Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Reaching the end of 2013 in a few weeks and I'm getting close to the ending of the post-production process. Still a few months away from it but since April 2013, the act of being here sitting everyday in front of the computer is paying its toll on me. The carpal tunnel syndrome is kicking in I guess for my wrist and forearm feels quite stressed and like if a nerve is being pressed inside. Not to mention the eye strain  and headache. Still a few things need to be covered and help was coming my way from a person I believed in which offered support. A heaven-sent support which truly made me happy and calm but, in the end I guess it was all just talk for the person just disappeared without any explanation. All support is welcome but only destiny shows who's who in life and I feel its very wrong that a person plays with one's hopes and needs in these times of known stress. Sad but that's life.

But still, this is something I fought for for years and without much support it's all progressing. Slower perhaps than I expected but God above provides sooner or later. Total believer on that. I just hope its soon. After 4 years, its truly physically draining but its a goal I have placed on me and it will develop fine.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


November 27, Infantry Day and there was a special ceremony held at the Infantry Legion attended by many officers and ex Commander-in-Chief's as well as a representative of the one in office now.

Was invited to showcase parts of the film and I feel joy to be decorated and honored for " Gloria del Pacifico" and how it will serve the nation. Also joined the Legion as an honorific member. Good to see many officers and former ones that have helped in a way to make this endeavor a reality.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A digital playground in my studio

"Having fun" with the tiresome work of rotoscopy. In this final stage of post-production for "Gloria del Pacifico", chose what scenes needed digital touch-ups and composite work and so far its around 120!!

Started two weeks ago with all the battle scenes digital composites and rotoscopy and its such a pain in the butt for its complexity (CG explosions that match the original ones on camera, bullet trails, sound effects, wire removal, sky replacement, color-grading, etc). My Wacom drawing tablet comes in handy for this fine-detailed job as precision needs to be of a surgical manner.

Also, I'm very happy that technology has progressed quite a bit since starting this film a few years ago as many things I envisioned originally had to be toned down in order to make them "filmable" with the logictics I had. Now, I'm pushing all my savvyness forward with digital compositions and things.

Since April been in this editing process and its now a month so far that I have a sidekick helping with it and things seems to move along faster. With working hours from 10am until midnight, its still a matter of a couple of months from today that the film will be complete. Meetings with sponsors are coming along all these weeks and I'm putting all my brain and emotions into this.

Now back to work.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Morro de Arica digital composite


Editing days -as many in the field would know- are quite time-demanding and concentration-packed. It even gets to a point where I lose track of time and space and without noticing, it is already evening. Pulling aproximately 14 hours non-stop (only to eat and stretch) is rewarding when results start to pay off. Difficult scenes like the Heroes Oath or Bolognesi's Answer are past now and the inmiment ending battle scenes for "Gloria del Pacifico" are closer.

Sometimes, even though it is a post-production job (I'm in the editing stage yet), one day or two I devote to some elaborate digital montage or compositions to know if the things filmed prior-hand will look as planned, like this one here for example.

Chilean Sargeant Major De la Cruz Salvo was ordered by general Baquedano to blast peruvian fortresses far away at the morro with his artillery from a hill afar. The original footage (shot back in December 2011...wow, almost 2 years from now!) was filmed at the top of the Morro Solar facing the sea toward the Chira beach. Waited for the time that would somewhat match the correct time this event happened for real. As you can see from a still capture of the orginal footage, far below theres a long strip of beachland and a flat surface inland and a small strip of hills that enter a bit into the sea. That natural beach curve resembles nicely the real Arica bay and that hill afar is where the actual Morro de Arica would be, so the task was to put behind the actors and far away, the morro, the town-city of Arica, the train station and railroad track near the beach and the Manco Capac monitor ship floating in the bay with natural reflections in the water.

Being a moving shot, the camera rises to reveal more of the city below and see an actor enter the frame obscuring the morro afar. Got myself some pictures of the morro I had taken last year when in Arica from atypical angles I'd need for the film scenes, the rest would need to be taken from pics found online of other mountanius formation and shape them/blend them in Photoshop and import them into my digital video compositor. Some frame-by-frame rotoscopy had to be made in order to separate the actors and soldiers into layers from far away objects. The Manco Capac ship is a picture taken of the miniature I had made some time ago for other scenes near the end. Being a far away object and in the sea, motion was not needed so just a picture would do the job. Only thing was to just match the angle of view and lighting. Far below, the city was made in a 3D program and the peruvian fortresses of Ciudadela and Este were also done with some sand-bag trench pictures together with pics of my cannons and put together afar with the flag and pole. At the top of the morro afar, the big Vavasseur and More's battery together with the big peruvian flag. Motion track the footage, color correct it and apply some digital fog in the background and the shot is ready to rock n' roll!!

