Monday, June 30, 2008

For the past month, Sig Thorsen, Dinah deSpenza, and Tony Nguyen--a.k.a. MacDiva & The Donnettes--participated in the OpenCut open-source film competition. Tony, being the prolific blogger that he is, documented the whole experience on Blogged Arteries: The Unrendered Files, a site devoted to his film making adventures and all the creative stuff that lurks inside his rather large cranium. Since there is a lot going on in those unrendered files, Tony created this consolidated MacDiva & The Donnettes version. Check out this team's "Susannah" experience.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Invitation To Participate In OpenCut

The big question is if any of our Macs can handle this project. The answer is in Sig's office. I had completely forgotten that Sig had just upgraded her desktop! I told her and Dinah that we should go for it, and like the Chief Instigator that I am, I signed us up. What should we call our team? MacDiva & The Donnettes? Quang Khoi & The Love Ladies? Lucious Lushes?

From: Torrey Loomis
Date: May 14, 2008 6:00:28 PM PDT
To: Tony Nguyen
Subject: Invitation To Participate In OpenCut - World's First Open Source Film Competition

I wanted to extend an invitation to you to participate in OpenCut - the world's first open source film competition. We are providing an entire set of 35mm film quality assets shot on the RED ONE Digital Cinema camera--including all video, audio, as well as storyboards and scripts. OpenCut will provide the material, and entrants will provide the editorial.

We are kicking off OpenCut with a short subject called "Susannah" which was directed by Evan Nicholas and executive produced by Joe Carnahan of "Smokin' Aces" and "NARC." Entrants to the competition register at and then send a blank hard drive to OpenCut. Our film personnel will transfer 170 Gb of RED ONE material along with supporting media to the hard drive.

At a set date, all hard drives are shipped back to the contestants. They have 30 days to complete their cut including all color correction, audio fixes, and anything that would need to be accomplished for a completed project. At the end of the competition, all finished entries are uploaded to VUZE which is generously hosting files in HD for all entrants.

Judging will take place through July 6th and a winner is announced on July 7th. The winner of OpenCut will receive a prize package from Silverado Systems including a brand new AJA IO HD. Further, the winning editor will be listed as the official "editor-of-record" at IMDB and the winning short will be submitted to film festivals around the country throughout 2008. We will also be finishing the winning entry on SCRATCH in native 4k resolution. You can find out more information here:

We'd love to have as many students register as possible before departing for the summer. The competition is open to students, amateurs, and professionals--and you can participate as an individual or in a group. Further, the competition is open internationally.

Please let me know if you would like more information.


Torrey Loomis
Project Director - OpenCut

Friday, May 30, 2008

Oh Susannah

RED. I know nada about RED. Neither does Sig nor Dinah. No problem. MacDiva & The Donnettes will kick down every hurdle that stands in our way. What we don't know, we will research and learn. Oh Susannah, don't you cry for me, because this trio will not let you down!

From: Torrey Loomis
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 12:49 AM
Subject: OpenCut Update

Dear OpenCutter,

We've started receiving a truckload of hard drives. Thanks for sending them in! We've started the replication process and International drives will ship out first, followed by the US domestic stock. We have 25 drives arriving tomorrow from people who have ordered G-Tech drives from Silverado. Also, we have storyboards!

On a future note, OpenCut project 2.0 is going to be amazing. We just got word that a special set has been approved for a music video that has been in pre-production for a while. Not to give too much away, think Star Trek, Las Vegas casino, hit rock band, etc...

The crew will be on hiatus starting Friday afternoon through Monday for the Memorial Day weekend. We'll resume OpenCut updates on Tuesday. In case you've missed anything, we'll post it up here.


