Story, character, with occasional visual effects

MODVEC is an independent film production group, focusing on films that usually involve meta-physical or sci-fi elements. We are dedicated to making films that explore the intersection between the ordinary and extraordinary.


latest news - updated April 8, 2021

Spring is here! And we are nearing the finish line for the pandemic, and also, incidentally, our film! The visual effects and sound effects are completed and edited, and we're halfway through the final sound cleanup, mixing and normalizing!

We filmed some Day 10 final pickup shots at the forest glen, but mostly we've spent these past three months putting in all the visual effects---holoscreens, electric effects, lighting adjustment mattes, etc.---and polishing any rough preliminary effects. We are so close to a completed edit! :)

Every day we get closer to the final sound mix. We want to make sure the dialogue is both clear and audible enough to understand easily, without taking away the contrasting impact of the louder action and fight scenes; it's an exercise in compromise. We may also do some looping at a later stage.

The musical score will be one of the last and most difficult things we will address. So much fun to create, but so easy to mess up. Music can make or break the tone and flow of a film---I've seen great drama diminished by cliched music, and ordinary scenes made unforgettable by an amazing score. I've already had fun experimenting with specific musical motifs for each character and theme, taking influences from artists as varied as Debussy, Arvo Part and PJ Harvey. I'm looking forward to seeing what finally fits.

Thanks again for everyone's hard work; we're nearing the finish line. And we'll keep you posted. ---Jay


December 30, 2020

Happy New Year everyone! It can't come soon enough. My warm wishes to everyone who survived this challenging and grueling year. I guess I spoke too soon about flattening the curve...Please everyone continue to keep yourselves safe; maybe we'll get a new normal sometime in late 2021.

CURRENT STATUS OF TMW!

Day 9 was a solo outing---just me and my camera getting pickup, insert, VFX, and POV shots---so sorry, no black and white crew shots this time. :-)

The current post-production process is also definitely a solo endeavor as well...It's VFX madness!! :-)...For the past six months or so I've been up 'till the wee hours of the night, having fun staying in the editing zone and staying true to the third part of our MODVEC tagline: "Story, character, with occasional visual effects"...Although I'm thinking of taking out the word "occasional" due to the dozens of electric arcs, beams, sparks, mattes, and holoscreens---sooo many holoscreens---that I've been having to incorporate into our film! I do like how the practical lighting is helping to sell so much of the electric arc and zap effects, though.

The next few updates will continue showcasing our many different visual effects shots. After the effects are completed, I'm going to do some final color correction, sound mixing, and normalizing. Then I get to write and record the musical score!

We are now down to a handful of quick establishing and montage shots that need to be completed; although due to the current circumstances I will wait until it's safe to film them, so they will probably be the very last components added to the nearly completed film. I'm very excited that we are in the very final stages of this entire project, due to the efforts of our wonderful cast and crew! Thank you to all!

As always---We'll keep you posted! ---Jay


May 31, 2020

I hope everyone is staying safe. It has been a while between updates...We finished the full Day 7 shoot months ago on February 9 and completed some Day 8 pickup shots on April 29 (with a cast/crew of two people: Myself, and my lovely wife Adrienne). I'm just now getting to updating the website; other things have obviously been taking priority. Thank you again to Audrey, Sophie, Lauren, Peter, Chris, Eva, Heath, Helene, and Adrienne, most of them braving abnormally strong 25 mph February winds as we filmed on a sandy beach and in a hazardous forest.

Matthew's dolly track performed admirably, even with branches falling on the PVC poles every few seconds. Like I said: hazardous. :-O We filmed the lighthouse scene a little too early, so I went back to the same location during a particularly lovely sunset and did a little rudimentary test-compositing afterward. It works for the moment if you don't study it too closely. :-)

Scenes 1 and 15 have been completed. We now have about 12 quick insert, reaction, and establishing shots left---each a few seconds long that can be shot at any time. After that I'm locked away doing the vfx shots, sound, color-correction, and other post-production joy. Thank you again to all who participated; we would not be at this final stage of the film shoot without your amazing help, expertise, and commitment to our project!

