Jump to content


Photo

somewhere between here and now


  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 Olivier Vanaschen

Olivier Vanaschen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 11 October 2007 - 04:17 PM

Hello everyone!

I just directed my first feature and wanted to post some stuff about how it went. Cinematography was done by Olan Bowland, Jean-François Metz and myself (our team name is "the black sheep"). I wrote the script and we produced it with about no budget. All we had went into tapes, food and some shooting permits we couldn't avoid. The whole crew was 4 people, got great help from our fellow filmmaker Quentin Aksajef.

The story takes mainly place in a little more than one night from sunset to sunrise. We follow a girl coming back from a long travel in Thailand who'll somehow meet a guy who just left everything and is basically waiting for the first train to escape from town. The movie's about their journey, the people they are going to meet,... If I had to pitch it I would say something like Lost in Translation meets Last Life in the Universe meets Before Sunset (wow, that's serious stuff ;-) hate pitching ideas, always feel miserable making up connections with great movies...). The movie is shot mostly in English with a bit of French and a couple other languages; It's part of the story as his mother language is English, hers is French. They'll meet different characters so she switches from one language to the other.

Knowing I wouldn't have any budget, I wrote the story so it could work in terms of cast, schedule, locations... Very soon in the process, we knew it had to be a very "light" shoot because it was the total opposite of the "one location script". We decided to avoid using any additional light except for few interior scenes where we kept it minimal so it would match (chinese lantern, replacing light bulbs,...) . We searched for locations with enough light which wasn't too hard, we already knew most of them. We all live in Brussels for years now so we simply shot most scenes in our neighborhood. One of my references was the painter Edward Hopper. I really liked the idea of shooting night sequences close to what we see with our own eyes. Could somehow be close to what they tried to do in Miami Vice but without budget so no 10K or Dino's for the far background.

Also, we knew we would shoot without a permit almost all the time which sometimes meant being very patient but it was fun. We avoided busy streets and crowded places. Our day-off was on Saturday. Police came by a couple of times but they were friendly and mostly intrigued by what we were doing. We shot some scenes with them observing, felt very safe ;-)

Also, I wanted the movie to be completely hand-held so we could move quickly and also add a bit of movement. I wanted the film to be played in a mix of wide to very wide shots and close-ups. We shot 16x9, framed for 2.40 (taped the LCD screen). We watched a lot of old movies shot in cinemascope, trying to figure out how to take best advantage of this format in terms of composition. Moving hand-held shots were done using wide lenses so they were not too shaky. Camera height was kept at one characters eye level.

Our camera system was a PAL Sony FX1 with a SGPro Rev2 adapter (SGpro's website). We can't praise this adapter enough, it's simply amazing. We used probably every possible adapter (homemade, P+S, Movietube, Letus, Micro,...) and it offers the sharpest and cleanest picture of all. It has the most filmic bokeh, allows you to stop down even to F22 without the GG grain showing up. It's even one of the cheapest. Thanks a lot Wayne, we couldn't make it without your adapter!

To work faster, we decided to use a zoom lens. We bought a Sigma 24-70 2.8 Macro in Nikon Mount which is a great lens especially considering it costs only 450$. We also had a Sigma 20 1.8, Nikon 85 1.8 and a Sigma 70-300 4-5.6 that we used for a couple of shots in the early morning. We shot almost everything at 2.8, sometimes at 1.8 on the two primes when needed. The long shots at 300mm where at 5.6. Depth of field was short as the adapter has a SLR 24x36 gate. We liked the fact that is was still spherical but had a depth of field closer to anamorphic. We added hand-grips from CaVision and a custom made shoulder support made by my father. It made the camera way more heavy and well balanced which really helped.

Posted Image

We didn't try to rate the camera with the adapter, we simply went to shoot tests on location. We knew we had to face severe underexposure so we did color-correct those shots to know how far we could go. We kept the shutter at 1/50 all the time except for an interior car sequence where we had to switch to 1/25. Wasn't too bad, as the frame is static, most of the movement is in the background, slightly out of focus. We shot day sequences with +3 to +6db of gain, night with +6 to +9db of gain. Didn't mind a bit of grain, doesn't look too bad on that camera. We turned down sharpness a bit knowing we could precisely do it in post and played a lot with white balance settings. We didn't try to correct the different shifts in terms of light color but simply embrace the changes. Sometimes it was more yellow, sometimes red, pink, blue, green,...