The original footage shot at the Morro Solar here back in 2011. Lots to rotoscopy and form the layers.
Layer compositing.
Peruvian flags composited to be placed atop the morro.
Pictures of the cannons made for the film.
3D city of old Arica to be placed below.
Final touches and color correction.
The final shot: screen capture of the final digital composite 2 days later.

 Now....off to sleep and continue editing the film tomorrow. Just a happy moment of a task achieved. :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Editing the Hero's Oath and Bolognesi's Answer scenes

A few days ago I just finished editing the scene known in history as the "Hero's Oath" (Juramentación de los Heroes), event that happened in real life on May 28, 1880, two days after the Alto de la Alianza battle and ten days before the Morro's siege. The curious thing is that now -october 2013- I'm editing scenes shot back in January 2011...two and a half years later!!

Editing & Post-Production: the final stage.
It is indeed a long but important scene and moment in the development of Gloria del Pacifico's storyline and in the war itself. Any history buff will enjoy as much as I did seeing all the heroes sitting next to each other in a big table dining and discussing possible scenarios and strategies. Also important in it is that Crl. Agustin Belaunde pissed off everyone by stating that it would be better to surrender. An action that caused quite a stir in the other officers and cemented his reputation as a coward in the future (4 days later he would defect Arica and his batallion and escape into the night). Such a pleasure to have actor Juan Manuel Ochoa portray this character in all its glory.

Screen capture: Crl. Agustin Belaunde (Juan Manuel Ochoa)
Preapring the shot.
Today, just started editing the Bolognesi's Answer scene (La Respuesta de Bolognesi) and excited to give form and shape to one of peruvian history's most recognized and heroic moment ever giving birth to the most known phrase of all time: "I have sacred duties to fulfill and I'll fulfill them until I burn the last cartridge" (Tengo deberes sagrados que cumplir y los cumpliré hasta quemar el último cartucho).

This scene gives me such an emotion as it's probably the culprit of all I'm doing this for: Fatherland sense renewal and renovation of our heroes's deeds.
The dining scene.
Behind the scenes: The heroe's oath: an important scene.

Being part of history in a way here....

Screen capture: Bolognesi's answer scene: a paramount moment.

Behind the scenes: Filming the answer scene.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Midway into the editing process

Now, months already in the editing process, I'm about to bring into the team another editor to edit the film together with me. The deadline is getting closer and thi is so huge with scenes that I'm pointing toward finishing it by the end of the year if rushing with the other editor.

We, two people, will cover more territory at double the speed. Just have to get him to speed in order to progress in a steady pace.

Meanwhile....myself here editing unitl the wee hours of the night...

Editing, editing...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Music score progress

Tonight sunday I had another late night meeting with Fernando De Lucchi who is composing Gloria del Pacifico's film score.

Got himself a new system based mainly on Mac based Logic Audio and MOTU audio interfaces. The recently aquired symphony orchestra sample library seems to sound much more realistic as I heard from prior times and Fernando is catching up speed on its use with the new workstation. Now I can share the same peace of mind that sound realism is a reality now for I was very much mind-set on the use of real instruments together with realistic instrument audio samples to make the sonic landscape more pure as a real symphony orchestra but because of higher costs involved in hiring an ensemble, I think I have to let go off that idea and focus all in sample based audio. The film's costs have skyrocketed a bit in the end. Thank God I made many things myself otherwise it owuld have costed way much more risking the completion of the whole project.

But all in all, the sound emananting from those speakers sounded pretty much like real instruments. Technology has catched up to one's vision from the time I started the film 3 years ago. Hearing the score for Alfonso Ugarte and Timotea Vernal scenes were a delight and can picture it clearly in my head.

Gave Fernando a mid-res copy of some rough-cut scenes from the film to have him get a hold of the feel of it. Being such a professional in the music field for decades, I trust his talent very much so. Connection in vision is the key. Also planning on giving him a song melody for the Bolognesi death scene. Had it in my mind since early times of this. He will be orchestrating it.

Can't wait to hear all the music recorded and merged with the film.
Until the next meeting in a week.

Testing the wind digital instrument. Sounds pretty real.

Listening the score.

Showing Fernando the rough-cuts of the film to give him a feel of it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

3rd visit to Huancayo and Santa Rosa de Ocopa

And another visit to Huancayo city to meet with its Major. I'm glad he is onboard this sequel project too. Dropped by the Convent of Ocopa. A small town some 25 north of Huancayo to check that location for history tells Caceres stayed there for some time directing the war. There is no official documents that state this but word of mouth and some facts state that as a fact. Talked with the priest in charge, Mr. Cajo -who also happens to be a historian- and he had some interesting things to say about Caceres. Definetly thi is one of many visits. The convent is beautiful and the inside is simply stunning! Too bad pictures were prohbited but I secured this location for filming the sequel. The footage will be amazing I'm sure. So much history in one place.

