Prora and the old M3 disco.

Photography

Recently I made a trip to Rügen and revisited Hitlers failed KDF- (Kraft durch Freude – Strength through joy) project Prora. Last time I was there they had begun turning the massive buildings into luxury apartments. I reckon they have a year or two left until the transformation is complete. So this might be the last pictures I’m getting of the original structures. I was hoping to get some more photos from the inside but it’s really hard to get in nowadays.

Next to the complex lies what used to be the biggest disco on Rügen. The M3 Miami. After the owner Peter died a few years ago, the massive nightclub which had five floors  shut down for good. Here are some of the photos I got.

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Limited edition T-shirt – 1970’s palette.

Illustration, Illustrator

A while back I finally grabbed the bull by the horns and started to get a grip on Adobe Illustrator. I’ve been relying on Photoshop for so long now and it’s time I learnt how to properly create custom logos, illustrations and printable vectordesigns. I’m really enjoying it and one of my designs is up for grabs on a T-shirt.

The shirt is only for sale for 21 days (19 days left as I post this) and after that, it’s gone for good. The shirt is 15£ (+shipping) and the design is printed on high quality fabrics ranging from S to XXL. Available in black, white or a gorgeous golden colour I picked to match my design. Get ’em while they’re hot!

  • You can buy the shirt here.

Shirt facts: 100% Ringspun cotton pre-shrunk jersey knit. 90% Ringspun cotton, 10% Polyester

 

12v DIY LED Filmlight – without soldering.

DIY-builds and hacks, Film, Photography

More than once I’ve been planning a shoot (both film and photography) and stumbled upon a big problem. No electricity. If you’re documenting your urban explorations, or shooting a scene at night in the woods, a flashlight isn’t always going to cut it. This has bugged me for quite some time and I’ve been wanting a battery-powered LED-panel for ages. But as you know, these come with a pretty juicy price tag. I’ve been checking out tutorials where people build their own panels using LED-strips which are cut up and soldered back together with wires. Soldering is a thing I have yet to master, so I started to think about alternative solutions. This is what I came up with.

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I built this lamp using 10 meters of (5050) RGB LED-strip which I got dirt cheap from eBay. RGB-strips come with a remote, which lets you mix your own colours so the possibility to get various coloured lights, from the same lamp, without filters really got me going. Soldering RGB’s would be even harder for me since there are more connectors (four instead of two) so I started to think about how to line up the strips without cutting them apart.

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I live nearby an IKEA, and I really like to walk around the shop to see if there are things which can be modified into filmgear. Cue the wonderful TROFAST box. This box is cheap, lightweight and comes with a lid in frosted plastic. Perfect if you want to soften your light. The edges are rounded so I figured I could just loop the strip (folding is a big no-no) around the inside walls of the box. But looping them on the sides probably weakens the output a bit since it’s not shining directly out of the box. I thought of it for a bit, and realized a reflective surface could give me an extra needed push. So I went to the hardware store (Hornbach is my home away from home).

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Here I found aluminiumtape (my new spiritanimal). I roughened up the walls of my box with P120 sandpaper to make sure the tape would really stick. I found a nice place at the top where I could put the beginning of my strip (a small box-reciever for the IR-controller with a DC input). The alutape was fun and easy to work with and the LED-strip stuck to it perfectly as i began looping it around the walls.

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I attached an adjustable flagpoleholder made out of metal to the box. These are easy to find online and most of them will fit onto a C-stand. On the back of the box I put some industrial strength velcro so that I can attach my Anker Astro Pro II powerbank (12v output) and fire the lamp up wherever I may end up shooting.

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As I mentioned before, the lid for the box is frosted plastic so it works like a diffuser. To make sure the lid doesn’t fall of when the light is angled, I drilled four holes in the box so that the hooks of the elastic SKÅDIS straps from IKEA would stay put.

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The lamp lit up beautifully when I tested it in a pitch black room, and I’m really happy with the way this build turned out. I can store all the cables and the remote inside the lamp, (since it’s a box), and there are no delicate parts on the outside of the lamp which could become damaged when transported.

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I hope you found this useful and that you’ll have your DIY-eyes with you the next time you set foot inside an IKEA. The place is packed with objects just waiting to be transformed. If you have any questions about this build, let me know.

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By the way! What is your best IKEA-based build when it comes to creating filmgear?

How to build a $45 rail-dolly.

DIY-builds and hacks, Film

Summer is coming up and with it a bunch of opportunities to get some nice footage. I’m documenting festivals this summer and I know I’m going to need some dynamic tracking-shots. So I decided to build a dolly. It had to be fairly easy to transport in a car, easy to operate (a 4-year old can handle this one) and not too expensive.

Oliver, 4, testing the dolly out.

My son Oliver, age 4, trying out the dolly with a BMPCC.

I made a shoppinglist of things I needed and it looked something like this (allthough the pricetags came in the end of course).

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I always start my D.I.Y-adventures with a trip to the second-hand shops. This time I found some vintage roller skates as I was browsing for a wheel solution. For this build you’re going to need 8 wheels, with bearings. Skateboard-wheels will work as well, but the nice thing about the roller skates, is that they come with all the wheels you need. You’re going to need thick wheels, so rollerblades won’t do. If you can’t find used wheels, eBay is your friend.

