How to: Loopable frame by frame animation.

Animation, Film

I’m back in Malmö studying Visual communication again. I took a break for a year (6 months at home with kids, 6 months studying Experimental mediaproduction). One of our startup assignments was to create a loopable 5 – 10 sec animation which can be used as a digital businesscard, or as a creative element in your E-mail signature.

After Effects project footage.

I filmes myself on a rotation chair going around full circle with, and without a rabbits mask. I used a dissolvetransition between the takes and ended up with a loopable video. After that, I simply (actually this is the tedious part), sketched around my face in After Effects with my Wacom Intuos board.

24 frames per second, using the brushtool. On export i ticked the box “paint on transparent” in the Effects panel and job done. I could have easily used 12 FPS instead to save some time but since I painted every frame of the video I got som really nice organic details.

Final export.

The Neural Networks Project – A documentation of binaural soundcapture & immersive theatre.

Audio, DIY-builds and hacks, Film, Projectionmapping

I’m currently taking a six month long course at Malmö Univerity called Experimental Mediaproduction. A week ago me and my group performed the outcome of two weeks hard work. This documentary about the project explains it way better than I do, and I’m sure watching beats reading in this case. I must add that this probably is my favourite project I’ve been involved in since starting my studies in Malmö. If you make it to the end – let me know!

The cinematic Passage-trailer.

Film

This summer I will be documenting two festivals, the ArtstreetHBG graffitifestival, and the Passage street theatre festival. I was lucky to have the same job last summer so I’m really excited about the possibilities for great and unique footage. These last few weeks I’ve been busy creating the PR-videos for the festivals using the material I shot last year. Two of the six videos even made it to the cinema (Röda Kvarn, Helsingborg). This is why I had the chance to play around a bit with the trailerformat for both festivals.

Passagefestival takes place during the 27th July and 4th of August in both Helsingborg and Helsingör and I’ll be responsible for the documentation both here at home and in Denmark. You can view the cinematic Passage-trailer below.

Reanimating dead walls – The secrets behind the ArtstreetHBG-trailer.

Animation, DIY-builds and hacks, Film

A few days ago I handed over three versions of a video I produced for Helsingborg’s Stad. I guess you could call it a trailer of some sort for the upcoming street art festival ArtstreetHBG. The original seed which sparked the idea for this video was the tagline; “Be there when dead walls come back to life”. After weeks of planning, pitching scripts and drawing up a storyboard the idea was given the green light. While my colleagues were busy hunting actors, clearing permits and making sure we had a casket for the shoot, I started creating props and shooting the VFX-footage.

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The plot is quite simple. Mourning humans carrying a casket. All black. Spray cans, which are alive, are watching, wondering if the sorrow will ever end. One of the cans chooses to act. The can gets hurt (looses cap), and causes an accident. The cascet falls, out comes the body. But the body is actually a dead wall (mono-coloured bricks). The spray can brings the wall back to life by giving it colour back. Everyone happy.

I created black flags for drama and a dynamic image. Black smoke to up the drama some more. I chose bamboo-sticks for the flags so that I could hide the smokecharges inside the sticks. I had two sets of bricks, 16 “boring ones”, and 16 “happy ones”, which I painted one afternoon while my kid was asleep. I had some old spray cans in the studio which I banged up quite a bit to make them look really worn and broken. It’s always nice when the hero has some flaws in your story. The stakes are higher that way. I went and got this spinning breakfast-tray from IKEA which I painted green. After that, I started shooting my cans. I wanted them to be able to bend and spin at the same time in my video to make them look as “real” as possible. I could have used a photo of a can, and the PIN-tool in After Effects to get them to bend, but I think the rotating effects really worked well and gave it that extra nudge.

burkar

Shooting rotating cans on greenscreen.

GS-to-real

Final composition after using the Pin-tool. The can which rolls away was brought to set and thrown in front of the camera after giving it some time to fall.

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The shot from above planned out in the storyboard-phase.

After the casket falls we reach a peak in the video. All hope seems lost but of course, it’s not. It never is. The bricks you see during the fall are the normal, unpainted ones. After getting my “misery-shots”, the pile of “dead” bricks was replaced with the coloured ones. All I had to do in post was to duplicate the layer (I made sure to shoot with a tripod of course), mask out the stones and de-saturate the masked out top layer. After this, I could simply keyframe the saturation back (by changing the opacity of my top layer from 100% to 0%), and voila, boring stones are no more. Add a touch of the 80’s and we’re golden.

Stenar

I really enjoy using real, on-set effects where you get the result straight away. I’ve done reverseshots before and this was my go-to plan for the end, when the bricks come to life. I hade the actors throw the bricks into frame twice – so that the shot could be reversed later. I had my multitalented friend Christian walking backwards in frame to sell the effects a bit more.7For the final shot things got a bit more complex. Here I had to shoot a backplate (a clean background of the wall which is blocked by rope and actor in my used shot), and mask out the rope and actor afterwards. It’s not that hard in theory, but on set, with time pressure, it occasionally happens that you forget the backplate. So I made sure to really get that down on the storyboard and shotlist. Here is the original footage for the scenes mentioned before they are reversed and masked. Just look at Christian! Walking like a pro even following the bricks in reverse with his gaze.

OG-FOOTAGE

I’m so happy with the final production and I had a blast shooting it. We shot the whole thing in about two hours (!) and got everything we needed pretty much straight away. Of course I couldn’t have done it without the help of an amazing crew that day (and the days leading up to the shoot). There is a massive credits-list in the end of the video and it shows how much work everyone put in just to create this little bizarre, but lovely video.

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The video will be playing before screenings at cinema Röda Kvarn in Helsingborg, on the big screen at the central station, all over the web and with a little bit of luck, on busses and trains. I’m so excited to see how it will be received now that it’s out after one stressful week of editing. Here it is – enjoy.

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).

SL

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.