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#1 John-Erling Holmenes Fredriksen

John-Erling Holmenes Fredriksen
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  • Oslo, Norway

Posted 13 August 2008 - 02:23 PM

Just wrapped my first S16mm-shoot as cinematographer, and thought I'd share a few pictures and some experiences. I've enjoyed this part of the forum very much in the past, and hope someone will like to have a read and a glimpse of what we've been making as well.

The film, a short by director Viktor Enoksen, is about all the stuff that passes through our head, even when we're awake. We follow into the mind of our main character, and get an impression about his life, as he's making breakfast for his kids in the morning, but keep falling into a myriad of thoughts.

We shot on location in Tromsø, Norway in late July, using an Aaton XTRprod, mounting a set of Zeiss Super Speeds, and loading Kodak Vision2 250D and 500T. The equipment was lent from "grandpa" Stefan Hencz in North Sweden, who was very supportive and gave us a really good price. He's a super guy, and an immensely experienced filmworker.

The concept of doing my first project on film was as terrifying as it was exciting. Being a young, aspiring cinematographer with a background in HD, I've worked a lot of professional sets that have shot on film, but just barely touched the format myself. At this stage, getting the funding to go that route isn't always attainable. Big props go out to the fantastic Andy Gardner who flew in from Belfast and was the best first assistant/focus puller/hand-holder a first timer could ask for.

The film is largely based on two different visual styles. One is a handheld POV-like style, used on all the scenes being played out inside the main protagonist's head. They are mostly one-takes of the entire scene, intended to be chopped up a bit in the edit. Sometimes they also include the main protagonist in the frame, but still quite subjective and handheld.

The other style is based on constant dolly-movement, used for the scenes outside of his head (in the "real" parts of the movie). All setups are constantly circling the scene, starting with some sort of circular pull out from the protagonist's head, and continuing to move around the scene before pushing into his head again. For this purpose I wanted to try out the Skater Mini, a tabletop dolly that I think is mostly intended for product photography. We were able to do some distinctive moves with it, circling really close to objects and doing narrow turns, but there were also some limitations we had to work around. For instance, you cannot pan or tilt in motion. Still, I think it payed off in terms of achieving the shots the director wanted.

We used 250D for the "real" parts, and 500T for the dream sequences. On recommendation from a more experienced cinematographer friend of mine, I exposed the 500 as 400, and with an 85 on it most of the time, it was basically 250 as well. We also used a lot of ND to be able to keep consistently open (around 2/2.8). The Zeiss lenses were quite old, and some were a bit tight on the focus ring, but it worked out in the end. The 500 is noticeably quite grainy, as I expected, but it suits the style of those scenes.

The production was wrapped up after five intensive days, and the film sent off for developing and scanning at Nordic Film Post Production in Oslo, Norway. The onelight came back last week, and I'm including a few grabs below.

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Dream sequence, shot on 500T, onelight HD scan, uncorrected

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Real life of the protagonist, shot on 250D, onelight HD scan, uncorrected

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Dream sequence, shot on 500T, onelight HD scan, uncorrected

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Dream sequence, shot on 500T, onelight HD scan, uncorrected

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Dream sequence, shot on 500T, onelight HD scan, uncorrected

What surprised me the most was that I hadn't screwed up exposure on a single frame. The hardest part for me was daring to be bold, in terms of lighting and in terms of trusting the film to hold up as well as I've been told it should. And I think it worked out well, I'm very much satisfied with the results, and often surprised at how well the film holds up in shadow and highlight areas. Now we just need a good edit, and hopefully the funding for a best light afterwards. In the meanwhile, I'm hunting for more work that will allow me to explore the format even further :)


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Edited by John-Erling Holmenes Fredriksen, 13 August 2008 - 02:25 PM.

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