Thanks to the whole crew: Matthew Galvin, Gino Danna, James Dupen, Michelle Lewis, Peter Hernandez, Sophie Kelly, Audrey Ford, Phil Whitfield, Chris Hebel, Alma Pacheco, Lauren Klauer, Tess Jagger-Wells, Lisa Noble, Julian Narvaez, Amy, Katelyn, Huy, and Heath. I will try to obtain everyone's last name so you can all be in the credits properly... :-D

Thanks to our awesome main cast: Helene Simkin Jara, Adrienne Carter, Eva Shumaker, and Greg Paroff! You were all amazing, even with my sometimes confusing and hack direction. I hope you had fun! :-D

Please stay safe everyone and remember to keep up that social distancing! We seem to be flattening the curve, so keep washing those hands obsessively! We'll keep you posted. Love to all. ---Jay


January 20, 2019

Day 6 is completed! Thanks to the wonderful crew of Audrey, Peter, Sophie, Phil, Chris, Alma, Lisa, and also Helene, Adrienne and Eva for their intense acting and stunt work! :-) We finished the second half of scene 13, which required the most complex lighting and blocking for the entire project.

Roughly 85% of the film has now been shot; we just need to film the two short scenes 1 and 15, and finish up a few others. We also have a full rudimentary edit of everything we've shot so far; it's now starting to look like an actual film. :-)

We have scheduled Day 7---the final full shooting day---in early February. It will involve a lighthouse. :-)

We'll keep you posted! ---Jay


September 19, 2019

We are done with the majority of the huge epic undertaking that was Day 5! It was a afternoon shoot, followed by a night shoot that went to 1am (!). Thanks to Sophie, Peter, Tess, James, Adrienne, Helene, Eva, and Greg (who came in from New York) for their fantastic help!

This day involved a number of practical smoke and lighting effects that will hopefully sell the vfx shots we will add later. Making the more fantastical elements look and sound like they are actually filmed in camera and not added in post has always been a priority...

We are now over the hurdle; the majority of the film has been put "in the can". I've been editing between shooting days and it's fun to see whole scenes come together to form a full story.

There are a total of 24 scenes in this film. The final schedule is to shoot the short scenes 1 and 15, finish scenes 12, 13, and 24, get some additional pickup shots of scene 9, and then some quick montage and insert shots...This should be another day or two of work. Then we are done with filming, and I can spend the next few months on editing, vfx, sound, music, and polishing---all of which are time consuming, involving, and really fun. :-)

We'll keep you posted! ---Jay


August 28, 2019

Days 3 and 4 of Project "TMW" are completed! Just one more day after that (and pickup shots)! A big thank you to Gino, Julian, Amy, Katelyn, Huy, James, Bre, Peter, Eva, Adrienne, and Helene for their hard work!

And Here is a YouTube link to a nine second video showing our improvised and only slightly dangerous backwards--bicycle dolly shot.

Day 3 and Day 4 involved 11 pages and 16 pages respectively; we were blessed with a perfect overcast sky for the Day 4 forest scenes so we didn't have to worry about distracting shadows. Thank you again to the cast and crew for staying a little late! :-)

Day 5 will be 16 pages, shooting in the afternoon and a special night--for--day shoot later, although there will be no traveling this time. Then a few pickup scenes and I'm post-producing for about six months. :-) I'm still experimenting with different color and contrast styles in DaVinci Resolve...

Day 5 will have lights galore, with a lot of practical and weird lighting effects: Handheld flashlights, shadow cards, ring lights, lights on a stick, and a funky wave light---all to make the added vfx seem real and not just pasted in later. It should be a lot of fun :-)

We'll keep you posted! ---Jay


August 6, 2019

Project "TMW" is now underway! We've got our cast and crew, and we have scheduled five intense days of filming!

Day 1 and Day 2 have already been shot, thanks to the hard work of the cast and crew! :-) We started light, with three pages on Day 1 and five pages on Day 2, to slowly develop a learning curve. We've already created a rudimentary edit and it's really fun to see all the out-of-order shots start to come together in a narrative. Thanks to Helene, Adrienne and Eva for their awesome acting work so far, with a shout out to Eva for being such a badass in some of the more physically taxing scenes!

We're using DaVinci Resolve for the editing and color correction, and I'm having fun trying out different visual schemes. I've decided to go with slight desaturation of the colors and lowered contrast to keep the realistic look, which will play against the bright pyrotechnics of the final scenes later. I'm already impressed with what the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera can deliver, as long as you keep the raw footage in the proper range.

Day 3 will be an 11 page shoot with multiple locations, followed by Day 4 and Day 5 at 16 pages each, although each day at a single location. Then pickup shots, and finally the six-month post production period where I create the visual effects and final sound mix.

We'll keep you posted! ---Jay

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