The Lift - an animated cartoon by Rob Kohr

Archive for March, 2010

Premiere Party

Last week I turned 29 and had my premiere party for “The Lift”.  All-in-all we had between 50-60 people at The Central Bar in their upstairs lounge.  With an assortment of Irish brews, Duval brands and one of my fav’s, Brooklyn No. 1 we all celebrated what had turned out to be nearly a 3 year project 5 years in the making.

Thanks to all my friends and colleagues who came, you really made it a special night for me!

Check out some of the pics from the night, unfortunately my camera was near dead but we got a few memorable shots in.

Organization and production

I just wanted to make a brief note on organization, the production side of the project.  I know this sounds crazy and ‘un-artistic’ but to be a filmmaker and an efficient filmmaker you have to be organized.  Before I start ANY project I create a chart of goals.  The finished chart for “The Lift” (above), was used to not only keep my self motivated, to keep CG sequences organized but also to organize the freelancers who helped me.  First, list out all your shots, then try to visually determine their complexity.  I used several ways; how many characters are in the shot, is there a 3d background or 2d background, is there camera movement and can I say the shot is complex in some other way.  After that I noted what type of background was needed followed by several columns dedicated to what phase the shot was in (Anim, Cleanup, Color, Shade, Grade, 3D, BG, Final (composite).  They are shown all blue because the film is done, but when I was working on it they were mostly yellow to indicate that that phase had yet to be reached.  You then need some sort of note column, most of my notes relate to how to replicate the 3D shots.  Then I have 2 columns that indicate who is working on what.  Usually you can tint these green when they are working on them.

Fun with Dolby

Greg, my sound designer / mix master, sent me an edit of Dolby 5.1 audio last night along with a final stereo mix down.  I have never worked with surround sound so it was hit or miss if I would get it to work.  As I have said in the past, the shots were all composited individually in After Effects, the final edit is in Final Cut, mostly because it allows for easy assembly of assets, the best analogy I can make is its like using InDesign to layout a comic as opposed to laying it out in Photoshop, which would be tedious.

The WAV file came with 6 channels, so when you dump it into Final Cut it fills 6 audio fields (instead of the normal 2 for stereo).  When you play it some really mucky mess of audio comes out of one speaker.  You have to go in and fine tune all these settings basically assigning the 6 channels to something.  At a loss of what to do I found this great tutorial on it at Ken Stones Final Cut Pro 2 Website.

So the 6 channels are sitting there doing their thing, but you still need to tell them where to go.  Unfortunately I found that Final Cut only supports L R C LFE Ls Rs (or Left | Right|Center|Subwoofer|Surround Left|Surround Right).  The playback came out off center and without any base.  My track for “The Lift” was L C R Ls Rs LFE.  That said I can’t listen to it in Final Cut.  If you read though the tutorial it shows you how to export an MOV using the Linear PCM codec which supports 5.1 surround.  The key difference for me was to check the channel part under audio settings when making the MOV.  Once I did this everything worked fine and I was able to then listen to the result through the simulator in DVD Studio Pro.

In the end it was quite the experience and a good lesson in doing something I am not going to end up doing very often.


After 4 years of sweat, tears and late nights, I have FINALLY finished my short film! I created this site as a single place to get more information on screenings of “The Lift” as well as explore how I made the film that kept me up many nights until 2AM. While creating a production blog would have been nice, my day job precluded me from doing both the film and the blog. The 3 posts prior to this were copied from my other site

Check out the Art section, I just added a bunch of screen caps. Also I finally got around to posting a Trailer.

Once again I have to thank Kathy Lien for all that she has done and without her help this site would sound like a 15 year-old high school drop out wrote it; I kid of course but she did help craft some wonderful one liners and descriptions.