We shot 19 days, short days. For night sequences, we would eat all together and leave our house at 10pm and shoot until 2 to 4am. It went very smooth. The three first days, we staged all the sequences precisely on paper but after that, we just improvised. It felt better, wouldn't work on all projects for sure but it was right for this one. It helped being very focused on what happened on "set" and react quickly to what the actors offered. I operated the camera and also did the focus (unfortunately no follow-focus). I know... I shouldn't do that, surely won't on every project but I'm somehow used to it, done that on many music videos, shorts,... For this project, as it was very simple technically speaking, it felt like the right thing. We didn't even have an external LCD, just the onboard LCD so Olan and Jef where often looking at the screen while I was operating. Fun shoot, very very guerrilla style ;-)

Here are a couple of pics, very rough CC, heavy compression. Hope they'll look ok on your monitor. I always have troubles finding the right gamma setting.


Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image


We still have to shoot the intro/title sequence. The movie will begin with her memories of Thailand. It will be quite chaotic, all as her POV. To give this part a different feel, we plan to shoot on regular 16mm (with a K3) using a wide range of filmstock we have in our fridge (EXR100T, EXR50D, Eterna 500T, 7240-7250 cross-processed). We plan to shoot a lot of slow-mo and maybe even try hand-crank. We would telecine to HD on hard-disk. It surely will be grainy, especially cropped to 2.40 but we think it would work. We're still waiting to have enough money to leave but we plan to travel across the country for two weeks, simply shooting the things that moves us. We know that the people's reaction to three guys with strange cameras will be way different than if we simply shot on HDV, it'll be fun. It's been a long time we dream of traveling with backpacks and our K3. We keep our fingers crossed ;-)

We'll start editing pretty soon, still need to convert all the footage to mini-dv for the offline edit, our computer is way too old for HDV editing. We aim for a 75min feature that we plan to distribute on the web for free (download and hi-quality streaming). We think that we need to find an audience first, the rest will follow. We'll also sell DVDs too for those who want to support us and send it to festivals. The DVD will also include a video guide explaining everything we did. We wrote a PDF guide for our short Marla (Marla's website) and we want to do a new version to share the little knowledge we did acquire over the years. We'll probably cut a small teaser that'll be released before end of this year. We plan to have the movie ready for may 2008.

Wow, that was a long post...I'm sorry... It feels good to finally post something. I did learn so many things through this website and I can't thank you all enough. It's probably the only site I checked more than once every day. It feels good to contribute. Here in Belgium, I can't say I get a strong feeling of community when it comes to filmmaking in general. I don't hear the word "sharing" a lot, it's all about little secrets that are really none if you think a bit about it. Pretty lame...this country is so small...I have to get out of here... So thanks a lot!!! I feel better, less isolated every time I check this website.

If you have any questions, I'll be pleased to answer. And yeah, if someone needs a hand on a project, we're always ready to move!


Take care, cheers

Olivier
  • 0

#2 Olivier Vanaschen

Olivier Vanaschen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 11 October 2007 - 04:20 PM

More pics:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image
  • 0

#3 Olivier Vanaschen

Olivier Vanaschen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 11 October 2007 - 04:22 PM

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image
  • 0

#4 greg bates

greg bates
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 13 October 2007 - 08:34 PM

Looks sweet! Been a fan of you guys since you were using your original home made 35mm adapter.
  • 0

#5 Xavier Plaza

Xavier Plaza
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 288 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Guayaquil - Ecuador

Posted 15 October 2007 - 01:56 PM

Hi Olivier:

great stuff, what ASA did you rate your meter, especially at night ???
  • 0

#6 Jason Reimer

Jason Reimer
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 152 posts
  • Student
  • Rochester, NY

Posted 16 October 2007 - 01:13 AM

Happy Birthday, Olivier!
By the way, I really like the look of the stills you have posted. Keep up the good work, bro. I'd love to see how they look in motion.

Jason
  • 0

#7 Olivier Vanaschen

Olivier Vanaschen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 17 October 2007 - 03:39 PM

Thanks a lot Greg and Xavier!!!

We didn't rate the camera at all, it probably would have been to scary ;-). We chose to shoot tests in different locations to get a feeling of how far we could go using the camera's LCD screen to somehow judge. Basically, the lens on the adapter was wide open (at 2.8) all the time, same for the camera (at night, we used at least +6db of gain too). We took all this footage all the way to post to see how it would handle the grade.

I must say we kept our fingers crossed quite often but it worked. From the very beginning, we knew that playing with a lot of underexposure wouldn't mix well with HDV compression so we planned to add "film" grain in post because we wanted the texture and also it would hide compression problems a bit. HDV with an adapter (especially on the FX1 cropped to 2.40) is not that sharp. The grain will help making the lack of sharpness more bearable.


Thanks a lot Jason ;-) I'll post some shots as a highres H264 QT very soon. Thanks again!!!

Olivier
  • 0

#8 Piotr Ciacka

Piotr Ciacka
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 17 posts
  • Other

Posted 18 October 2007 - 06:05 AM

Simply amazing. Myself, I love the "idea of shooting night sequences close to what we see with our own eyes" too and I love the effects of this approach on the stills you posted. I remember "Marla". So, it's the same people, huh? Again, great job. And very inspiring.

