Shortfilm: Post Mortem

Just uploaded a shot film I made a while back. This was film was my graduating exam for my TV-production 1 class last year. I did everything my self from pre to post-production. I only had actors and a couple of assistants for the shooting. The entire film was shot in two days, on location at the University. A hallway at the University and a classroom doubled as a nursing home.

Fo those interested, the film was shot on a Panasonic AF-101 camera in 1280×720 50p.

Credits:

Bjørn – Dan Skjæveland
Nina – Astrid Therese Simones

Writer, Director, DP, sounddesign and pretty much everything else – Kai Morten Bjorheim
Assistant sound – Jone Erland
Electrician – Stian Skjerping

Friday production: Notekoppen #3

I was the producer for this week’s production of Notekoppen, our weekly production at school. It was an interesting experience.

My job was pretty much to make sure everything tied together. I had to make all the major decisions, answer everyone’s questions and keep track of everyone. Who’s doing what, when and where. As the producer I had my say in just about everything. One thing in particular I wanted to improve for this week’s production was the camera work. It had been okei in the past, but I wanted it to be good for this week. I wanted the all over visuals to be good.I knew the preparations the light and set design guys had done was very good, but I was still excited to see if everything would work.

Friday morning started with a briefing, followed by everyone preparing for rehearsals. Then came the first rehearsal. We rehearsed all the studio stuff first then later when the band came we would rehearse the musical parts. The first rehearsal went terrible. People were unprepared and lacked focus. So just before lunch I gathered everyone in the studio and had a little speech. Not exactly harsh, but determined. I simply told people that this was not good enough, and pointed out things that needed to be fixed. Then I asked if everyone would be ready for the next rehearsal or if anyone needed more time. No one replied. Not quite sure if they didn’t want to say or if they had control, but when time came to rehearse again after lunch everyone was ready and everything worked.

The next rehearsals went pretty well. We got control over the studio stuff. Then came the band. Or at least part of the band. Two band members ran late. Very late. And no-one could get the hold of them. We prepared all we could prepare, but then we ended up waiting. After waiting an hour or so, people were getting restless. It was Friday afternoon, we were running late and people had plans and places to be. I made the executive decision to do a final test and then just record the show with an ad hoc guitar duo if the rest didn’t come. Just then the remaining band members arrived. But we were running late. I decided we have a 5 minute sound check which also became the camera rehearsal. Originally we would have run through the two songs at least twice, then have a final rehearsal of the entire show, then go to recording. I decided we didn’t have time for any of that and after a 5 minute sound check /camera rehearsal we would go straight to recording.

Our teacher was not too happy with this decision, as it was a bit bold, but agreed it was the right one, considering the circumstances. So how did it go? Well we had a couple of hiccups, but nothing to serious. Just a couple of times the pre-recorded stuff was started a little late. We’ll edit it before it’s uploaded to Vimeo.

When it came to the musical part I dare say it was the best looking musical part this far! We had some beautiful dolly and jib shots, some great cross fades and in and out of focus stuff. All in all a pretty good looking result! Impressive in fact, considering we hadn’t had time to rehearse a complete song, only partials.

It was a relieved and happy producer who left campus Friday night.

Producing

Currently sitting in the studio control room at school checking out different camera angles. I’m the producer of this weeks Notekoppen, our weekly Friday production. I’ve been tying it all together while making plans and answering questions. Right now, I’m looking at the studio through the lens of the cameras checking out the lighting and it looks great. The guys doing lighting and set design have done a really great job! I also have a camera guy in there rehearsing on the jib and he’s getting some nice smooth shots.

As the producer I want to up the ante a bit for this weeks show. Which is why I have a dolly,  jib, a handheld and a fourth unmanned camera in the studio while there’s usually just three cameras om studio tripods. I want to take the visual one step further.

All in all this looks like it’s going to be a good show. We’re a bit set back due to people being ill and elsewhere occupied, giving me some extra challenges. However, so far things have tied together nicely, and I’m positive about this show. It looks like we have things under control. Light and sound is doing final touches and this weeks band, Sporv, will be here in about 10 minutes to do light and sound checks.

I think I may be a little to calm, but so far it seems like everything is under control. Tomorrow however, it’ll probably all be total chaos!

Way to spend a Sunday

Yesterday I planned to have a lazy Sunday, but then I got a call from a gaffer I know. He needed an assistant for a short film shoot. Having nothing else to do I said yes.

The film was a low-budget short. Most of the department heads were professionals, but the assistants were high school kids. Because the scene they were going to shoot was kind of difficult the gaffer wanted a more experienced assistant as best boy.

The scene that was going to be shot was am interior of a bus. But, it was going to be shot against a green screen. Hence the lighting job was a bit more difficult. Originally the gaffer planned to have a HMI placed on top of the bus. Being the lightweight on the crew I climbed up on the roof. The roof was wet, slippery and gave in to my weight. There was also a sign warning us to walk or scratch the gas tank placed on top of the roof. This caused me to utter the sentence; “I don’t think we should place the HMI on top of a gas tank on the edge of a slippery roof of a bus.” Luckily everyone agreed. Hence we had to light it a different way than the gaffer intended.

We used two HMIs to light the green screen. We used Kinoflows and red heads to light the interior.

We used Kinoflows to light from the outside. Notice the rig. A frankenrig made of C-Stand arms.

I have not read a script, so I have no idea what this film is about. All I know is that it was a short film and it has a bus scene. All in all the production was fun. Though I wasn’t prepared for the hours! I thought it was going to be a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. When I got home 2AM I was pretty tired.

Friday Production: Notekoppen #2

Another Friday, another production. My responsibility this week was graphics. Graphics is not the hardest job. Since most of the templates are already made, the job mostly consists of writing in the text and manually queuing it, so it appears on screen at the right time.

However, one huge challenge with being responsible for graphic is that nobody really know the system we use very well. Nobody! Hence we have to learn it all by ourselves. Now, the system we use is a professional broadcast solution, Pinnacle Dekocast. It’s a fairly powerful system that works really well. Unfortunately, it’s a bit old. Some 7 years or so. Meaning the front-end computer runs on Windows 2000 and it’s a bit challenging to operate.

Most students are really frustrated by this and say there are no logic behind this system. I’ve had a couple of run ins with stuff like this before. Now outdated, but still in use purpose-built systems. These are really stable systems, and you’ll be able to use them for many years, making them good investments. Unfortunately they get outdated on the software side when new, simpler and more intuitive software comes along. Such systems work really well, but seeing as they work on an almost 10 years old view of the computer world the logic seems all messed up today. But there is logic there. You just need to find it. If you know why stuff is done in a certain way you’ll easier understand it. A system built on 10 years old technology would have other hinders and bottlenecks than today. The logic is there, but it’s hard to see for someone used to newer technology which has a totally different approach to things.

Unfortunately I didn’t take the time to really learn the Dekocast system. I just figured out the stuff I needed to get the job done. Most of the job was preparation. Filling in names and titles and sorting them in the right order of appearance in a playlist. When the show was on, my only job was pushing space at the right time. Today’s show did have more names than the previous, hence more to do than before, but still not a lot.

This weeks slow job was welcomed however. Last week I was busy as scripting the show and next week I’m producing it so that’ll definitely be a busy week!