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Your local hardware store should hold all the other supplies. I had them cut the (30 mm) plywood for me at the store, so I paid a bit extra for that. I measured my tripod before going and decided that a 700 x 700 mm square piece would do the trick. I took the wheels with me to make sure all the bolts and washers would fit. I found some cheap 90° metal brackets which had all the holes I needed in them from the start. Drilling a hole in these ones isn’t really a problem though, if you can’t find pre-drilled ones that work for you.

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After putting two bolts through each bracket the “hard part” is done. Since the L-brackets are 90 °, the wheels automatically angle up perfectly. Secure the wheels with nut and washer.

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By the end, you should have four brackets, with two wheels on each one. Like so.

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Before putting the wheels onto my plywood I painted it. You don’t have to, but since the plywood is quite naked, it might be a good idea to put some sort of protective coating on it. Also, it looks cooler. I don’t know if looking cool looking gear is important but I don’t think it hurts. I added some details using masking tape. Better safe than, ehrm, uncool?

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When it’s time to put the wheels on your board, make sure they align with each other so that they run smoothly along the PCV-pipes. I placed them on my board and ran a pipe along each side and marked the spots for each bracket before putting the screws in. Also, it’s easier to get the brackets on if you take the wheels off for this step.

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To prevent the PVC-pipes from rolling around, I added a cheap shelf-bracket on each end. I found mine at IKEA but any angled piece will do. There are no rules here, if it fits, it fits.

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To prevent the middle of the track from sagging, I use rubber door-stoppers underneath. Works well and since they are angled, it works on ground which isn’t leveled. I also added some hooks on my dolly for wall-storage, and i found some small metal parts which lock my tripod in on the board. You can add whatever you want and having an extra look in the hardware store will surely give you the inspiration you need. Below you’ll find some test footage shot with this dolly. Good luck with the build!

Seamless follow focus gears.

Film

A while back I decided to look for followfocus gear rings for my vintage Kiev 16-U lenses. I bought the complete trio of these lenses for my BMPCC and they look great. But the lenses are quite small and since I’m using them for film I need to be able to pull focus in a handy way.

The cheap “universal” gearbelts aren’t seamless and the Kiev-lens turn at least 360° so they wouldn’t work. Also, these tend to slip a bit so I’ve never been fond of them. There are some cheap rings you can tighten with a screw, but they don’t go below 50mm and my lenses are 44/45 mm in diameter.

So I started to look for specialists. There are some options when it comes to getting custom-made rings which are made to fit the diameter of whatever lens you may have, but most of them start at about $50 a pop. Getting one wouldn’t work because of the different diameters on the Kiev’s, and I wasn’t keen on spending the same amount of money on custom gears as I did on the entire lens set.

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The Tair-41 and Vega 7-1 turned into cinelenses.

Luckily I found the FLEX gears on eBay and asked if they could create some fitting my lenses. It wasn’t a problem. Each gear is about $8 and the quality is good.

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The dealer is very welcoming and polite and it didn’t take very long before I received my package. They even added an extra ring for free. Couldn’t be happier.

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The gears have industry standard 32 pitch (mod 0.8) and work fine with most follow focus systems. All in all a great find which makes my life a bit easier.

THE OSLO JOB – PT. III/III

Stencils

First of all, let me just say that we pulled this one off. There were so many factors in play during this job and time was probably the one at the top. We didn’t really know anything but the sizes off the walls in the restaurant / bar we were hired to paint. Will the establishment be shut down during the paint job? Will there be enough room to cut our stencils? Will our projected stencils work? Do we have time to fix any stencils that are off? Is there time?

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The answer is, there is never enough time, no matter what you do if you’re doing what you love. We began driving up to Norway in a snowstorm early in the morning and arrived in the afternoon. It turned out that Nydalen Bryggeri & Spiseri was expanding and opening up another floor with a dedicated game / hangout /barsection, and this was the area we were painting. What we didn’t know was that we would be sharing it with a crew of carpenters. The electricians would come on Monday, and so would the lights. We were stuck with two portable construction-lights over the weekend. But something is better than nothing right? We dove right in. We cut the stencils lying down on the floor with workers buzzing around us.

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Before we went to bed around 1 am on day one, we had already finished the first wall. It was hard, since we spent half the day in a car focusing on the snowy road, but it was a massive psychological win, and we needed an estimate on how fast we could get a wall done.

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Since living costs are really high in Norway, we planned on eating “real food” once a day at the hotel breakfast (included with our stay). We stuck with the plan and survived on rye-bread, spreadable cheese and protein-puddings which we brought with us from Sweden. Our work nourished us. That, and perhaps a glass of wine or two before bed.

 

We spent three nights in Oslo and didn’t really see anything but floor, walls, ass-cracks and breakfast. In our short stay we worked a total of 43 hours each, and managed to clean up and pack just after midnight on Sunday evening. The sleep we had was dreamless. Mind non-existent. We were dead as doornails before we even hit the pillow each night. Every six hours we would brush our teeth and pretend we were getting ready for a normal days work, to trick the mind that we hadn’t already just worked for six or twelve hours a minute ago.

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Since I snore once in a blue moon, we turned our single room into a double, using the toilet.

And finally, when the last wall was done, it was worth every single second. A few days after coming home we got the feedback; both client and designer are pleased, everything a-ok. Total win. Below are the walls from our final evening in Nydalen.

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Curious about how we prepared for this job? Here are parts I and II of the Oslo job.

Photos by Therese Jarmo.