Juice Production Newsletter #7

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For new subscribers, welcome!
I’m Zoë Kissel, the director, editor, and writer of the upcoming short film, Juice.

Juice is a short neo-noir, science fiction film following a young addict’s growing withdrawal and the fatal decision she makes to get high once more. The film takes place in the futuristic world of CityComInfo (CCI). In response to the government-halted heroin epidemic, the black market manufactures a new drug to satisfy the junkies’ enduring hunger to feel that same high. Juice is a drug that hooks people with a single injection. The high itself is much more deadly than the heroin of the past.

For returning readers, thanks for sticking around! Enjoy Juice Production Newsletter #7.

00:01:16:05 – 00:02:11:10
In post-production, I have been working on Juice’s special effects. This past weekend, I have focused primarily on the ComBox’s lights. As Violet interacts with the ComBox, the lights change colors. I am also working on increasing the intensity of the lights, particularly the ComCard slot’s light, to give it a more dramatic effect.

To make these edits, I am using Adobe After Effects CC 2018’s rotoscope tool. Rotoscoping is tracing/masking part of an image, frame by frame, so that you can manipulate just that part of the image. For example, since I want to edit the Combox’s lights, I am rotoscoping only the lights.

Generally, rotoscoping works great because the program does a lot of the work for you. After Effects will predict what I want to be traced in the next frame depending on the contrast and tolerance in the previous frames. It learns as it goes. Rotoscoping works best if there is high contrast in the image to determine what you want “cut” out.

In Juice’s case, since we made the aesthetic decision of having a lot of moving fog in our film, the rotoscoping tool is getting confused due to the lack of raw contrast. Rotoscoping also requires a linear workflow. Often, I will make it to the end of an edit just to realize that the rotoscoping tool “freak outs” for the last 10 frames.

When After Effects can’t rotoscope properly, you have to do it by hand. This is called masking. It takes hours, but masking is still extremely successful. To make the special effects look as best as possible, I have to re-mask some of the work that I have already rotoscoped. Although it can get a bit frustrating at times, re-doing edits is a part of the post-production process. Each error brings me closer to a faster and better solution for next time. It’s all a part of the journey.


Variations of light intensity manipulated in post-production for the ComBox’s ComCard slot. This first image is the unedited frame.


 Variations of light intensity manipulated in post-production for the ComBox’s ComCard slot. The first image is the unedited frame.


 Variations of light intensity manipulated in post-production for the ComBox’s ComCard slot. The first image is the unedited frame.


Our Characters
As we quickly approach the release of Juice, I want to give a behind-the-scenes introduction to each of the film’s characters (in order of appearance).

Meet Violet.
Violet is a young junkie in the world of CCI. She did juice once and is now hooked. Lost in both her addiction and immaturity, Violet is on her way to a drug deal as the film begins.

Meet Aunt Marcy.
Aunt Marcy is Violet’s aunt and go-to call for more credits whenever Violet is low. Recently, Aunt Marcy has caught on to Violet’s habit and now refuses to pay for her addiction. Though, according to Violet, she’s easily persuaded.

Meet Holder 2371.
Holder 2371 is a designated holder of juice. As a cyborg, he works as a middle man in the drug market in exchange for his mechanically prolonged life. All holders are marked with a holder desig on their left arm. A holder desig is an implanted scanner that reads buyers’ ComCards, as well as the quality and amount of traded juice. The scanned information from the holder desig is transmitted through inner-body circuitry and projected through the holder’s eyes, onto their uniform goggle lenses.

Meet Violet’s Brother.
Before she became a junkie, Violet and her brother were very close. Now all Violet cares about is getting high. Violet’s Brother still worries for Violet’s safety and just wants to bring her home.

Film Patrons Thank You!
I want to give a huge thank you to our film patrons! Thank you so much for your contribution to Juice. With film patrons like you we are able to bring the world of Juice to life. Thank you for continuing to be supportive of and interested in our creative work.

If you are interested in becoming a Juice Film Patron, visit www.thefilmjuice.com/donate for more information.

If you have any questions about Juice or the film’s production, please feel free to send them in an email to thefilmjuice@gmail.com with the subject “QUESTION SUBMISSION”. Unless requested otherwise, I will answer the questions publicly within the next newsletter.

Until next time,