"Making Of" Preview: Acro Grass Studio Session

As many of you will remember, Don, Barry, and I went into the Soundscape Studio in Royal Oak in December to record material for the soundtrack. Among the ways in which Acro Camp is unique is the fact that the soundtrack is being entirely written and performed by the cast, crew, and fans of Airspeed and the movie

I supplied the basic guitar track and set up the session. I also brought in my drum kit, which The Soundscape supplemented with a sweet vintage floor tom and the cymbal you see at on the upper right of the kit. Don brought and played keyboards.
As I’ve been editing the footage, I’ve been grabbing snippets and laying them down on a sequence that I shot while Don and Barry were loosening up and just jamming to the guide track. Mainly to cover up the camera movements, but you can attribute some fillaking genius to it if you like.
I had Tim capture everything raw at the console in realtime and give me the audio in parallel tracks. I then combined the tracks, did a rough mix, and synched it up to the video.
The thought is that I’ll put this and some other material on the DVD as one of the “making of” extras.
Everybody’s a little off in this performance, but the whole Idea was simply to capture lots of bits of performances that I could loop into the mix to create something that’s an amalgam of lots of different people. You’ll recall that we’re crowdsourcing a great deal of the soundtrack and any given contribution is likely to find itself torn out of context and placed in a new position among the other contributions. These elements are no diferent. I still have no idea where they’re going to end up in the final product. But it’s going to be fun to see how it develops.

Sneak Peek 01: Jim Rodriguez’s Hammer-Spin

The editing is really coming together! Above is an example of some of the footage and audio that we’ve been working on. It’s a sequence showing Jim Rodriguez’s “hammer-spin” in the Pitts with IP Don Weaver. Jim figured out the exciting way that a Pitts doesn’t need as much forward stick at the top of a hammerhead.
We’re editing our heads off whenever we can to get the film out this summer. And the music is coming along well, too. Ace audio guy Scott Cannizzaro just dropped an early mix of his take on Acro Grass and it’s stellar.
More news as it happens!

Soundtrack Session with Barry and Don

Barry, Don, and I went into the studio last night to record for the soundtrack. Full blog post over at the Airspeed website.

What -2.5G Looks Like

On Lynda’s last flight in the Pitts, Don demonstrated advanced maneuvers. Here’s a frame grab from an outside half loop (from inverted, push to upright). If Lynda’s hair was up on the canopy in here -1G inverted flight, it was plastered there in this maneuver. Don also did an outside recovery from a hammerhead with Michelle, which I think was the maneuver during which Michelle experienced the max negative G of Acro Camp. I think I took a picture of the G meter just for posterity.
The cataloging of Day 4 (17 May) is almost complete. Then I start watching the ground footage, which will be a little more straightforward than the aerial footage has been so far.

Wing Cam footage of Jim’s Botched Hammerhead

More slaving over a hot Mac this evening. But eminently worth it. I think I’m about 80% of the way through cataloging the aerial footage.
I found the wing camera version of Jim’s botched hammerhead. About the same level of drama as the cockpit camera, but a different angle.

Here’s a pretty good frame grab of Michelle and Don in the vertical. The footage is becoming much more Pitts and Super-D heavy with the Citabria only doing two flights on Day 3.

Jim’s Botched Hammerhead in the Pitts

Think Acro Camp is all about beautiful and coordinated flying? No-sir-ee bob!
In this outtake, camper Jim Rodriguez botches a hammerhead. Ugly, ugly, ugly!
But how are you going to learn how to do it right if you don’t do it wrong every once in awhile? And, perhaps more importantly, you’re going to botch a maneuver every now and then. You might as well see what botched maneuvers look like and learn how to recover from (and eventually laugh at!) them. I can’t think of another IP or airplane that I rather have it happen to me in. Jim is in great hands with Don and the Berz Pitts.
Folks, Acro Camp is about real people who are a lot like you hanging it out there on the edge and getting a good snootful of what’s up there. It’s a genuine story of transformation and growth. Botched, beautiful, and otherwise. I can’t wait to share it with you!

A Fine Day’s Cataloging

Another fine day of editing here at Airspeed Studios. I got most of Day 2 (15 May) cataloged and ready to link up with alternate camera angles and the cockpit audio. And I found several of the Easter eggs that the cast left for me. Like this shot of Jim Rodriguez and Don Weaver giving the thumbs up, er, down, er up.

The tech frame evolved when Roger Bishop gave in to the ham that’s in all of us and gave the camera a wave. Being a guy with a true sense of lighting and composition, I’m sure that he couldn’t resist stepping out into the near-perfect lighting of one of the early flights of that day.

A nice shot of Paul and Barry in the vertical. Do I need a further reason?

Nicholas “FOD” Tupper stopped by and I got him in the frame of the rear-facing camera on the Super D.
Paul “Gump” Berliner mugs for the camera during a Pitts ride later in the day.

Acro Camp Production Outtakes – Surfing the Pitts Breeze

Here’s footage from the Hero cam on the Pitts moments after startup. First Barry, then Steve, then Rod decide to surf the prop blast of the Pitts. This is from Saturday 15 May, Day 2 of flying.

Shooting B-Roll With Don

Don Weaver and I headed out yesterday so that I could fly a few instrument approaches for currency in a C-172 and so that he could head over to Ray Community Airport to do some dual in the Acro Camp Pitts S-2B. I took along a GoPro HD Hero and stuck it in the airplane to get B-roll footage of Don flying the Pitts. Pretty day out there and we got some good shots.

Yet Another Cataloging Session

I spent a little time today cataloging video and audio from Friday 14 May, the first full day of flying at Acro Camp. I got through all of the non-Panasonic footage and about half the audio. Fortunately, I’m finding that the various Out of 20 video sequences, something like eight are mated up with their sister sequences from the same flight. And I have the audio mated up with several sequences as well. I sure wish that I had used a clacker board for a lot of these, but it turns out that it’s not going to be as hard as I thought it would be.
I went through some of the footage from David Allen’s ride with Don Weaver that evening and it got me really lonely for the Acro Camp experience. I e-mailed Dave the frame grab above. He e-mailed me back saying that we could probably get away with shooting the next one without actually having the first one on the can. And then went on to suggest that some folks would show up for subsequent Acro Camps regardless of whether there was a movie attached. Ever wonder why people gravitate to Dave? That’s just one of the many reasons.
That Friday probably had the best light of any day at Acro Camp. The frame grab of Michelle Kole and Don Weaver above is an artifact of that. Just gorgeous sunshine and even some high cirrus and low scattered to serve as a background.
Next, it’s the panasonic footage from the 14th. Hoping to have that done this coming week and then I can move on the cataloging the subsequent days of airborne footage. Once that happens, I’ll be able to stick it all in multiclips and really sit down to watch it all. This is the scut work phase. It only gets cooler from here.