a gale on the morning we were due to shoot them, and the rain hasn't really let up since. When we get a day with Ariel around we'll grab those shots, then we'll be ready to really get stuck in to the editing.
With a long film like this (we shot over 5 hours of footage) the editing will take quite a while to put together, but we're planning on releasing the film in the summer. Until then, enjoy the trailer! And we'll get a stills gallery up soon too.
Predicament Bondage and Bastinado, oh my!
After the grand rush to get Slave Auction and Haunted edited and released last year, I know it all seemed to go quiet around here.
Actually we're in the pre-production phase for our next crop of movies, and for the first few months of any project that largely involves the scriptwriter and director throwing a bunch of ideas around and thinking about the film in the bath, etc..
Possibilities for later this year include a sequel to Slave Auction (probably slated for Autumn shooting- Merlin has written a story draft and Hywel has some ideas to follow up on too). Hywel's also working on an outline for film about a sexy, manipulative white collar criminal businesswoman who tries to get away with a fortune, but gets caught in the act and blackmailed into submitting to a weekend of depraved BDSM sex or she'll be heading for prison. And there's a long-standing idea floating around for "a day in the life of a Restrained Elegance master".
Before that though we have two very exciting films in a more fully-fledged state of development- an idea based around predicament bondage, being written and directed by Steve, and a film concentrating on bastinado and foot fetish bondage being led by Ariel. We're hoping to shoot these just after Easter, so we're pushing forward on the pre-production of these now.
Steve and Ariel are putting together their outlines now, and we want to invite you to throw in some ideas for cool scenes, cool shots, or sexy stuff you'd like to see included. Once they have a brief outline, I'll post again to announce an open production meeting via chatroom so hopefully everyone can throw ideas into the mix. This worked really well with Slave Auction, so we'd love to have your thoughts and input!
Watch this space- announcement of the chatroom session dates shortly!
Haunted is now live!
A couple of days early, but what the hell it is Hallowe'en weekend and it was ready, so Haunted is now live!
Haunted Trailer now up!
Remember- the movie will be released on Hallowe'en!
Haunted - Production Stills Now Available!
Slave Auction is done!!
Hooray! Just in time for a much deserved holiday, too. My poor Mac won't be getting a break though, it is hard at work number crunching to export the video and encode the MP4 and DVD versions. Should finish overnight, ready to upload tomorrow.
Here's a few extra frame grabs to whet your appetite...
Worth producing the DVDs?
Just taking a quick break from rendering the nearly-finished rough cut of Slave Auction (I need to do some work on the sound and shoot a few quick pickup shots of bidders at the auction, it is coming along nicely).
Anyway, I noticed that over 90% of the people who have bought Amelia's Sunday Spanking and Acquiesce have chosen the MP4 version over the DVD download. So... do you think it is worth us producing the films as DVD downloads? Or should we just produce the MP4 version?
Progress report - Haunted and Slave Auction
Both are looking good, but Steve and I both ended up with two pages of notes for fine tuning, and Slave Auction needs finishing the rough cut as well. Steve's got everything he needs to finish hopefully, so that should come along as soon as he has time, but I need to shoot a few inserts and record some more soundtrack stuff as well as editing the last few scenes of the films.
So we're hoping to get the films out on a timescale of a month or so, but we're definitely going to take the time to do it right so don't hold us to that!
How do you shoot at night?
Shooting video on set at night requires light. In fact the lighting set-up is so critical, it probably took as much time to create accurately then actually shooting the content.
What our eyes see at night is quite different to what the camera picks up and conveying the correct feeling and atmosphere of a night scene is pretty tricky. It required a moon lit feel with sufficient light on the model to maintain visibility without looking fake.
Is this impossible to shoot? No, but it did require 2 important aspects to the solution. The first is using light weight, battery powered controllable LED lights. These can be placed virtually anywhere with no trailing power leads and full dimmer control. The second part is having the expertise and knowledge of Hywel on set to arrange them in such a way to create the correct feel. It’s a daunting task and taking sufficient time to really get it set-up properly is vital. Once you have them roughly in the correct place and pointing in the right direction, there are a lot of fine tweaks to make including colour correction, diffusion, camera set-up and monitoring the output on a large screen to check the final look. But if you can achieve all of this, the results are very impressive.
