Issue 1
May 10, 2000

Hallo alle,

This is the first of a long overdo update on the movie. I have wanted to do this for quite some time, but the operative word "time" has been the problem. Between my day job keeping me busy, trying to make progress on the movie itself, and balancing both with a personal life, I just haven't had the kind of time I would like to do this update.

I need your home address to send video tapes and maybe other stuff. If you could take a moment and fill out this form I'd appreciate it. Thanks

Current Status

Right now, I’m over the halfway point in putting together animatics of the 3D special effects and rough composites. I started this leg of the post-production about 2 months ago, but I’m on a roll so probably another month of this stage is a good guess. Below are some screen-shots of what I’m doing at the moment.

Animatics are essentially sketches of the 3D and special effects. Once all the animatics are completed and placed into the movie I’ll go back and render them again as finals. But rendering finals takes a lot of time, so it’s faster to set up the shots and render them at lower resolution without the "realistic" elements such as texture maps, lighting, and atmospheric effects. Besides being faster it also lets me concentrate on camera moves, timing, and tweaking them so that they fit well into the story as a whole.

Rough Composites are mostly enhancements to live action footage that was missing something when we shot. I’ve been placing skies into some shots, adding people to make it seem more crowded and building in camera pans. There are also a number of digital matte paintings for establishing shots like the wide shot of the excavation of the beach.

Before Compositing: Jackson boarding the Hindenburg

After Compositing: A new sky, brightened colors and retouching the name onto the stairs.

Before Compositing: Crowd scene in the Hindenburg lounge.

After Compositing: The hand holding the reflector painted out, a fire in the fireplace and a coo-coo clock on the wall.

Before Compositing: Jackson is the King of the Green Screen.

After Compositing: Still a low resolution Hindenburg, but with the moving sky in the background, Jackson IS the King of the Sky.

Animatic: The Hindenburg docked in Germany before it’s final, fateful trip. This shot is a big panning shot from the tail to here.

Digital Matte Painting: The pit at the beach where Breck is supervising the excavation of the Hindenburg wreck.


Principle photography is completed, although there are a few tiny filler shots still to shoot. Production sound was OK for the most part, but about half the dialog will be replaced. Not that the performances were bad, but the levels were not always ideal and in the kitchen there was so much echo it was unusable for final sound. I’ve already recorded all the ADR (additional dialog replacement) with the principle actors. The first rough cut has been completed and the scenes needed for completing the second rough cut are coming along. A theme has been written, but sound and music can only be worked on after I have the second cut done. The second cut will be fairly close to what the final cut will be so the timing of the music and sound shouldn’t be changing too much. I have a one minute teaser trailer in the can, so if you send me your address by filling out this form, I can send one to you.

Future Plans

Of course, the next milestone will be completing the animatics and composites. I’m on a roll and hope to have them completed in a month or so. I can’t wait to start blowing things up. After that I’ll start to render the final 3D in full glory, go back and tweak the compositing, and adjust color balance. While that’s going on Joe can start scoring the music. I have a friend in LA who does foley sound effects and he’s volunteered to help with that. Foley is adding in ambient and background sounds like footsteps, doors opening/closing, glasses clinking, the flick of a lighter, clothing sounds, etc. I will then take the Foley, music, and ADR and mix them together, with the additional sound fx. I’m guessing this will take at least another month.

Party Time

So I’m looking at a mid- to late-summer completion date, probably just in time for Oktoberfest! After the movie is completed I plan to have a premiere party at a German restaurant I found in SF. As the premiere gets closer I’ll be sending out more details.


While all this is going on I need to update the website. Luckily Joe has graciously volunteered to help with that also. When it’s updated, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, please fill out the address form and send it to me. That way I can send you videotapes when it’s completed, invitations, and, if I can get around to it, maybe a poster as well.

Herr Direktor

Mark Wrabel