So I haven’t raised enough money to make a 35mm film print (yet). But I did raise enough to make a Digital Cinema Package, because the Stuttgart International Animation Festival offered a deal. And I borrowed enough to buy a new computer to re-render the entire 82-minute feature at a suitable higher resolution.
See, when I started Sita Sings the Blues, I couldn’t afford the processor power or disk space to work at the ideal resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels. Instead I compromised at 1280 x 720 pixels, which in spite of being half the ideal resolution looks almost as good. The 35mm film test I did of Battle of Lanka looks great, anyway. But film has a natural grain, plus film floats around the screen a little, a result of analog frame registration (aka sprockets), both of which mask and “warm up” digital flaws. D-Cinema, however, has rock-solid registration and no grain, making it potentially less forgiving than film. Meanwhile computers and hard drives have gotten predictably cheaper since I began the project, and December is a “lost month” in New York anyway, it’s not like I’d have any freelance gigs or make any headway on promotions, and everyone gets lazy at work or leaves town, so… here I am, watching little blue progress bars for hours and days on end. Boring? You bet! But it will make the movie look infinitesimally better, so it’s all worth it. Also, D-Cinema supports 6-channel audio, so my sound designer is planning a super-duper surround-sound experience, which will make the picture look a lot better.
Update: SOLD! 12-9-07
Sure, there are lots of used dual 1.8GB G5 Towers with 2GB RAM and internal 80GB hard drives for sale at $800 (negotiable). But how many were used to make Sita Sings the Blues? Only this one. Also, it works good. I’m only upgrading because I have to re-render the entire film at higher resolution (1920 x 1080; it was 1280 x 720) and patience isn’t one of my virtues. I can also throw in a complete Final Cut Pro HD Production Suite, which is great except it won’t open fcp files made on newer Final Cut systems. No problem if you’re working alone. And I’m still hawking my excellent printer.