Jabbar Raisani is an LA-based director and visual effects supervisor. He is currently in development on two feature films, By the Light and Tracer, both sci-fi action films. He recently finished working as a VFX Consultant on Fright Night. Prior to that, he supervised the visual effects on the sets of Predators and Robert Rodriguez’s Machete. Jabbar’s list of credits also include such blockbusters as Iron Man, Indiana Jones, Fantastic 4, and Superman Returns. Jabbar’s NLE of choice? VEGAS Pro.
In 2009, Jabbar formed Tech Ninja Productions with Blake Clifton, a photographer/cinematographer with an equally impressive IMDB listing. The goal of Tech Ninja Productions is to develop and produce feature films, which is exactly what Jabbar and Blake are doing with VEGAS Creative Software applications.
VEGAS Creative Software:
Tell us what you’re working on currently.
Jabbar: By the Light is currently in development. The script and teaser have been completed, and are being shopped to major production companies. We were able to make the trailer with a budget of $11 and a crew of two. That’s filmmaking today!
VCS: It looks like a multi-million dollar production.
Jabbar: Thanks. That’s the idea. Also, the teaser for Tracer has been completed and the script is currently in development. So there are two big projects we’ve got going on now, using VEGAS Pro.
SCS: Did you use footage from other movies to put together the teaser?
Jabbar: Using footage from other movies is a common technique that has been used to sell ideas for years. I wanted to take advantage of the tools at my disposal to tell my own story using other movies. I already had the script finished so I knew my story completely. I began the search for footage that I knew was similar to the scenes in my story. VEGAS Pro was a huge help because the footage was in various formats and resolutions. I cut the entire trailer knowing I would eventually add my actor and dialogue to the existing footage. Once the cut was complete, we matched the lighting and camera angles and shot our actor on green screen using a Sony EX-1. I then exported bg plates out of VEGAS Pro. I used The Foundry’s Nuke to do all of the compositing. Once the composites were done, I rendered out .tga sequences and brought them back into VEGAS Pro for the final conform.
VCS: Speaking of other movies, you worked with Robert Rodriguez on Machete. He’s a leader in digital filmmaking – what’s working with him like?
Jabbar: RR has been using a full digital workflow since the very beginning. I think his Sony F900’s are actually the first two off the production line. He’s developed an extremely efficient pipeline where he can shoot something in the morning and send edited shots to visual effects by that night. There were instances on Shorts where I would shoot surveillance footage on set in the morning, cut it together and add a video look in VEGAS Pro, then render it out and play it on monitors when we shot the scene later that day.
VCS: You’re using VEGAS Pro for all editing and production?
Jabbar: That’s right, VEGAS Pro is the primary workhorse for editing within our productions. It’s been the backbone of our production pipeline because of its flexibility and speed.
For example, the video Robot Apocalypse and Happy Holidays was shot in one day. In the following four days, the edit, sound mix, and conform were all done in VEGAS Pro. We were able to pull off such a quick turnaround through the flexibility of the file formats and integrated floating point color-correction that VEGAS Pro provides; this feature allows us to edit and color-correct without ever having to leave the editing timeline.
We work with a lot of different media, and VEGAS Pro’s support for countless file types makes it extremely flexible and important in our workflow. It allows us to render out the files needed for visual effects and cut in the final renders with the original footage all on the same timeline.
Also, the ability to have unlimited tracks gives me the freedom I need to quickly try lots of variations as I finesse the cut. It also gives me the ability to have as many tracks as I need for my audio editing and layering.
VCS: With such a variety of projects, where do you find inspiration?
Jabbar: I do a lot of reading, watch a lot of TV shows and movies, and read a lot of scripts. I also road bike and run, anything that’s repetitive and lets my mind wander.