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So it’s been almost a week since we wrapped production of my latest short film, titled TiD. I knowI haven’t made a lot of noise concerning the picture on the website before now – it’s been a wild ride and the film has been in various stages of coming closer and further away from actually going into production for quite a while.
I originally wrote the script about a year ago, and have been working on it on and off for the last couple of months, before really honing in on refinining the screenplay about three months ago. Shortly thereafter, work really started to ramp up with this project and more and more people started to join the pretty large crew who worked on the film. As summer has been pretty busy, it was sometimes difficult to find time to work on the film, which has long been my passion project. But when the opportunity arose, with some great backing by my girlfriend, my family and my 1st AD Martin Wikner, I decided to push on and try to finally get back behind the camera as Director and DP on a story I wrote, after all this time.
The story is focused around Johan, a young adult who falls desperately in love with Linnea at aparty. Their not a very likely pair as seen from other’s eyes, but as the story progresses we learn that they may not be so unsimilar after all. All toe-tipping around, it’s in all earnestness a classic romantic comedy, with a slight twist in both casting as well as how the story progresses. Writing the film in Swedish has been an experience as well – I’m very used to writingscreenplays and film ideas in English, but as I hope to be able to use this film on local film festivals and to really give the actors and actresses the ability to not have the language barrier, and just focus on the performance, I decided on trying to get the story done in my native language.
In late May the team behind the camera started to form properly. The previously mentioned Martin Wikner had joined the project back in early April, but it was now that we had to find the rest of the guys and girls who were going to help us. After working on several projects during my last couple of years with friends – mainly as DP or VFX supervisor – I’d gotten to know several great people around my age who I asked to help me realize the film.
At the end of June, most of the team were gathered, a total number of over ten people. Whilst I’ll take some time and talk about each and everyone of all the people involved behind the camera, to summarize I’d really like to thank Martin Wikner (1st AD), Selina Håkansson (sound recordist), Kervin Tran (1st AC), Katja Ravén (2nd AD), Rasmus Eriksson (Gaffer), Habouba Jeddi (Make-up), Anna Olin (Hair & Stylist), Sara Löfgren König (Script supervisor) and Amanda Liedberg (2nd AC) for being such good sports and giving their all during the last two weeks of July. I’ll have a much more focused news post on each and every one of the crew as time goes on.
In the middle of July we held a casting in central Malmö for most of the film’s main roles, and after a short discussion we decided on a really good mix of people who we thought would work well as the different characters. As we had limited rehearsal time, I decided to go with people as close to the original character as possible – I was very happy with the outcome of the casting, and will dive further into our main cast at a later date.
At first we set the shoot week to the 11th to the 14th of July, but as time quickly passed us by, I realized we still had a lot of stuff left to do and no time to do it. So just two weeks before shooting, we postponed it by two weeks. The film was shot in central Lund and Malmö on July 25th to the 28th, the first sunny week in the region for a long time – which was welcome as much of the film takes place outdoors.
The film basically consists of four different locations which we decided to give one day of production to each. The first day we shot at the local Lund café “Coffee Break” over by the central station. We quickly decided to spend the whole day outdoors, as we didn’t want to disturb the business run there. Not surprisingly, our location wasn’t easily controllable – during lunch hours the place was virtually packed – the whole afternoon and morning we were left to our own though, which was a great feeling. Along with Kervin and Rasmus who made the pretty grey and boring exterior look like a warm summer day, I quickly realized on set that we were actually in production, that we were actually shooting this film, after all this time. The first day was fun albeit a bit difficult due to me not having worked as Director with such a big crew previously. It was a really fun experience though, and our actors really got along great. Even if I sort of might have killed them due to it not really being as warm as it looked in camera…
The following day we had a pretty schizophrenic shoot, as we shot both the film’s first and last scenes during the same day. Glad I had such good team who were all on top of it and made what could have been a very stressful day much easier. We decided to work in two units simultaneously – while I stood behind the camera with Amanda and shot a scene, the rest of the camera crew (Kervin & Rasmus) worked on the next setup. The first couple of scenes consist of a montage with several locations and very few shots in each of them. It was a pretty effective way of working which made us able to get a lot of shots done in very little time. Just before lunch we shot a scene on a very busy shopping street right in the centre of Malmö, which proved to be a bit difficult. I think we pulled it off just fine though – it seems as if people are almost accustomed to film shoots, and hardly ever look straight into the camera. This was also the first day we spent with Maja, our lead actress. Interesting to start out by shooting the final scene in the script, but it worked out quite well. After lunch we compressed the team a bit to go out and shoot a fair amount of cutaways with our main actor Torsten in Malmö. We finished the day about an hour late though – unfortunate, but a good reminder for the rest of the week when the team both behind and in front of the camera got bigger and bigger.
During our third day we started a bit later (having started at 7AM the previous morning I think we all needed that) and shot all afternoon in a park in central Malmö with our two main actors. The shoot lasted for just over three hours, and featured the most dialogue during the whole shoot. It was a really hot day outside, and as we weren’t under the cover of any trees (despite us shooting in a park) we had to be pretty careful not to burn ourselves. We shot the whole day using two cameras at the same time during dialogue scenes. Not shooting separate actors as you might think, but by shooting match-cuts of the same actors – i.e. one camera shooting a close-up while the other one goes a bit wider and shoots a medium close-up. We employed the same method during our first day of shooting, something which I think really will help in the editing process as we have loads of more footage and coverage than usual. The day turned out great, and I really got to enjoy the directing process a lot, not having to worry about an uncontrolled location or several changes in locale. We got some great performances from the day, and I can’t wait to start editing all the footage to see how it all cuts together.
The last day was a big one. We had quickly decided to put the rest of our resources into what was probably the biggest scene of the film and the most demanding, both technically as well as artistically. We shot at a local night club in Lund during the middle of the day – this meant blocking off any potential light leaks from the huge windows in the clubs, as well as creating a believable atmosphere for the club. We had several extras during the day dancing in the fore- and background of the club, which had some pretty cool practical disco lights as well as a very powerful “hazer” – sort of a smoke machine, although not as foggy – it’s basically used to be able to show light patterns in the air and adding some atmosphere to the shots. We rigged the locations for the first three hours, before welcoming the rest of the team as well as all of the extras who were in the scene. We started by shooting a few glidecam-based shots of our main actor Torsten walking through the crowd. After lunch break we quickly moved on to shooting a dialogue scene in the middle of the dance floor – and doing this by quickly switching off the music right before me calling out “Action!”. Hopefully this would lead to our actors being able to visualize (as I imagine they do) the amount of music playing in the club, as well as help our extras keep the music in their heads and have a rough beat to go by. After a great lunch, cooked by our lovely 2nd AC Amanda Liedberg and stylist Anna Olin, we decided to push on and start working on a big glidecam shot which moves our two main characters up from the dance floor and up to the bar upstairs where the rest of the shoot took place. Balancing a Glidecam 4000 Pro rig with a Canon 7D is no easy feat, as the camera is probably way too light to be evenly steady without at least swaying and rotating a bit. After a few takes though, the shot was locked and we were ready to move on! During the afternoon and right before dinner break (loads of food for everyone!) we shot a long scene at the bar with our two main actors, which turned out very beautiful – it was around here when I actually realized that this might actually turn into something worth watching! After dinner we shot some nice promotional team images with the help of friend Erik Schuss, who joined us earlier the same day to shoot some professional stills from the production – which you’ll be seeing more of as post-production moves on.
The last two-hour stretch was spent shooting a bunch of cutaways of the dance floor with all of our main actors, including Unn and Niklas, who had previously joined us for the first shooting day at the café. After doing some make-up work with our main actress Maja, we ended the day (and the whole week of production by shooting a small dance routine!). It’s been a long-time thought of mine to be able to shoot a choreographed dance sequence, and judging from the material so far, it’s hopefully going to fall somewhere between a school performance and a lo-fi Saturday Night Fever. It looks pretty awesome, and I can’t wait to show you some pictures from it!
After the production had concluded I had a very improvised speech where I tried to thank everyone for helping out with the film. After a little more than an hour spent cleaning up the place we had rented for the day, I was off again to go home and fall into bed, already sleeping when I hit the pillow.
It’s been a wonderful experience. It’s also been exciting and downright scary in parts to try and get everyone together for the film, but after all is said and done it feels great to finally stand behind the camera as director yet again and tackle another project. Now a few more days of logging material lays ahead of me, after which I’ll be moving on to starting to edit the film. While I will write further about post-production of the film at a later date, it feels fun to finally be able to start up Final Cut Pro again with a pretty blank slate (except for the script and the shots we actually got) and go to town yet again.
