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.

4

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.

5

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Grandma sticks it to the man.

Photography

One of the photos I took of my grandma during the #ArtstreetHbg festival earlier this summer ended up in print again. This time, in the cute little folder about Kulturveckan which kicks off in November. The theme will be “freedom”, and it’s kind of nice to have my grandma in there on page one since she grew up in what was eastern Germany  for some time. In a way, this photo makes me feel like she finally got to stick it to the man, in a weird roundabout way. Graffiti and street art is all about freedom and bending of rules and conventions, so I think this photo was a good choice for representing freedom. And I’m happy for myself to of course. It’s always nice to see your photos end up in print.

3 intro2 bokcov

The Tim Timmey interview.

Film

I’ve known Tim for quite some time. We grew up in the same area in the 90’s and were both into skateboarding, rollerblading and streetart. Even if we never really hung out (Tim’s a bit older than me and was always better at the above mentioned activities) I enjoyed being around him when we happened to be in the same spots.

In early 2000 we sometimes bumped into each other at parties of mutual friends. He’s always been there in some weird roundabout way and I’ve always looked up to him – he’s just a cool, playful really nice guy.

When I found out he was going to paint one of the big walls for ArtstreetHbg I was quite excited to be able to watch him paint again and it reminded me about my early teenage years. Tim was the artist I spent the most time documenting and we had some really nice days together, him painting, me shooting him. Below is a short bonusvideo from the second day of the festival of Tim working away on his mural.

Due to timepressure, this interview sadly never got any English subtitles. Sorry ’bout that.

This interview was made for the ArtstreetHBG project and if you’re interested in how I set up and planned the whole interview (tech-wise and editing) you can read about it here.

If you find Tim to be just as interesting as I do, give him a follow on his instagram.

The Levi Jacobs interview.

Film

Levi Jacobs is a Dutch illustrator who started out as a graffitiwriter. The anonymity you get when you’re out at night writing graffiti suited him well since he felt a bit insecure about his artwork as a kid, and that his drawings was something he wanted to keep for himself. But at the same time he dreamt about turning his passion for art into a paying job. He kept going and now he’s doing what he loves for a living.

This interview was made for the ArtstreetHBG project and if you’re interested in how I set up and planned the whole interview (tech-wise and editing) you can read about it here.

Festivalphotography – The golden moments.

Photography, Photoshop

When I documented the ArtstreetHBG streetartfestival I mainly shot film. But sometimes I did actally turn the wheel on my Canon from video to photography and ended up with a few shots I really came to like. These are some of my favourites.

The Ilse Weisfelt interview. 

Film

Ilse Weisfelt is a Dutch illustrator who also paints massive murals since her graphic shapes and clean style works well on a large scale. This interview was made for the ArtstreetHBG project and if you’re interested in how I set up and planned the whole interview (tech-wise and editing) you can read about it here

How I set up the Jimmy Skize interview.

DIY-builds and hacks, Film

This interview was made for the municipality of Helsingborg and their streetart festival “ArtstreetHBG”.

Jimmy Skize is a graffiti-veteran who fell in love with graffiti in when the documentary Style Wars came out. He’s been involved in the art form ever since. This means he was painting when I still walked around in nappies. The interview is in Swedish and sadly I never got around to subtitle it. I’ve got four more interviews like this coming up and three of them will be in English.

So how did I set this up?

  • Canon 700D
  • Canon compact video camera
  • Redhead 800W Cinelight
  • RØDE videomic pro
  • Vintage construction-light
  • DIY cameraslider

IMG-20170723-WA0005

I had one camera on each side of my subject; one close up and one a bit further away. I positioned myself in the middle of these to make sure the subject wasn’t looking into any of the cameras. I used the construction-light behind my subject to separate him from the background a bit, and then I went for a Rembrandt-lighting with my 800w (45 degree angles from the subject X, Y, Z until the little triangle appears under the eye of the shaded half of the face).

I kept the interview kind of loose, like a conversation, but where I mainly nodded and smiled a lot instead of answering (since I cut my part of the chat out completely). I knew I was going to do these interviews, so during the festival I made sure I had some footage of each artist to edit into the interview. Also, I usually try to cut between cameras when I edit as my subject blinks. The closer camera is good to use for a bit of impact when it gets a bit more emotional or personal.

Since there would be a difference in picture quality using two different cameras, I planned to make the footage of the lesser camera black and white and add a vintage feel to it. That’s why I brought my old Super-8 camera to the studio and created a little intro for these interviews. It motivates the black and white, cropped, vintage footage a bit more. I used my slider and stabilized the footage with Premieres Warp Stabilizer and quite easily masked the lens where the text appears.

IMG_20170724_112459

The Super-8 camera (a RICOH SUPER-8) was never used for anything else than looking fly in the intro and to justify the look of the Canon compact videocamera.

Finally I took some portraits with my DSLR before letting my subject go since I had everything set up. These photos where later used as cover images for the videos, and for the bio-page of each artist.

Each interview went on for 25 minutes and was edited down to about 4 minutes. The intro was used in every interview and all I had to do was to change the name in the end for each artist.

Coming up during next week are: Ilse Weisfelt, Tim Timmey, Levi Jacobs and Spidertag.