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Red Camera - FCP Workflow For Idiots

Sig, Dinah, and I ran into some complications with Susannah today, but it was nothing that we couldn't handle. The assets for this OpenCut competition arrived scattered in folders within folders, with the video and audio files separated from each other. Once we sorted the files, we had to convert all of the QuickTime proxies to ProRes. At first, this intimidated MacDiva & The Donnettes, but after consulting Creative Cow, we found our groove. Here's the workflow that we followed:

Re: Red Camera - FCP Workflow For Idiots
by Russell Lasson on Apr 2, 2008 at 9:47:14 am

Basic workflow for 4K 2:1 R3D (2048x1024) files to ProRes.
  1. Take the H QuickTime into compressor. NOTE: The actual proxies need to stay in the same folders as the R3D file that they reference.
  2. Create a ProRes HQ setting at 1920x1080 with audio pass-through.
  3. If you want the footage letterboxed in a 16x9 frame, enable the letterbox filter and set the manual letterbox to 89.0.
  4. If you want to crop the sides to fill the 1920x1080 space, then under geometry, change the crop to setting to 16x9 1.78.
  5. Compress the files and use those for masters from here on out.

Variation 1:
Before compressing in Compressor, open each clip in RedAlert and do basic image color/exposure adjustments. Then create new QuickTime proxies.

Variation 2:
Once you've compressed the footage to ProRes for editing, open all clips in RedCine. Make your color/exposure adjustments. Set it up to render to whatever you want and let it go for a really long time (anywhere from a day to a couple of months depending on your machine, what format you're rendering to and how much footage you have.) Once you're done, reconnect the first back of Compressor ProRes files to the new files from RedCine. This is where changing names using automator is really, really useful if you accidentally named your clips different names.

My opinion is that for HD or SD masters, a ProRes workflow is acceptable quality for many shows. If you're going out to film or Digital Cinema, then using 2k dpx files or 16-bit tif files is better.


Russell Lasson
Kaleidoscope Pictures
Provo, UT

This process took a few hours to complete, and when the last compression completed, Sig, Dinah, and I rejoiced. It felt good to be faced with a challenge and to work through it as a team. Susannah has been such a learning experience so far, and it's only day one!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Are You Reading This Rufus?

Y'all come on in now

Come right on down front
I got something I want to show you
Now y'all heard of the Popcorn
Y'all heard of the Dog
You heard about all your other dances
But now there's a brand new dance
That's going around
I want to show you exactly what I'm talking about
I'm talking about the funky chicken, y'all ready?

You raise the left arm up
and your right arm too
Let me tell you just what to do
Start both of 'em to flapping
You start your feet to kicking
That's when you know
You doin' the funky chicken

You put both arms up across your face
You knees start wiggling all over the place
You flap your arms
and your feet start kicking
Then you know you doin' the funky chicken

Oh, I'm feeling it now
I feel so unnecessary
This is the kind
This is the kind of stuff
To make you feel like you
Want to do something nasty
Like waste some chicken gravy
On your white shirt
Right down front here we go y'all

You work both arms and you work both feet
Use a dab of gravy, you right on the beat
You flap your arms
And your feet start kicking
The you know you doin' the funky chicken

I haven't flown off the deep end, so there's no need to get me committed. "The Funky Chicken" is actually relevant to this project. Really. Our interpretation of Susannah requires a little funk, so the MacDiva herself channeled Rufus Thomas and gave her Donnettes a crash course in the fowl frenzy of yesteryear, and I ain't talking no Colonel Sanders finger lickin' good kinda stuff. Unfortunately, because of copyright issues, we won't be able to use "The Funky Chicken" in our piece, but we're certainly going to find something similar. I can't give away too much of Susannah, but let's just say that the score will make y'all get up flappin' your wings and kickin' your feet.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sig's Post-Production Facility Schedule

You know how they say when two people spend so much time together, they start looking alike? Well, this is what happened when MacDiva & The Donnettes hung out the whole weekend together...

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Signe Ann
To: Dinah deSpenza; Tony Nguyen
Sent: Monday, June 2, 2008 9:11 AM
Subject: RED Alert Instruction

Hi Team,

Just a reminder, please mark your calendars for our scheduled work days. We might need to schedule additional days, but we will know that later.

Sundays, June 8th, 15th, and 22nd, all day
Wednesday June 11th, and Friday June 13th possible.