All this talk has gotten me rather excited to start editing, so as I’ll soon be switching over and putting my headphones on and probably giving myself a headache from staring at the computer screen, I just wanted to thank you all for being so supportive! It’s fantastic to be surrounded by such lovely people. Seriously, it’s awesome.
Want to give a big shout out to Sara Löfgren König, our script supervisor, for letting me use her awesome pictures in the news post. More pictures will come soon, as well as some more pictures from the actual film itself!
Also, big thanks goes out to Solid Entertainment, Marcus Tegler, Thomas Frantzén and all my friends and family for helping out with equipment during what by far is our biggest project ever. Couldn’t have done it without you!
Stay tuned for a news post soon again where we’ll be diving in a bit more into who’s who behind and in front of the camera!
Take care everyone!
Hey everyone! First update in a while, as I’ve had my hands full all summer with a whole bunch of film work on a big bunch of projects. We’re still gearing up to hopefully shoot our next short in the last week of July, but up until that, and after it there’s a few projects left in the calendar.
So since summer started, what we first did, and what you might have seen in the above news slider, is that we shot a music video along with the team over at Air-Wipp – a national parkour team. We shot most of the film using a steadicam and at 60 frames/second. We also used Twixtor in post-production, a plug-in which enables speed slowdowns to over 500 or a 1000 frames/second. We’re hoping to be able to finish the music video sometime during next week, as I’ll be going over to Tegler Film and working on a few last touches, including some 3D lens flares, courtsey of Optical Flares from Video Co-Pilot.
A week ago I worked as 1st AC (assistant camera) on a local feature film pilot called Gesta Danorum (directed by Karen Helene Haugaard), shot in a viking village during two days. We shot the pilot using the Red One camera with some anamorphic lenses – meaning we were able to use all available pixels in the sensor to shoot some stunning 2.35:1 Cinemascope footage. Was a very fun experience. Also learned quite a lot, as I constantly worked with the experienced Anders Brandt, our DP for the weekend. Working as 1st AC (or “Focus Puller”) is fun albeit a constant challenge. I basically took care of the camera, changed lenses and had to work with an eye on the monitor as well as some intuition to keep all the correct things in focus. And when you get on a 300mm lens and shoot almost wide open, it proves to be quite difficult. But despite it being hard, I’m really interested and hope to be able to work in a similar role if the film gets funding to make the full feature sometime next year, or the year after that.
But that’s not all! I’m working as camera assistant this weekend along with my good friend Janssen Herr on a music video in Malmö. Got a great and very handy camera bag as birthday present last week so it’ll be the first real test of that. Looking forward to some long days outside in the sun shooting a whole bunch of footage using DSLR cameras – the other side of cinematography compared to the big and clunky RED camera. But both have their upsides and downsides.
Currently in discussion to hopefully work on a few other short films during the summer before I start working as 2nd AC on a feature film in August. The project is full-time and spanning 8 weeks, and I really look forward to starting to work there. Have had a few meetings with the crew behind the film, and while it’s a fairly small-sized production, we’re still shooting on Red and hopefully using some Compact Primes, which is always fun!
I’ll have some more updates in a few days, along with a larger update on the plan for our short film project.
Before I leave you though, you should all check out the new software package from FXhome, HitFilm, which combines NLE editing and 3D compositing and some powerful effect engines. I’ve been involved in the development since a couple of months ago, and I think this really will change the game for indie filmmakers in terms of both price point and usability.
Along with the product launch, the guys over at FXhome joined forces with Corridor Digital a while back to produce this wonderful short film, Prism, which utilizes a lot of the capabilities of HitFilm. Check it out embedded below!
Hope you all like it! Also, as part of our upgrade to the 2011 website (mostly under-the-hood, non-cosmetic changes), you might have noticed our first bit of Facebook integration right below the news scroller on the home page. This will be expanded greatly in the summer and you’ll be able to comment on posts and pages using your Facebook account. More on that soon though! Take care everyone and let’s talk again soon!
Hey everyone, just wanted to let you all know that along with the website redesign I also uploaded the trailer me and my girlfriend Katja Ravén did for the FXhome & TubeTape trailer competition. It’s called Gud har en plan för Dig and while it didn’t get nominated to win the competition, we had a blast making it! Let me know what you think. Oh, and you should play this one full screen. With headphones.