• Ravi Swami

Blood, Sweat and Tears...(or rescued from oblivion...)




Back in 2004 I was approached by writer/director Rajesh Thind to help realise a short film for DFG films, one of a series dealing with the pressing need for blood donation from members of ethnic minorities in the U.K. and to be broadcast on Channel 4.


The end result was visual mash-up using a technique reminiscient of Terry Gilliam's "Monty Python" short animations involving the plundering of Indian advertising and graphic ephemera, which seemed the best approach both to give the film a lightness of touch and humour and to make it practically possible to make within the schedule and budget - the then prevalent and industry standard digital tool of choice was After Effects.


Overall it was a fun project to work on, especially because we were mining an area of visuals that was rare to see on TV at the time, other than as a pastiche - a technical downside however, soon became apparent.


The final rendered animation - in Avid codec - was approaching 30 gigabytes in size and drives capable of that amount of storage were prohibitively expensive and certainly out of reach to a freelancer working from home and so the only alternative was to painstakingly burn sections of the film onto CDs, resulting in a stack of CD's that I was to take to the off-line edit in Hackney - a long hike from Heathrow where I live.


I duly arrived in Hackney and handed over the goods only to realise that I had left some of the disks behind at home - this involved going all the way back to Heathrow in sweltering heat, collecting the disks and then returning to Hackney, somewhat sheepishly and knowing that this was eating into valuable and expensive edit time.


I have no recollection of sitting in the edit, though I must have been there, in order to explain the order of shots - I do remember getting slightly drunk with the director afterwards as we did a post-mortem of the job.


This explains why any urge to reconstruct the film from all the CDs, since I had no decent copy, was put aside until literally the past few days during lockdown, with the nagging fear that a shot might be missing here and there.


You can view the finished masterpiece by following the link: "Blood Sutra" here :


"Blood Sutra" - July - Aug' 2004 / Sept' 2020


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