Published: 3:31 PM 5/30/2013
Posted by Turner Maxwell
Two years ago, University Film Organization President Aaron Blanton decided to co-produce a short film over four months during the summer with a few friends. It wasn’t until the actors went back to Portland and the set had been taken down did he realize 75 percent of the 300 gigabytes of footage was corrupted and couldn’t be used.
“It was rough,” Blanton said. “It was not a good day.”
Some of the footage would cut out and turn into static halfway into the video, and for an hour and a half of the footage, the audio was completely gone.
The film, titled “The Makers,” was written and directed by former UFO President Brian Leonard. Blanton came on as a co-producer and director of photography.
“I felt a large part responsible for it, being the director of photography, it was probably me who made the error,” Blanton said. “The cast and crew figured the film was a lost cause and disbanded to do other things.”
Left with 300 gigabytes of footage, only a quarter of which he could actually watch, Blanton got in touch with the film’s planned editor T.J. Broadbent, who uses a professional editing program called Avid. Broadbent told Blanton he might be able to recover some of the footage.
“As it turns out, his computer could read most of it, and so suddenly we were down to 15 percent was gone instead of 75 percent,” Blanton said.
Together, they ended up spending a year putting the somewhat recovered footage together through emails and uploading YouTube videos of the latest edits.
“When I got the initial footage and I looked at what we did currently have, I was able to access pretty quickly this is not a project we can complete, I do not have enough footage to actually made the movie in the script,” Broadbent said.
Because they had to use film that had lost its audio and was completely silent, Broadbent and Blanton decided to use audio dialog replacement, which is basically lip-synching for the soundless footage.
After a year and a half since filming began, Blanton convinced the actors to come back and do a recording session. The actors were shocked to hear he was still working on the film.
Even though the director hasn’t seen a single cut of the final edit, Blanton contacted everyone to tell them the project was finally completed.
“Throughout my life I’m prone to start really big projects and finishing them has been my weak point and so this sort of became a personal proving to myself or turning a leaf type of thing so just the principle that we got it done is honestly more important to me than anything else,” Blanton said.
“The Makers” will premiere at the UFOs Spring Film Festival on Friday, May 31 at 6 p.m.