Task: Make a good B&W still frame
This project was a chance to just practice like I did back in film school light class. The local film centre rented out Helmet Studio and their cinematographer Øystein Moe. They also got Åsa Nilsson to talk about black and white scenography. We were divided into two randomly selected groups. One could say that without a director, coming to agreement on what we should actually make was not the easiest task. In the end we settled for a compromise. For me it was very important not just to make a pretty frame, but to tell a story too. This was however very limited as we didn't have any props and only a day to get what we needed. We decided to use one of the participant's beautiful dresses.
After this I kind of just got a dump of 16 GB 6K R3D files I didn't know what to do with. Turns out the only codec I got to work was MJPEG, and then screenshotting out of that, and grading the screenshot. Enjoy the 138 Kb result haha. We agreed on having one of the participants dance, shaking off a dark power inside her. Her internal state of mind was to be shown through the shadows.
We started out with a 1k about two meters off the ground, to get an idea of how the final shot would be. No diffusion as we wanted hard shadows.
To get the boy out of frame, and still keep a shadow in frame with the same size as her shadow, we had to add another light. This produced double shadows. The streak of light from the door is just there to make the shot a bit more interesting to look at. But I also thought of it as kind of a "light at the end of the tunnel" as the evil shadow was supposed to be camera right, and the bright escape camera left.
Me plugging in the 1k in the background. The 2k and diff frame frame was used by the other group who were making a different setup. See the 650w behind the boy? My plan was to try to get the shadows to look like they were both created by her. To show that both the shadows were a projection of her internal state of mind. Problem was, double shadow hellworld, and the 650W washing out her shadow. In the end I had to give up on the idea and have his shadow come from next to her.
Øystein wasn't to keen on letting anyone else touch his expensive RED camera, so he did the operating. I moved the 1k up on the studio balcony. It's a messy place and no way to attach it to a stand, so I just had to hold it there. The 650W light took over the 1k's role. I flagged the 1k to keep it from hitting the girl, and thus producing double shadows.
Final frame again. What do you think? I wish I was able to rim light her a bit. And tilt the light a bit up. Sadly the other group occupied 70% of the studio so that wasn't an option. Oh well!
Documentary project on Svalbard
I got chosen to participate in an Erasmus+ backed project on Svalbard, Norway. Together with youth from Norway, the UK and Turkey we made a 4 minute documentary about climate change. It was challenging because most of the participants didn't have much filmmaking experience. Luckily for us, documentarist Eirik Meyer Amundsen joined the project halfway in, mentoring us towards a film with real impact. It still needs some editing, grading and sound mixing, but here are some raw screengrabs!
Shot only using natural light on a bunch of DSLRs. Cinematography by me, with some help from Matt Bulkley (young lad with the beard) and Eirik Meyer. I got to be in front of the camera too, which was awkward at first but I quickly got used to it.
This is the biggest production I've been on yet, with a budget of 1 million norwegian kroner. For part one of this production I got to work together with Trondheim's most experienced gaffer, Pål Aarnseth. Together we emulated sunlight into a house and covered all the windows with ND filters. We also had one of the grips, Eilif (guy in gray hoodie) as well as some runnners help us out with holding lights as it was windy and we didn't have enough sandbags.
The cinematographer wanted sunlight in, but being able to shoot out the windows. First we cut big pieces of ND covering the windows, but it wasn't perfect so we had to take them down again and cut smaller pieces fitting into the window frames. They were held there by vaccum created by spraying water under them, then pushing the water out.
It was overcast for most of the two days, but when the sun decided to show up, we had to throw up a huge silk frame to soften it out.
A lot of the time on set was spent just holding bounce boards and lights in place. Inside, the cinematogrpaher set up a kino-flo to lift the exposure.
PART TWO: Forest shoot
The 2nd part of the production was shot in August, around a small lake not too far from my house. Here they didn't have Eilif or Pål on set, and there were almost no light setups, so I worked a lot more as a grip. Formally, I was also the gaffer here! But there was very little light work to be done.
Video password: toni
Did a bit of manual light bouncing and flagging. Below is the only lamp we used for part two, here working to emulate the outside light, lifting the exposure of the boy. I did a lot of dolly-pushing and pulling. The most advanced setup was probably the circular track seen above and below.
Light assistant: Straitjacket
During the summer i visited my friends from the European Film College and helped them make "Straitjacket" a film we were supposed to make as our final film at school. It's about dealing with rape and a true passion project for all of us. It didn't get picked, but that didn't stop us from raising funds and making it anyway. I was light assistant for my friend Sine Juhl. Jens Nordhausen did camera. Here are some behind-the-scenes pics from the shoot!
One thing I did on this shoot I've never done before, is covering an entire wall with black molton. We did that to increase contrast indoors as it absorbed a lot of the ambient bounce from the white walls. Website for the film: www.spaendetroeje-kortfilm.dk/
3 minute film "Far" now on Vimeo
The 2nd film I shot at school, "Far" is now available for free on Vimeo. Shot in one day using mostly natural light on a Panasonic AG AF-100 except for the barn door part. I was also grip on this film, setting up improvised PVC-pipe-rails for an old skater-dolly found behind the curtains in the school's studio. I had two assistants help me with this while I was filming. This film was shown at the 2016 Amandus film festival and Odense International Film Festival.
2 week ago I did some voulenteer work as camera operator for Extreme Sports Week. I was also in charge of the GoPro footage for the "Today's Video" production crew. One of the days I got to try a DJI Ronin. Below is some footage I shot that day. The camera is a Canon DSLR, don't remember which as I borrowed it.
Lighting design: "Decay"
8.5 minute European Film College project. Lighting design by me, camera by Sine Juhl. Klea Suitso was light assistant. For the film I had one two-bay kino-flo, 2x redheads, one 650w fresesnel and one 300w fresnel. Sadly the 300w was broken and I didn't bring any ND or black wrap so I had to borrow everyone's phone a couple of times and use the flashlights from the phones for back and hairlight. Six phones gives you something usable.
For the shot out of the front of the train me and my light assistant held a giant piece of black molton up, covering the camera from the back and getting rid of all the glare in the window. Must have looked somewhat suspicious...
I did the light design as well as fulfilling the gaffer role on "Ulfberht". My light assistant was Rasmus Strandberg, and Camera by Jens Nordhausen. Trailer below:
Here are some behind the scenes pictures from a light person's perspective. For the one-shot exterior I had two 4k HMIs, through a diffusion screen, and one 2k HMI. Also two 2k tungsten lights + a 800w redhead to simulate fire.
Some more light-related behind the scenes pictures taken by other members of the crew.
For my final film at European Film College I was gaffer and co-light designer of "The one", a serial killer film with a great script. Shot over 5 days, the production only had two 800w redheads, one 300w fresnel, and one 650w fresnel at our disposal. The exception was the forest night scene where I also had a 1.8 kW HMI and a 2.5 kW HMI, but the cinematographer and producer didn't get enough high quality cables, so we could only power one HMI and our light kit due to line loss running power from two 2800w honda inverter generators.
I also have a few ungraded stills I can share. The black and white looking noir lighting is for the intro sequence. The director wanted strong colors when the subjects were being murdered so I went with red and blue gels for most of the shots. The interview shots were supposed to look more natural, although you can see that I lit the characters differently.
Stills from my 3 minute project
Last year I shot a 3 minute film that i hope we can get to festivals. Currently we are having some trouble with music licensing. Hopefully it's sorted out soon. Here are some post-grade stills! Note that there is a white filter added to combat the high contrast of the school projector.
I'm a freelance gaffer. I also do basic grip work.