Sleeping Dog short film

Sleeping Dog short film

Sleeping Dog

For the Robotmedia film festival in Berkeley ( link), I produced a short video with my girlfriend Kelsi and dog Micky. This is not Micky's first performance (but this one might have been).

Download the movie:

small 5.1M mpeg2 slow local copy
large 18M divx4 slow local copy


Kelsi and I wrote the story over lunch on 2004/1/29. We shot that night from 19:29-21:58 and got 36min of footage. It's mostly shots of the dog resting. We didn't break any dishes while shooting, but I shattered the vase while I was packing up.

A theme of this festival was 'silent'. The entrants make silent movies and a live band accompanies them at the show. The point of our movie was to film a story that relied completely upon sound effects, and then to present all the sounds in the picture.


I cut the show in several hours with cuisine, an open-source editor. I delivered the picture early the next week, so the band could see it and prepare their music. I produced the title effects over two days on the week of the show.

Screenshot of cuisine's timeline interface editing this show (before I did the audio mix using the show audio)


The titles are generated by a Python program that I wrote for this show. It's about 160 lines of code. The program generates all the moves from equations in the code- any 'keyframing' came from trial and error adjustment of expressions like "5*sin(id*4)+(25*f)*sin(30)". I could see the graphics in real time, and see the composited show pretty quickly, too, so I went through hundreds of iterations. has a mode where it can render larger than the output frame and then scale down, which is how I antialiased some of the effects. - program to write DV files for all 11 title effects - module for starting up pygame and optionally resizing and sending the display to encodedv (part of the libdv project)

The fonts are all from Larabie Fonts. I didn't seem to have a program around that would preview a bunch of ttf files that weren't setup as X11 fonts, so I wrote one. The result is less than twice as long as this paragraph, thanks to pygame and SDL.


As mentioned above, I worked on the movie in silence. After I set the timing, the band Legends & Deeds prepared the music and performed it live at the show. That was the first time I ever heard the soundtrack, and I think it's super. In the movie files above, you hear a recording right from the band's mixer during the live performance. At the end, I crossfade to a room mic to hear the audience.

Software used, beyond what's commonly distributed with Linux

  • dvgrab - move DV from camcorder to disk
  • libdv - DV decoding and encoding
  • cuisine - browse and edit footage, composite titles
  • ffmpeg - write VBR mpeg movies from DV
  • transcode - write divx movies from DV
I used mozilla to display my captured footage (screenshot), and the dv1394 kernel driver to output DV back to tape.