Have fun on your trip to Thailand.
  • 0

#9 Olivier Vanaschen

Olivier Vanaschen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 22 October 2007 - 07:16 AM

Thanks a lot Piotr! Yep, it's about the same team as for Marla, some did leave, some new people came but we still see each other quite often ;-)

I encoded some footage at SD Res. Really difficult to get a picture that's not washed out, hope it'll look ok, compression makes the grain "bigger":

somewhere between here and now / rushes

Take care,

Olivier
  • 0

#10 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 05 December 2007 - 03:04 AM

Thanks a lot Piotr! Yep, it's about the same team as for Marla, some did leave, some new people came but we still see each other quite often ;-)

I encoded some footage at SD Res. Really difficult to get a picture that's not washed out, hope it'll look ok, compression makes the grain "bigger":

somewhere between here and now / rushes

Take care,

Olivier


The SD rushes clip looks pretty darn good for the compression first from HDV and then mpg4 or whatever you used. Good work!
  • 0

#11 Olivier Vanaschen

Olivier Vanaschen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 11 July 2009 - 03:19 PM

Hello everybody,

thank you again for all the messages and support! I'll try my best to post some before/after grade pics soon.

Big news, the movie is finally finished! We already had a couple screenings and had the great chance of being selected at the Brussels Film Festival (www.fffb.be) in official competition. Even bigger suprise was to have two soldout screenings and to receive the audience award. It was quite surreal.

We only had dvd and digibeta screenings for now but it looked pretty good. We have a 2K master so we hope to have and HDCam screening soon.

The movie's mini website and trailer are online: www.somewhere-themovie.com

At the bottom, you'll see a link to the facebook and vimeo pages. The blog will be online soon.

Take care,

Olivier & Olan
www.asom-films.com
  • 0

#12 Jamie Metzger

Jamie Metzger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 773 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco

Posted 11 July 2009 - 04:42 PM

Looks good. Congrats on pushing through on your first feature!
  • 0

#13 Olivier Vanaschen

Olivier Vanaschen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 13 July 2009 - 07:04 AM

Thanks a lot Jamie!
  • 0

#14 John Allardice

John Allardice
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 68 posts
  • Director
  • Los Angeles

Posted 15 July 2009 - 10:06 AM

Absolutely love the work....Some of the more commercial stuff on your site also puts me in mind of Claudio Miranda's spot & music vid work.

J
  • 0

#15 Olivier Vanaschen

Olivier Vanaschen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 16 August 2009 - 10:20 AM

Thank you very much John! We hope to have our new reel ready for mid-September.

Here are a couple stills from the final master and some making of pictures also.


Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image
  • 0

#16 Olivier Vanaschen

Olivier Vanaschen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 16 August 2009 - 10:24 AM

Posted Image

Posted Image



Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image
  • 0

#17 Edgar Dubrovskiy

Edgar Dubrovskiy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 348 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London

Posted 08 September 2009 - 05:39 PM

Man, looks really nice.
Really.
Simple, realistic, 2.40.
Nice.
  • 0

#18 Olivier Vanaschen

Olivier Vanaschen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 10 September 2009 - 07:24 AM

Thanks a lot Edgar!
  • 0

#19 Adam Forrester

Adam Forrester

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • 2nd Assistant Camera
  • Georgia

Posted 14 September 2009 - 08:31 AM

Amazing! I am really excited for you and your team Oliviar. I was planning on using a similar setup just with a Letus and maybe cine primes but I don't know that much about the HDV adapters. I'm open to any comparisons you or anyone has for the two.

But I am really amazed at how this turned out for you, it looks great, and the story sounds honest and intriguing. Please let us all know where we can see the film when it's available. Best to all of you at the festivals.

Adam Forrester
www.aforrester.com
  • 0

#20 Olivier Vanaschen

Olivier Vanaschen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brussels, Belgium

Posted 15 September 2009 - 06:33 AM

Thank you very much Adam! Cine lenses is a good idea if you have access to them, they are usually faster than the one I used (the zoom opened at 2.8) and focusing will be much easier. I've only used an older Letus once so I can't comment too much but from what I saw, I prefer the look of the SG. The new SGBlade is very well built and the bokeh of the "classic" groundglass is pretty organic to me.

I've checked your website, must say I really like your still work! Very interesting!

We've just started sending it to festivals, for now mainly big ones without much luck (no Venice, Toronto, NY, Pusan, Tokyo, Bangkok,...) as we could have expected. We keep our fingers crossed for the ones that might fit better like SXSW,...

Thanks again for your message!

Olivier
  • 0


Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Opal

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Technodolly

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

Glidecam

CineLab

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Opal

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport