Archive for June, 2010

I’ve always liked “Behind the Scenes” documentaries on DVDs, Blue Rays and even VHS back in the days. It was inspirational, and I guess in some ways, they helped me decide what I wanted to work with or towards. Some of the better ones that I like a lot is “Under Pressure” (The Abyss), “Hearts of Darkness” (Apocalypse Now) and “Dangerous Days” (Blade Runner, 4 hours of pure film making joy!). Also shorter featurettes on Unforgiven, Terminator 2, Total Recall, Star Wars and the latest Star Trek movie are good (J.J Abrams uses some easy and excellent old school techniques that show that simplicity still works like a blast!) . If you’re hardcore you may want to check out all 12 hours of LOTRs extended edition extra material. But only if you’re hardcore. Anyway, now I wanna try to go behind my own stuff. It’s “just” ads and promos, but the process is still the same in many ways, only shorter!  

The set four days before shooting

My biggest production so far, in terms of set size, number of people, budget and equipment, is the ad we did ahead of the winter olympics 2010. I had never actually shot in a “built from scratch” studio set before this. All my previous shoots had been on location, and I was looking forward to work in a controlled enviroment for change. Control is perhaps not the right word, “rigid” is more appropriate. Because in studio, nothing happens without you or someone else doing it. No wind, no weather, no natural lighting, no natural moist or density in the air,

Two days before shoot. Halfway there!

no nothing.  NRKbeta wrote a behind the scenes article back when we made the ad, if you read norwegian, have a look.

When shooting on location I almost always come back to the editing room appreciating the small mistakes, chances of luck and unforeseen events that happens through a day. Picture 1, 2 and 3 shows the building of the set over three or four days. It’s not a big set, the hallway is 10 meters long, 2,5 meters wide and there is path that leads to the right for another 2 meters. As inspiration I had the Ice hotel from Dr. Zhivago, and as it turned out, so had my set designer as well, before we even started talking about how

Set. Done.

I wanted it.  

We actually discussed the possibilities of building the set in a giant fridge at one point, because I wanted the realism of warm breath in cold air which is really hard to do well in CG. In the end we decided not to do it. It was to expensive and would not allow much maneuvering space,in addition to the uncomfortable conditions of shooting in a subzero environment. We tried a CG solution later on, but it never felt right to me, so in the end we decided to leave it out.  

A lot of stuff got left out due to time and budget restrictions. I initially wanted drifting snowflakes in the air and 50 cm of powder snow covering the floor, just like in Ridley Scotts, “Legend“! (Legend is perhaps not the best movie in the world, but it is a visual masterpiece when it comes to set design. The whole thing is more or less shot in a studio, which in the end burned down before the shoot was finished. Early Scott-movies are visually stunning, check out The Duelists, Alien, Legend and Blade Runner!)  

We shot the ad using Arri D21 on a MovieBird crane most of the time. Some shots on a dolly. It later turned out that there was a software bug in the Arri or in the workflow between the camera and editing software that messed up the blue channel of the image, which again caused problems when we started keying the green screen footage. It turned out okay in the end, but we spent a lot of time messing around, trying to find a solution to the problem.  

The Arri D21 on a MovieBird.

Where did the other wall go..?

 In addition to being my first studio shoot, it was also my first time working with 3D-elements which requires some extra planning. I’ll continue with that in Part 2 of this “behind the scenes” post, and let us not forget about the snow.. I’ll write something about that as well.


Another Painting

Actually my first. My art collection have thus far consisted of a Kurosawa print, an Italian western movie poster (Fistfull of Dollars More), a Pink Floyd poster (The Division Bell) and a small 3-piece painting done by a very, very good friend of mine.

The 3-piece

I think this is half of a 2 piece. So it's half.

I started talking about this last year. I had a wall in my apartment that was empty and it needed something . I wanted something that no one else had. So it had to be some sort of art… which I didn’t know much about and still don’t. It became a subject of discussion whenever I met “artsy” people, but the thing with talk is that that’s all it is. No actions come of it. At least not when you’re drinking beer while taking. It’s called beertalk.

Anyway, I like things with color in them, and movies and comicbooks. I’m not an excessive comicbook fan or anything; I read The Phantom and Spawn for a couple of years and I occasionally  find some cool independant sci-fi stuff in magazines like “Heavy Metal” and such. But when it comes to comics the drawings and the colors are the most important thing. If I dont like the drawings I might as well read the book (as in the case with “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep“, I love the covers and the colors, but the comic itself is just to simple).

Cropped version of the one I actually bought.

So my very good friend has this friend, who I’ve met a couple of times, but never really talked to except for in short sentences like “Hi.” and “Goodbye.” and she is really good at drawing with a ball-point pen. The first time I saw her drawings I imediately wanted to hire her as a storyboard artist, but offcourse it’s hard to hire anyone at all when all you can utter is “Hi” and “Goodbye”. Her style reminds me very much of comics, but there is no action. Just thoughts and images, things she sees at the time put down on paper, intertwined in a dreamy way. Nothing is finished, everything is started. It’s the mind put on paper and I like it!

Anyway, time goes by and this friend decides she wants to paint. And so she does. 20 or so paintings that become an exhibition, and that is where I got to buy my first painting. Her name is Taylor White and the exhibition is called “Shortly Before the End”. So if in Oslo, Norway drop by Galleri Pastillen and have a look. The exhibition closes 9th of July 2010, so hurry, hurry.

If I could ever hold a single thought for more than a minute this blog would blossom and grow into something spectacular. But since I can’t, it probably won’t. I’m still going to try though, 4th time lucky.. I’m hoping that the limitations of my previous tools were the source of my failures. At first glance WordPress seems better at least. Not to difficult and not to easy. It’s important to have a balance. This applies to all matters in life.

To start it all, some words of wisdom from Béla Lugosi