I’m about to edit these night time sequences, so hopefully I can do justice to all the hard work Hywel put in.
It stars Ariel, Janey and Katy, all with very different individual characters who meet up for a holiday weekend together in a luxury house which, unbeknown to them, is haunted. We have no less then 7 separate bondage scenes, cool slo-mo footage and filming at night!
Editing is now underway! I'll post more details as it progresses...
Why does everything take longer? :)
It doesn't matter how many good intentions you have, everything takes longer (and costs more). I've not had time to progress with editing Slave Auction because I've been shooting and editing pics for Restrained Elegance for the last couple of weeks. And, I must admit, because I had a two week holiday for the first time in YEARS.
Gearing up to polish off August's RE updates, may get a chunk of September done as well if I can, then hope to clear my desk and get back to Slave Auction.
In the meantime, some really good news- Steve has just taken a copy of all the footage for Haunted and is going to start editing that. Hopefully we can get a new film released before too much longer!
P.S. at least the new version of Apple's editing software, Final Cut Pro X, has come out. This is a lot of fun to play with so I am really fired up to get down to some editing again as soon as possible!
10 minute rough cut
Still, it usually goes more quickly the further through it you get. I now have the basic soundscape sorted- orchestra and choir, quite dreamy for the more sensual sequences. Katy's character has a fairly brash, blues-y theme, Janey's starts off with a LOUD rock chick but will show her softer side. Ariel gets to be overblown and indignant like a movie trailer with full orchestra (Drama! She'll like that :-)
Just editing an insert showing Janey making music videos of herself... self-referential multi-layers of flashback starting to do my head in, but hopefully it'll all make sense when you see it!
Music for a slavegirl...
Just managed to get the Restrained Elegance July updates done, freeing up a few days to get started editing Slave Auction. The automated stuff getting the footage in is all done, looking through it all now. The first thing one always has to do when editing is to look through all the raw footage- which for Slave Auction runs to a couple of hours. I'm looking for the best takes, the best angles, beautiful shots but also for shots that didn't really work.
Here's an example- a lovely framing of Ariel in the mirror, about to get flogged:
As a standalone, this is a lovely shot- good enough to open the film with, I initially thought. Unfortunately, because the shot doesn't show enough content of the room to reveal where Ariel actually is, when you cut to any of the rest of the footage we have of that scene, it gives unpleasant "jump" (for techies, the mirror causes a line cross for Ariel when you cut to another angle. If you flop the shot, it causes a line cross for the rest of the room geography).
I'm still attached to the shot, it is a lovely one, but I'm not sure it will even make it to the rough cut.
What I'm doing now is adding the latest batch of Audio Network music to my hard drive. These most awesome people supply the huge music library on which all our RE and ES productions depend. 564 CDs worth at present time, to be exact! Waiting for the latest batch of 11 DVDs to copy over suddenly made me realise I should blog :-)
With big productions where the music is scored afterwards, it is common to edit first, then fine tune the music to the movie. For small productions, using music which is fixed, we often work the other way around. Dramatic moments in the film work so much better if they come along with a crescendo in the music, so much so that it is worth stretching and trimming the scene to make sure the most important bits happen in time to the music.
So before editing a rough cut, I usually like to have a clear idea of what my soundtrack is going to be. So this morning's job (after copying all the new DVDs) is to audition dozens of tracks and decide which ones "feel" right for a couple of key scenes. That will give me a theme or two for the movie, and also set the overall musical style.
Which leads me to wonder... what SHOULD the musical style be? I sort of imagine the Slave Auction story being a bit retro, even though it is clearly set in modern times it has a lot of look and feel of the 1950's about it already. Should the music emphasise that? Should I go with classical and orchestral music, or something a bit more intimate feeling? I don't think I want anything pop/rock/indie feeling, but maybe solo piano would be a good timeless way to begin? I've not done much with Jazz, maybe some classic-era Jazz would sit well?
So excuse me, must turn up the volume and listen to a few dozen music tracks along with some of the shots and see what floats my boat!
Teaser Trailer for Slave Auction added
Just added a page for Slave Auction, with links to a first teaser trailer and some production stills.
The trailer is just a bit of fun, very quickly cut together using iMovie's built-in "trailer" feature, but it gives you some idea of what the film is going to be about!
I'll keep you posted on the movie's progress through post production here on the blog.