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Erkki

Filmmaking

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You may want to use that money on another film project. I guess it depends on how much you think the film needs that piece of music instead of something you can get for free. My opinion would be that no one apart from yourself would ever notice.

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The problem is how to find a free/cheap song quickly because I need a choreography based on it

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We shot a 3 min short with the group from the 3-week course two days ago. I was the cinematographer/camera/sound guy. I was actually surprised how much we managed in one half-day, only missing a couple of shots. It was thanks to the director focusing on getting it done rather than getting it perfect, but the result seems to be quite ok. She works as an actor, and played the only part, so it probably came from some experience.

 

We had some problems with lighting continuity as the sun went down (it shone into the room), but it might actually work. Or we might reshoot one or two shots on Monday.

 

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Here's the short film we made in Tallinn Summer School's Short Film course:

 

 

I was the cinematographer, sound editor and colorist.

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Very cool! Looks nice, well put together. Good colouring effects, too!

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Luckily today it's a bit simpler. We have cameras and other equipment so easily available that we can do it without much business, organization or taxes. The budget for my film was basically just for renting lighting equipment and a gimbal at first. Although I also purchased a lot of gear for myself personally, which I also hope to use in future films. Sure, I could have optimized what I pay somehow, by registering a company and getting out of paying VAT somehow, etc., but it didn't feel like it was worth the trouble to get into some legal complexities. Later I added music licensing and choreography which added additional costs, though.

 

But anyway, I think for a lot of people, if they already have a good recent photo camera that can do video, they don't really need to even buy any extra gear to make a movie, especially if natural lighting can be used. And maybe even a hand-held reflector can be used to add enough lighting without using any electricity. So basically if you can convince people to work with you, you can make a movie without any budget.

 

But I definitely agree that the best education in filmmaking is to make films. But also there's so much about specific technical stuff on YouTube and elsewhere, which you can use to improve your understanding of what you need to do, even before shooting. And I've also been lucky to have found some local short courses and having been able to afford those.

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Some progress, we started the dancing lessons for the actress with a professional choreographer. It's going to be pretty cool, I think. I was trying to find camera angles during the lesson, but it's also been a couple of years since I did any dancing and I was kind of wanting to also take part in that.

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We filmed a dance scene on Sunday. It turned out the original one sentence in the script - "Cleo dances from the office to the street" or something like that - was several practice hours of preparation with a choreographer, a whole day of shooting (and probably another 2-3 hours later to do some fixes), over 1 minute of the film and licensing about 100 seconds of a music track.

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How much did you spend on the music track, if you don't mind me asking?

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500$ I think, for one year festival and online usage. Perpetual would double it.

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Interesting. That's US$? Have you found a public domain alternative for a year down the line?

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Us$ No, I’m just thinking of not showing it after that. I’m actually licensing another song over credits and that costs even more. Together the music licensing more than doubled my budget :(

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Actually depending on how well it turns out, I might go for perpetual license as well, but that could double the cost.

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I put most of the movie together roughly as a test (still haven't shot 3 key scenes) and it was 16 minutes... so with those key scenes it could approach 20 minutes. Also, I find that it seems quite boring when watching through those 16 minutes without any music. For original rough cut I added some jazz that created some tension in some places but when I remove that it seems really dull. I'm not sure if I can license this song that track that I used originally nor if I want to. But maybe I can get a friend to make some music that fits. Anyway maybe it's not just the music. I'm worried that it's going to be a really boring movie. :/

 

[edit] just watched Tommy Wiseau’s The Room and at least I hope my dialogue and the actors’ delivery is slightly better than that movie.

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A video I made in our office in Spring for an internal contest can now be shared. I even kind of got paid for it since I did it during work hours :)

 

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Gosh I love it. Great work Erkki! Did you win? I'm really impressed with how you've captured so many aspects of nerd work, the sociality, periods of boredom/staring at screens, discussion and team spirit combined.

 

Also very good timing sync with the music, that must have taken a ton of work. I think th e only criticism I have is that the pingpong bit feels quite jarring, probably because the audio has a lot of echo.

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I didn't win, the czech office did a really elaborate titles sequence partially ripped from Death Proof (and others) and won, and I think a US office came second with a mildly racist black & white film imitation.

Thanks for the note about the ping pong. I wasn't very happy with that part myself and my audio recording capabilities/skills were really crappy back then. I'm currently actually trying to learn about sound design and mixing to avoid any stupid mistakes in the future. Also got myself some decent entry level monitoring headphones and speakers.

 

The syncing with the music kind of happens accidentally sometimes. I'm not sure how exactly, but it has already happened to me at least 3 times that I edit the video and then I go through some songs in the YouTube audio library and the first or second track I pick somehow mostly syncs up with my edit. I guess I did help a little bit afterwards with the office video. But another time it was completely baffling even to me how it happened, with this video I did most of the video editing before picking this song (although now that I watch it again it syncs up less than I remembered):

 

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Approaching the last big shoot that takes place on Sunday. Getting into a minor pit of despair again, as I'm not sure it's going to turn out as good as I want. I was originally thinking of using a gimbal (handheld camera stabilizer) for these scenes, but I've only used it for a tiny minority of shots so far and I'm not very confident that I can plan good shots with it. There will be about 8 or so people involved in this shoot (plus 10 or so extras) so I'm not going to use that time to experiment and will use static or panning camera mostly. It feels like I'm slightly compromising my original vision, but I really want to get this over with and don't want to risk needing another day at the location and wasting people's time.

 

I'm actually pretty sure that I don't want to take on another project that is this long after I'm done with this*. I really want to make some small 3 minute movies that can be done in a weekend to get better at turning ideas into good audio-visual stories. I think a problem is that I spent most of my youth being not that interested in storytelling and I'm still kind of unsure about how to approach this plan.

 

* and actually this Sunday will not be all, I thought of another small scene to add after the credits and there's a stop-motion animation dream sequence that I still have no idea how to shoot exactly.

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Well fuck me, I let my to-do list grow so long that I forgot to pick up lights from rental today. I feel so stupid. Luckily they are not essential for the location, there's enough natural light there... But I still would feel much better if I had some extra, so now I'll have to spend probably a good part of tomorrow dealing with finding some lights... (might be difficult here on a Saturday)

 

[edit]Yay, I got the lights, and even a better one, from a guy on local facebook group.

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Oh yeah, I think it went well! Of course I did about half of the amount of shots I had planned, this is becoming normal. There was a lot of hassle moving the camera and lights around. Also there was a lot of trouble with a certain performance in the finale, but I think we got a good result. Just one minor scene left to shoot now, outdoors. Well, and a stop-motion animation, which I have very little idea how to shoot but I should be able to pull it off with relatively few stress compared to today.

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