With Dimas Aliaga, Huancayo's Major.
Convent of Ocopa. The front is amazing.
With priest Cajo. Interesting talks.
Visiting the same places Caceres was at 132 years ago.
The outsides of Ocopa.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cuts, dissolves, fades to black....Post-production process.

Editing "Gloria del Pacifico". Been doing it for the last 2 months now and still like 5 months away from finishing it.

Many things to cover and now its the montage. Then comes the adding of visual effects, rotoscoping, digital composition, sky replacement, 3D buildings and mountains, 3D water, musical scoring, color correction, etc. A lot to do on my own but the work is worth it. Wish I could delegate some work but the editing involves the knowledge of two basic things to make it right: knowing history, knwoing the script by hand and knowing where and when things were shot for soem scenes weren't shot complete in one place but in 3 to 4 differente places and in a span of 2 years from one another in some cases.

Considering the fact of training another person to work along with me on this. Im giving it deep thoughts....

My montage station.

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Radio Cooperativa interview for "Gloria del Pacifico".

Was interviewed by the chilean Radio Cooperativa back in April 1rst, 2013. It's just audio but I edited it with some images from my film.

I thank them for this nice interview and their interest on my film. It's a warm feeling to know a fellow country's interest on one's work.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Second visit to Huancayo, Pucará and Concepción: Pre-production for Cáceres-La Breña.

My second visit to Huancayo and this time to meet with government authorities to arrange help to do the sequel to my "Gloria del Pacifico" film which happens here in the highlands of Peru and its about Cáceres and La Breña. Also coincided with the reenactment of the Pucará and Marcavalle battle scenes. Have seen it a month and half ago while rehearsing and today I could see what I saw on video footage of it years ago: they had a good "far away look" but close up views gives away the artisan ways they are doing it. Not exactly pro but its supposed to be seen from afar. I have to make hundreds of uniforms again anyway.

Interesting experience and glad to count again with the Army's help and with local Majors of nearby cities and towns where actual battles took place. Too bad the Governor isn't as willing or interested as the others (many told me even so prior hand)  so like with Gloria del Pacifico, will do it on my own again. Its funny how during interviews and speeches, goverment officials always talk about how important culture and tradition is and so on and so on....but when the opportunity rises to do soemthing about it, they just stall and make you feel like they are doing you a favor (when actually you are helping them do their job).

Anyway....the sequel pre-production stage is on track now and Huancayo's, Pucará's, Marcavalle's and Concepción's Majors and the Caceres Legion is with me on this.

I'm not alone on this quest. After Gloria del Pacifico, more doors open and I'm quite happy people who are committed to our nation's values understand my mission.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Ccarccaria -Danzante de Tijeras" interview Cuarto Poder

And another interview that was actually on hold for several weeks. This time it was for my next film "Ccarccaria - Danzante de Tijeras".
Being government and political new more important to the audience's eyes, the TV news program pushed the interview for about 3 weeks (let's face it....film or cultural news aren't of national interest anyway...or scandalous to that level).

Finally, one day after my live interview at TV Peru, had pre-recorded one shown on Cuarto Poder (America Television). Short but a good one.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

TV Peru interview

Was called for an interview for channel 7 TV Peru. Arranged a couple weeks prior but had to say no first time for they were doing an special show over the La Haya legal situation of both Peru and Chile. Said no with all due respect for the simple reason that I don't want my film to be associated with this legal dilemma among both countries for I'm not making it for that reason at all. Period.

When I started doing the historical research to write the script back in 2004 (that's 9 years ago, folks) I wasn't even aware of the maritime area in dispute. In 2009 when pre-production started, I was nowhere even watching TV or reading news about the forthcoming Haya suit for doing this film is really time-consuming.....and now, just months away from the final verdict of the La Haya, I'm finishing my film. Mere coincidence and it's true. Nobody is endorsing this but myself anyway, and my intention is loud and clear: to renew the nation's pride and love for our past heroes. That's all in a nutshell.

So, having that cleared, they understood and gave me a different date for the interview and was glad to be given plenty of time (actually they told me 10 minutes but the interview went over 17 without cut as the news director liked it, she said). I'm glad to be able to show and explain the solemn and deep intention I truly have to just have my fellow countrymen and all who value history, know what our heroes went thru and how they became what they are now: men of honor.

Hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.
Here's the link below of the page: