Posted 10 August 2008 - 03:16 PM
This forum has always been a great resource, and I would like to thank everyone who have made sure it stays that way.
The only way I dare to contribute at this young age is to write reports of my mistakes during shoots, hopefully someone finds them interesting or even educational. On top of that I am shyly proud of this film, and caving in to the urge to rant about it.
I was contacted by a former classmate a year ago. He inquired in case I would be interested in shooting a short film he had been thinking about. He wanted to make a film in the alley with Tarantino, Rodriguez and old westerns. Something very visual and camp, that would intentionally be a bit trashy and sleazy. Not the first short in that genre, but as far as I understood it, he wasn't interested in reinventing the wheel, he wanted to direct ten minutes of entertainment. So we set out to produce our version of Grindhouse aesthetics. Something very American, big, bold and a bit excessive. That was our guideline through the whole process, overdo it in favor of being cautious. I was really happy for the offer and extremely excited to start shooting.
Our ambitions snowballed, and we spent a lot of time preplanning and scouting locations. The whole thing grew in size and we ended up with a crew of about 25 persons, six actors and five days of shooting.
Car repair shop - About half of the movie takes place in a dark, dirty and run down repair shop. The space was a big garage at a farm, filled with old car parts and tools. Next to it was a storage facility filled with old cars from the 40's-70's. Really nicely aged and dirty already, the place was short of ideal for the film. The group added old posters, retro oil cans and a lot of other stuff, topped with dirt and dust and some occasional oil smudges.
Exteriors - The rest of the movie takes place on roads and on fields all around the area of the garage. To emphasize the foreign feel we framed all our shots so that our omnipresent forest would be hidden behind hills or just blocked somehow. A Scandinavian forest would break the illusion immediately. We found some roads where we got some depth in the images even though we had no sky in the image, with hills, electric lines etc. The best place we found was an even hill in the middle of a huge field. All directions towards it could be used to get clean sky-field horizons without too much logistics.
We studied all our reference films and ended up liking Rodriguez´s "in your face" way of using light, and decided to try and do something similar. Exteriors were always backlighted by the sun, as good as every exterior shot had to be time scheduled against the right background according to the sun and time of day. This was a horror to puzzle together schedule-wise. We used an 8'x8' checker as the main reflector to add some kickers or just reveal the shadow side. Some smaller silverboards were used for details. Pretty much every close up was lit the same way, one harsh kicker from one side and one softer from the other. We intentionally ignored light continuity, the sun could be in four different places during one scene, never in frame though. We were extremely lucky with the weather, as good as the whole week was sunny and exceedingly warm. If the sun would never have shown up, it would have been a totally different film altogether.
The interior was mainly toplit with snooted 575 HMI's and some CTS. All light coming from outside was balanced neutral 5600K. As daylight we used three 2.5K HMI's through some bigger frames. Here the closeups got the same kickers as outside, vaguely motivated by the lights in the ceiling. When we added smoke the place looked like a 80's music video.
An old Arri SR2 with almost dead batteries. A lot of ND's and ND grads outside combined with a polarizer in the exteriors, and clean inside. We shot on 250D, exteriors around f2.8-4.0, and interiors f2.0-2.8. Zeiss Mark III's ranging from 9.5mm-135mm varying a bit from exteriors-interiors. The last shot of the film was done using a Canon 300mm. We varied the height of the camera quite a bit. Six tins of raw material on 74 shots.
One lousy Sachtler DV 15 which almost broke during some car trailer work. An old Elemack dolly and its jib, worked beautifully and we (at least seemingly) managed to pull off some quite complex shots. We used autopoles to hitch those 575's up in the ceiling, they had to be secured since they couldn't take the 575's weight.
We had a really uneven group in terms of work experience, and the first few days were quite tiresome. When everyone got a bit warm it started working. We had some professionals who promised to help us out, and that led to the fact that it was one of the most slick student productions I have participated in. At least I had the feeling everyone around me was smiling, even though I was quite stressed out most of the time. This led to some misjudgements I should have avoided, everyone in the group seemed to forgive us though. At least no one has tried to mug me.
I am really happy we preplanned everything in such detail, the time schedules were really tight and without all that prepping we would have been screwed. In the future I will try and develop a poker face, so that my stress does not signal itself around the whole group like it did this time. I would also like to remember to point out how important set etiquette is, if everyone knows how to behave it makes a huge difference.
I would like to thank everyone associated with the film for all the help, half of you probably read this forum at least as much as I do.
Thank you for reading in case you got this far. If you have any further questions I would be happy to continue my rant. I will update this on thursday after the transfer, hopefully happy it all turned out well....
ps just to clarify that the attached images are production stills from the producers, not frame-grabs.
Posted 19 August 2008 - 01:31 PM
Posted 19 August 2008 - 03:36 PM
We did something of an advanced bestlight transfer, and did some secondary color corrections. We pretty much pulled down the green as much as we could, on top of that we warmed up the image. The colours resemble "O brother where art thou" quite a bit. Even though I was sometimes a bit nervous with the exposure while we were using a circ polarizer and two different nd's, it turned out well. We missed one bigger jib shot and underexposed it maybe by one and a half step, we probably just forgot to change it during the stress.
I'll post screengrabs as soon as I'm allowed. The actual film wont be online for some time, but we'll be sure to post some sort of trailer.
Posted 19 August 2008 - 03:52 PM
Posted 26 August 2008 - 12:47 PM
Edited by Mikael Gustafsson, 26 August 2008 - 12:49 PM.
Posted 02 September 2008 - 11:01 AM
Are you sponsored by Zeunerts beer by any chance?
Posted 03 September 2008 - 06:15 PM
I thought the production stills were out of this world, but the frame grabs were absolutely AWESOME as well.
As a non-professional, not only did I think that the lighting/color work was totally gorgeous, but who the hell did the CASTING!? Just looking at the stills, I am MEGA impressed and anxious to one day see this thing to see what's actually going on.
Those actors have million dollar faces! (And the girl in the car scene has million dollar boobs.)
You've inspired me. Not to the quality you've achieved, but at least to shoot for better focus.
Congratulations on this, because you deserve it!
FANTASTIC LOOKING STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted 03 September 2008 - 11:08 PM
i liked it
Posted 08 September 2008 - 04:52 AM
Hopefully it will get people even more keen to see the movie.
Posted 08 September 2008 - 03:24 PM
Kopparberg sponsored the beers, hence the Zeunerts. Basically we just wanted a brand that wasn't too well known. We got some booze in return, and got drunk.
Posted 18 November 2008 - 06:50 PM
Posted 30 November 2008 - 12:36 PM
You also have a great DA to shot, the garage looks very well.
Posted 03 March 2009 - 07:10 PM
Posted 14 March 2009 - 10:22 AM
who the hell did the CASTING!? Just looking at the stills, I am MEGA impressed and anxious to one day see this thing to see what's actually going on.
Yes, your actors looked like they did an excellent job from the pictures here. The one with the male looking startled across the top of the hood is a great one.