Had fun this weekend, and I see Susannah as being another great movie in our folio.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

OpenCut Update for June 3rd

The good news is that Sig, Dinah, and I aren't crazy! The three of us noticed a few things about the Susannah assets that were a bit askew. We scratched our heads and ultimately just worked around the problem areas. Apparently, others were scratching their heads to, so OpenCut sent out a list of FAQs. Phew! I really thought that MacDiva & The Donnettes had hit a sour note!

From: Torrey Loomis
Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 3:25 AM
Subject: OpenCut Update for June 3rd

Dear OpenCutter,

Just a quick update on some questions we have received so far...

As we mentioned before, there would be an additional fee for international participants due to shipping. If you are an international registrant, PLEASE send your additional $29 for International Priority shipping to Some of the costs for overseas shipping have been extraordinary and we'll need to account for all Int'l fees to make sure we break even on the shipping outside the United States.

1. After accounting for duplicate entries, we have 296 editors registered for the first round of OpenCut.

2. We still have about 15 hard drives left we are working on filling and returning.

3. We've been swamped for the first round. Due to this, we'll be extending the submission period to mid-June. Some folks don't have their drive yet and its not their fault--we are almost done getting everyone's out.

4. There are over 263 people already pre-registered for OpenCut 2.0.

5. We are almost OUT of hard drives. I know the link did not work for many of you--that is because we were overrun with orders and simply ran out of drives and had to order a bunch more. If you still need a drive, please contact us directly at (916) 760-0032 as we may have 3 or 4 left.

Here are some FAQ's we are posting specifically about the footage.

#1--MOST IMPORTANT--the audio is not embedded with the video!

If you try to use the Log and Transfer function to get your footage into Final Cut, there will be no audio. We shot "Susannah" with build 13 of the RED camera firmware--which did not allow us to record the audio and video together. All audio must be manually synced.

#2--Corrupt media?

PROBLEM: Footage from cards are corrupt. They load as green footage in FCP or Quicktime.

ANSWER: Occasionally the quicktime proxy movies become corrupt. Keep in mind, the R3D file is not bad, just the proxy. I'm not exactly sure why this happens, but it does. The solution is simple. Trash the corrupt quicktime proxies (and ONLY the proxies, leave the R3D file in the directory), open the R3D file in RED Alert! and regenerate the quicktime proxies by using the file menu command "Make Quicktimes" or pressing Apple key + "M" for mac or ctrl + "M" for PC.

#3--Missing media?

PROBLEM: Card 11 is missing.

ANSWER: If card 11 is missing on your drive, be sure to check the video directory for card 8. The file for card 11 may have be inadvertently moved to that location. Create a new card 11 folder on the same level as the other card folders and place the A011_C001_071215.RDC directory there.

#4--Missing Audio?

PROBLEM: Audio files are missing

ANSWER: Audio files were not provided for those takes and may be intercut with audio from other takes.

6. Support beyond missing media (audio/video) or incomplete transfers is best found in and

I HIGHLY suggest watching the RED workflow walkthrough here. OpenCut and Silverado cannot answer questions like "How do I setup my sequence?" or "How can I change all the media to ProRes?" or "How can I cut this on my Avid?" All of these have been answered numerous times on the forums. The information is out there--you can find it!

One thing to keep in mind--we shot "Paranoid" two days after receiving two of the first RED cameras released. It was shot in 2 days, edited in two more, and delivered on the fifth. We didn't have REDCINE, the FCP plug-in for Log and Transfer, and we had to do a TON of hand work in Apple Color. We were still able to do it given the rudimentary set of tools we had.
You now have WAY more resources--including one of the BEST programs out there: Crimson Workflow.

If you have ANY intention of round-tripping your media between REDCINE and FCP, I highly suggest you invest in Ian Bloom's amazing program. You can watch the video here. This is an essential tool for any RED editor.

7. Unless we are absolutely missing audio somewhere, we will not be posting any of the media online in Torrent mode. At 170 Gb, there is simply too much data to distribute online. After all the drives are distributed, I anticipate we'll have given out 50.0 Tb of data.

8. If there is a question you have about anything not covered here, contact our Director of Production & Post Erik Espera herea: He is THE man to talk to regarding the media. Again, he will not be able to address specific workflow issues for you, but will be available to consult about corrupted or missing media.

If you are still missing your drive, please contact Director of Operations Renee Day here: She has printed the labels for about 99% of all drives being returned.

OpenCut 2.0 is shaping up to be an absolutely amazing project. We'll be shooting a music video in a Las Vegas casino and releasing it under the OpenCut umbrella for competition. As always, your cut is available for personal use on your reel--regardless of where you place in the competition.

We started this project not knowing what would happen--and we've been very humbled at the tremendous response we have received. I appreciate you being involved in this ground breaking event. I don't think there has never been a commercial project with this level of intense professional focus on a single story.

Good luck!


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The 60 Year Old Maid

I read the FAQ email that the OpenCut folks sent out yesterday, and there is still something that baffles me. In the script, there is a character who is a maid who is supposedly in her sixties. I don't know about you, but the lady below doesn't look like she'll be collecting social security anytime in the near future!

I wonder if this is a typo on OpenCut's part, or if it's meant to be intentional and that our job is to age the maid using color correction tools. I wouldn't be so fixated with this had it come up as one of the FAQs, but since it didn't, I have to admit that I am a bit obsessed. Should we give this maid gray hair? Better yet, should we just rotoscope her out and put Lynn Ruth Miller in? Am I seriously going crazy? Please excuse me a moment while I do the funky chicken...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rough Cut

This project is really coming along. Susannah is beginning to look like a real film. MacDiva & The Donnettes met up in the afternoon and worked in shifts. Dinah started with putting all the video clips on the time line so that we would have a rough cut. Sig then added the audio, and I transitioned all the clips together. We put in six hours, and at the end of the day, the three of us were very happy with the rough cut. We still have a lot of work to do, but Susannah is really coming along.

Monday, June 9, 2008

How's This For A Logo?

From: Dinah Despenza
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 11:36 AM
To: Signe Ann; Tony Nguyen
Subject: Re: Susannah

Sunday was sooooooo cool. I so like working w/the 2 of you. Next time I will not burn the popcorn (swear that never happened to me before.

Hat's off to Gary again for that wonderful dinner. I can still taste that pasta in the mouth of my mind. And those wonderful bread crumbs. I can just eat a bowl of those alone.
I know Spielberg's crew don't eat that well.

Sig, thanks for the note about the DVD. I was hoping it didn't fall out of my bag on Bart. If you have time watch "James Journey." This is interesting. It's about Africans in Israel. They use 3-4 different languages in this film.

I just saw Morgan this a matter of fact she's sitting a few tables over from me. She's going to spend the next couple of nights composing for us. She's been listening to the Funky Meters, so she has an idea about the sound we're looking for.

Anyway, I'm sooooo pumped up about our guuurrrl Susannah.


Signe Ann wrote:

Hi guys,

Thanks for a fun Sunday. I am looking forward to our next editingn session. Tony, do you know where we get the missing (green) footage?


p.s. Dinah, I have your DVD that we watched this morning...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Susannah Story Board

Hmm, I don't remember seeing a close up of a lizard...

at 10:20 PM

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Coy Koi Studios

Sig mentioned that she wanted to come up with a name for her post production facility. She's thinking of having a fish, pond, or lily in the name. She wanted something that will look interesting in the list of credits. I came up with this:

I have a hunch that this will be a little too dramatic for Sig. I'll have to keep brainstorming.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

This Side Of The Pond

I'm sitting in the hospital waiting room right now. My mom is getting a medical procedure done, one that's not too fun for her. My poor mother hasn't eaten in two days and is drugged up. Sig Thorsen just sent me some pictures of her pond hoping that it would inspire me to come up with some names for her post production studio. I looked up from my MacBook Pro and I see an old woman sitting across from me who looks a lot like Katherine Hepburn. I looked at her and then at Sig's pond picture and thought "On Siggy Pond." I think being in this waiting room is making me a little delerious. In any case, I did a little more brainstorming and managed to come up with something more Sig-friendly:

at 8:23 PM

Friday, June 13, 2008


----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Signe Ann
To: Dinah deSpenza; Tony Nguyen
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 9:45:01 AM
Subject: RED Alert Instruction


Found the instructions for using RED Alert. No time to read them now, but I printed them out and put them in our Susannah binder. We now have access to all the missing clips, and I think they will help our movie a lot.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rough Cut #2

Popcorn! That's what I pop in mouth when I'm at the movies. Well, I'm not exactly in the theater right now, but I have a bag of popcorn in my hand and I'm popping those popped kernals into my mouth. Why? Because I am watching an action flick called "Susannah."

I am very excited to announce that MacDiva & The Donnettes have completed the rough cut for this OpenCut competition. I'd like to add that it's looking pretty darn good! The three of us worked hard on this challenge, so it's good to see the fruits of our labor (which, today, is strawberries...last Sunday was cherries). At this point, all we need to do is add the title sequence, the credits, and do a little color correction, and then Susannah will be complete. I can't wait to show the final product.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Final Sunday

MacDiva & The Donnettes met today to finalize Susannah. This was our final Sunday before this project is due. Our goal was to fine tune the film and upload the final product onto Vuze. Well, that almost happened. When we viewed our timeline on Sig's big monitor, we noticed little things here and there that needed tweaking. I remembered saying to myself, "no big whoop, this shouldn't take too long." Uh, not exactly. The three of us ended up nit picking at every detail and didn't complete these edits until about 9pm. No problem, right? All we have to do now is compress this project to H.264 and upload it. How hard could that be?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Back To Sig's Side Of The Pond

I'm getting myself mentally prepared for tonight's swim in Sig's side of the pond. I hope I don't drown. Even though Susannah is not due until July 1st, Sig will be flying out to Oaxaca on Wednesday morning, so this project really needs to be compressed and uploaded before she goes. How hard can it be?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Uploading To Vuze - HELP!

Susannah Compression, take 6...or is it 66? Actually, it feels more like take 666, considering what a devil of a time we're having with this H.264. Last night, Sig and I attempted to compress this film for Vuze, but we hit a few snags that nearly brought us to the brink of panic. This project needed to be completed last night, yet we were still fumbling around with Compressor. So, at 11:30pm, we emailed Evan with our technical difficulties. Sure enough, the next morning he responded with a step by step guide to compression, complete with print screens.

I headed on over to This Side Of The Pond Studios at about 9:30pm so that we could attempt to compress for the final time. It's sudden death now. Sig flies out for Mexico early tomorrow morning, so Susannah needs to be uploaded tonight, no ifs, ands, or buts. Boy oh boy, I could use a shot of tequila right about now...and I don't drink!!

On Jun 23, 2008, at 11:35 PM, Signe Ann wrote:
HI Evan,

We just finished our OpenCut project (yay!), but we are having technical difficulties trying to upload it (Boo!) We're hoping you can help us. The final codec and resolution to be delivered to VUZE must be in h.264 720p or 1080p. The problem is that we don't see this setting in Compressor. We tried to customize it, but had no luck. Could you advise on how we should approach this. Also, does Red film in 24 fps or 29.97? Any help you can give will be much appreciated, as we are on a time crunch. Sig is leaving for Mexico early Wednesday morning.

Sig, Dinah, & Tony

From: Evan Donn
Date: JUNE 24, 2008 8:32:31 AM PDT
To: Signe Ann
Subject: Re: Uploading To Vuze - HELP!

Red shoots 24fps. Does Vuze give you any guidelines on what file size or data rate they prefer? In compressor you can use the preset in Apple>Formats>Quicktime>H.264 - this by default keeps the same size and frame rate of your source video so if you edited at 1080 24p that's what you end up with.

This setting does not specify a data rate though, so it may result in a very large movie. Once you've applied it to your clip, you can change this in the inspector. Click the second tab to show the encoder settings:

Click the settings button next to Video to get the quicktime settings window:

And change the Data Rate setting from Automatic to 'Restrict to'. For 720p you'll want something in the 5-7000 kbit/s range and 1080p should be 10-12,000 kbit/s. Click ok to apply those settings and return to the inspector. From the inspector encoder settings screen click the settings button next to audio to get the quicktime audio settings:

Change the format to AAC. The default settings are fine, although you can bump the target bit rate up to 192kbps for a little better audio quality. Once you've applied these click on the first tab in the inspector to get to the summary panel:

You'll notice that once you've specified a data rate it gives you an estimated file size for the final movie. If there is a maximum upload limit you may need to go back to the video compression settings and lower your data rate to reduce the final size so it meets their requirements.

It might also be a good idea to send only a short segment of your video, something with some motion in it but not much more than 10-15 seconds, to compressor first so you can test these settings and make sure they look ok. High def H.264 can take a while to encode so you don't want to wait for the whole thing to find out if you got the settings right.

Good luck!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Are We Done Yet?

I am happy to say that after an hour of waiting, Sig and I finally saw the word SUCCESSFUL pop up on the Compressor screen. Woo Hoo! However, it wasn't time to celebrate yet, so I limited the funky chicken dance of joy to just two flaps of the arms. It was a little after 1am, and we still needed to upload Susannah onto Vuze. At this point, I told Sig to finish up her packing and that I would take care of the upload.

I logged onto and typed in the pertinent information. I then apple shifted 4 to make a print screen of our title for our thumb nail. After that, I browsed through Sig's hard drive to locate the H.264 version of Susannah, and I clicked submit. I started to flap my funky chicken arms, but I stopped after half a flap when I saw that it would take 19 hours to upload! I called Sig into the office to break the news to her, and we sat down to work out plan B. Sig noted that the best thing to do was to let it run over night and that she would give me a key to her studio so that I could check in on the upload the next day. I agreed. So I packed up my things and prepared to leave.

Before exiting, I logged onto my Yahoo account to send myself that print screen of the Susannah title thumb nail. It was then that I discovered the unthinkable: at 12:58am, a little bit before we completed the compression, the OpenCut folks sent us an email stating that the credits have been uploaded onto the OpenCut site. My jaw dropped and my blood pressure rose. Sig, Dinah, and I had used the credits that were given to us in the script because we could not locate them on the website. Well, we know now that the reason why we couldn't find them was because they weren't there!

What this meant was that we had to go back into the timeline and re-edit the closing credits. Then we had to recompress the project, and re-upload it onto Vuze. Looks like I'll be spending the next couple days at this side of Sig's pond while she's pounding down body shots in Mexico! I took Sig's key, strapped on my back pack, and bid my fellow Donnette a bon voyage. I looked at her suitcase and saw that she was nowhere near close to finished with her packing. I made no comment. I just turned around and headed towards the door.

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Torrey Loomis
To: MacDiva & The Donnettes
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 12:58:31 AM
Subject: OpenCut Update - June 25th

Dear OpenCutter,

Here are some final notes while you wrap up your cut.

I did a bonehead move and listed the wrong address for the International payment of shipping costs. If your payment has not been claimed yet, make sure its addressed to I sent an address that ended in and that was incorrect. If your payment for shipping is unclaimed, please cancel and redirect to Regardless of payment receipt, all hard drives have been shipped back both domestically and internationally. If you are still missing a hard drive...let us know ASAP.

Director Evan Nicholas was recently able to record some extra audio. If you are looking for some car sounds like doors and engines you can download the audio here.

Per Mike Burton at Vuze, please follow these instructions when uploading. To keep everyone's entries organized on Vuze please name your uploaded entry for OpenCut Competition #1 (Susannah) the following:

OpenCut - Susannah - your first initial and last name (like mburton, or tloomis)

This will allow us to search and bucket your entry into the "OpenCut" Branded Channel on Vuze. If you have uploaded your entry to Vuze and do not see it in the OpenCut Branded Channel on Vuze by July 2 2008 please send a reminder email to

Go to to download the free Mac/PC Vuze Client application in order to upload your content. You must register if you do not already have a Vuze Login and Password to Upload your submission.

If you do not follow the above instructions your submission runs the risk of not being judged. Thank you!

You have until midnight July 15th to submit your cut.

You can find the credits on the CREDITS section of the website.

We've received a lot of good questions about creative license. Please remember--this is your edit and you can be as creative as you want with it.

