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Last weekend, Jae and I made a little trip to the Antiques Garage between 6th and 7th avenue. We found a miniature monkey with movable arms and legs from the 1930's or 40's and a biker made of wire and cloth.
Here a little film of the City Biker. The amazing thing is that by pushing the wire handle you move the biker's legs which in return pushes the bike wheels forward. We're thinking of using this structure to eventually build the main character in our animation project.
Wherever I am, it's usually the people around me who inspire me most. Since November 1st, I'm in Brooklyn, New York. Here I met Jae whom I am currently sharing house with. He's a lovely person, full of energy and exciting ideas. We have started collaborating on a story which might be turned into an animated short later on. The story is based on Jae's movable clothing store. Jae's fashion brand Ugly Original is the ugly original and not a beautiful imitation.
This summer, Jae built a tricycle store to showcase his new collection at different places in Brooklyn.
At the opening the reactions of people passing was mixed. Most of them didn't even notice the bike store.
But after a while some curious Europeans started turning heads asking Jae questions.
We've managed to shoot the last missing detail for my short film before I'm taking off to New York. Stian Eriksen was so kind and offered to build the miniature plane. I've painted it in bright colors to set a contrast to the landscape.
Today, Stian, Øystein and I shot the plane in front of a green screen.
At first we tried hanging the plane on some silk threads but we soon switched to using the green wooden sticks that I had painted beforehand.
The shot of the plane will soon be combined with the miniature landscape.
So, for the past few weeks I've been doing all sorts of painstaking post production work. But, I came across this wonderful handmade kaleidoscope the other day. I've started taking pictures with it in front of the camera lens. I just had a look at my current film edit through the kaleidoscope. It looks something like this...
... and like this...
I wish I could somehow attach this kaleidoscope to the camera lens and re-film certain scenes...
I'm very excited since we've finally completed the shoot! First and foremost, a BIG THANK YOU to Øystein and Stian for their amazing help with cinematography and camera. 12.5 days of shoot spread over June to September for a short film of 10 - 15 min. CRAZY!
We had to re-create a lot of difficult scenes with fake walls, props and miniatures instead of just shooting real rooms and landscapes. Nevertheless, I think the time we've all invested will pay off in the end. The final short film will have a unique visual language.
We're at a point in production where we have at least temporarily exhausted all the budget. We've been feeling this fact during the last two and a half days when shooting the remaining miniatures.
We came up with some interesting set-ups in order to create the desired framing of miniatures and background objects.
A floating mountain.
At first, we considered renting a video mixer to have live view for lining up the miniature shots with the life action shots. For budget reasons, we came up with a different (not necessarily easier) solution. We captured the miniature footage with the RED camera and overlaid/keyed the previously shot footage with the miniature shots in final cut until we got the angles to match up.
No, the film is NOT about zombies.
Stian and Øystein adjusting the focus.
It's amazing to see that miniatures built in a scale of 1:6 look pretty realistic in the final picture.
The final image on the monitor. Angle and position are adjusted according to where the actor is going to be placed in post production.
The miniature seen from the other side. I removed some of the walls and attached others.
Of course there were some pretty tricky bits that had to be figured out. Such as the animation of the door opening and the shadow man sliding into the door frame.
Behind the scene.
The coming weeks will be all about post production. Walls need to be extended, miniature shots need to be combined with life action shots, sky needs to be animated, effects like snow, smoke, or ice need to be added, and and and. The list seems endless.
The place we've been shooting at as seen from the outside, an old petrol station that's been converted into a studio.
Due to budget limitations we spent the first day finding a solution for how to do the camera movement from the house on the island out into the sea past the icebergs. Øystein and Stian set up the dolly with the Red camera hanging on it. At the end of the day we all had to admit that it was impossible to get a steady movement with the 15 kg heavy RED camera dangling forth and back.
The following morning they arrived with a good solution. We used a dolly with a crane on which we fixed the RED camera upside down.
This proofed to be a great solution since at last we were able to do a smooth tilt movement from the house on the hill down into the sea past the icebergs.
Øystein and Stian created lighting that ranged from bright morning light to overcast sky to snowstorm to moonlit night to stormy night. Also, we had one shot in which we captured a time-lapse from night to day.
Me placing the moon.
Sometimes we had to cheat a little in order to achieve my vision. In the shot below, for example, we had to place the island lower than the sea in order to get the right angle for making the icebergs appear more epic.
In post production, I'll be digitally painting and animating snowflakes and textures as well as adding footage of sky, mist and clouds. Also, I'll be blurring parts of the footage according to weather conditions in each shot. In mid September we'll finally be shooting the last part, the remaining exterior shots and the interior miniatures. In the meantime, I'll be continuing with editing and post production.
For the past weeks I've been editing the footage I've got so far and I've been finishing the miniatures. It's magical seeing everything coming together. It also feels good to work with tactile materials after the months long period of brain work and planning during pre-production. The main exterior scene will pretty much look like one of the first visuals I made after writing the script.
I've finished the miniature house.
I have also finished the kitchen.
This is the main wall of the kitchen.
The models are built in a way that they can be taken apart. Each wall is removable and can be attached with a few pins. This makes it easy to store everything.
Most of the pans, pots and cutlery I have found in a model shop in Zurich.
The rest is made of cardboard and painted with water color.
I have also finished a wall with movable door for the film noir scene.
I've covered the mountains, the terrace and the house with snow paint, wax snow and glue, plus some white cloth and moss.
I still need a huge glass plate (or plastic) that will lay on top of the painted canvas (for the sea) in order to reflect the mountains. Øystein and I still need to find a solution for the camera moves from the sea towards the shore. I have covered some test moons with paint that glows in the night. The result might be too green though.
In the morning we shot the second part of the film noir scene. The marks from the shoot one month earlier were still in place so there wasn't much trouble.
With a small-ish budget there isn't much in for lighting. Especially when you have to shoot an exterior scene inside this might be difficult. I decided to move the equipment outside since we had a covered area in front of the petrol station where we could shoot without much additional light. Luckily the days are long in Norway during June.
Underneath the fake ice (plastic, paint, silicon) we placed some white foam board that made it possible to actually drill a hole into the ice.
The whole surface was then covered with wax snow and the actress's clothes were covered with snow spray.
We used the wind machine to make the protagonist look as if she was freezing and struggling in the cold even though we were shooting in the middle of summer and the flowers were blossoming just next to us.