Battling the Backlog COMPLETED

I haven't posted much about this film, but this is the documentary I have been making with with a group of peers. "'Battling the Backlog' is a documentary about the rape kit backlog in the United States. Currently, the backlog is an estimated 180,000 kits. These kits remain untested for various reasons, all of which is explored in this film."

It has been a long journey since we started shooting beginning of february and didn't end until earlier this past week with our last interview being a several weeks ago with my last post about this film in NYC. With production taking so long and having such a strict early deadline to get the film in to the reviewers to critique, it has made my job as editor very difficult and stressful, especially when the Director (rightfully) tells the camera department to go out and shoot hours of more b-roll less than 2 days the film is to be reviewed.

I wont go into every detail or thought I have about making this film, but we should be making a facebook page and website for the film sometime in the near future to promote the cause and awareness of rape kits and the trauma rape victims and the families of rape victims go through after the assault. There are a lot of things wrong with how the 2nd worst violent crime in the US is treated and this powerful story must be told. The site shall also promote the film for its festival run and any other plans we may have for it after that. Once that is underway, I will post again with the link. I feel like even though the film is complete, it hasn't even started yet and that may be evident through this and my future posts of this film.

I learned a lot editing this film, especially since I had never worked on a documentary before. Forging a story is extremely difficult and cutting such great interview footage and sound bites is also hard to do. Dealing with b-roll and really forging a script out of the interviews then making it sound and look like that is how it is supposed to be was also a major challenge. But what I may have learned the most about is sound editing. We had a lot of interviews that sounded completely different. Some good, some not so good, some we thought to be unusable. I had been taking a sound editing class and I even tried some techniques and effects on the sound bites that I was never taught and I got some nice sounding interviews. I did some things that I do not know why it worked, but it did; for example, we had an interview where it was all clipping.

My sound professor had told me you cannot fix clipping and that makes total sense to me but we needed it. The sound file was in FCP as a stereo file but it was recorded as mono. Of course the first thing I did was bring the amplitude down to -12 db. Then this is where the magic happened. I unlinked the double mono tracks, deleted one of them, then doubled the remaining one and linked them again. You'd think nothing would have changed, but it made it almost perfect. A trained ear can still tell there is at least some major unnecessary limiting going on with his voice but it's not too bad at all. I may have added a graphic equalizer to silent any buzz but I don't think there was any. Either way, it went from being an unusable clipping sound bite to one of our better, cleaner sound bites. I learned about some other very valuable things with editing audio and am becoming very proud of this film now that it's been a few days after pulling 4 all nighters in 7 days to finish it.

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