Q. Can I color correct the project?
A. Absolutely.

Q. Can I treat the project with a different aspect ratio?
A. Sure.

Q. Can I add titles, graphics, visual effects?
A. No problem.

We'll start the official registration for OpenCut 2.0 in mid-July. There will be a few program changes based on what we did in the first project and we'll announce them soon.

We are still negotiating on the set for the upcoming video shoot in Las Vegas. However, we just got official clearance and permission to use the Alpine Meadows footage. Target for OpenCut 2.0 is a 30 or 60 second spot for Alpine's 2008-2009 season. There is some very cool off-speed shots along with some nice time lapse. I anticipate we'll alternate longer projects with shorter projects.


Oh Susannah!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Day At The Pond

Surveillance cameras at This Side Of The Pond Studios caught the company's proprietor choking the MacDiva out of this unsuspecting Donnette. She had to take her frustration out somehow, and unfortunately, this faux hawked victim just happened to be the easiest target.

That was three days ago when a tsunami hit that pond. Everything is under control now. I went to the side of the pond that had no damage and edited in the new credits. After the timeline rendered, I watched the movie all the way through and saw a few problem areas that needed to be fixed, so I did so. When all was said and done, I recompressed again and then uploaded onto Vuze. The message, once again, said that the process would take 19 hours, so I left it there to run over night. I told Sig's husband that I would return Saturday afternoon to finalize the project.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

It's a good thing Sig is checking her email in Mexico. All Vuze correspondences went directly to her email account, as she was the Donnette who signed us up. When I returned to Sig's side of the pond this afternoon to check on the status of the upload, I saw the successful upload message on the screen and let out a sigh of relief. However, I got a little concerned when I searched for our film but came up empty. Fortunately, Sig forwarded me the congratulations-you've-been-uploaded email, and I felt better knowing that Vuze has received MacDiva & The Donnettes' OpenCut submission. Signed, sealed, delivered! Time to do the funky chicken...

-----Original Message-----
From: Vuze []
Sent: Friday, June 27, 2008 5:47 PM
To: Sig Thorsen
Subject: Vuze First-time Publisher Alert

Congratulations on publishing your first piece of content on Vuze!

Now that you've published, let people know about your content so they can watch and comment on it! Here are some tips to polish your presentation and maximize your viewers and reviews.

First, make sure to fill in your user profile. Let folks know who you are, what you do, and anything else you want them to know. Once you are logged into the client, click on My Account, then My Profile. It's that simple!

Second, review your content description. Just go to Published Content, select your content, and click on the pencil icon at the right.
  • Provide a clear and concise title for your content. Don't just use the file name.
  • Be explicit in your content description. This is your chance to provide details about the story that took you 2 months to write, or talk about the technique you used to film the ending--let viewers know what they should be looking for. But don't give away any secrets or surprise endings!
  • Pick an appropriate thumbnail. Thumbnails often provide the first impression of your work, along with your title. Pick a thumbnail that best conveys the overall mood of your content, or a key character that will draw viewers in. If publishing a series of content or multiple episodes, be sure each thumbnail is unique.
  • Assign categories wisely. Don't purposefully "mis-categorize" your content with the idea that everyone wants to just see "sexy" and that will bring people to your content. With millions of viewers on Vuze, content searches span the spectrum.
And third, keep your eye on the Vuze News tab for updates--we continue to build additional features and functionality into the Vuze platform, and that's where we will tell you about them. Stay tuned!

Thanks again for publishing, and for contributing to the Vuze community!
-The Vuze Team

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Presenting Susannah

MacDiva & The Donnettes are very pleased to present Susannah! The past month of our lives have been spent at This Side Of The Pond Studios, editing this very complicated piece for the OpenCut open source film editing competition. Susannah definitely was a challenge, but Sig, Dinah and I stuck with it to the very end. I am very proud of our final product, but to be completely honest, even if we delivered a piece of pond scum of a project, I still would be proud. At the end of the day, it really is about the journey, and what a crazy fun ride this was. I know this schpeel is probably sounding cliche, but it's true. At this time, it is with great pleasure that I invite you to view MacDiva & The Donnettes' production of Susannah. (The clip below is a sneak preview. Please go to for full version).

To download the full version visit