Shooting Sins – The work behind the camera.

Film

Sins In Vain is a melodic metal band from Sweden and I’ve been friends with some of the members for years now. The band decided to record a cover of Killswitch Engage’s song The end of heartache, as a way to thank them for all the years of inspiration.

Rigging

Christian (guitar) setting up the mic for Lenny (vocals) in the studio.

The band wanted a video which documents the recording process in the studio and I wanted to give it a shot. A full day in the studio, and everything ran smoothly, probably because we all decided and agreed on the look and feel of the video beforehand. We decided to go for a grainy black and white, somewhat faded video, since the word “nostalgia” popped up a lot when I asked the band about their connection with the song. I shot the video in (FLAT) colour just in case the black and white feel would be a disaster and so I had to prep for this before hitting REC. The studio is very rustic and has a nice homely feel to it so I went with warm lights and tones. The point of the video was to show the love and respect Sins In Vain all have for the cover they were about to record. If I wanted them to look hard as hell and stone cold, I would have gone with a more blue and cold setup. But remember, black and white was always the main goal for the video, the decisions with the colourtemp was just precautionary planning.

Hey ho let's go!

Anders, Christian, Lenny and Jens toasting while Tommy is off rigging his drums.

A cosy studio usually comes with a lot of extra stuff (this one came with a rocking horse attached to the ceiling), and stuff casts shadows. Lighting the studio was a bit tricky so I often directed my redheads away from the subject, bouncing the 800W light off the ceiling instead. This way I eliminated many of the shadows which would have caused some confusion in the shots. I used vintage constructionlights to separate the subjects a bit from the background, and to add some quality to the cosy atmosphere I was going for. I didn’t use any makeup on the band because I wanted to capture the process in a raw and natural way. Some may argue that one should always use powder on subjects while working with hot lights, some don’t. We went raw and I personally think it adds to the “realness” of the video.

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A quick walk-through of the lighting approach used for this video.

The video was shoot with my trusty Canon 700D and I alternated between two prime lenses. The classic 50mm f1.8 and my latest addition, 24mm f2.8. The 24mm lens gives you a shot which is close to what you see from your own point of view  so composing your shot is quite easy since you kind of get, “what you see” from where you stand. The 50mm brings you closer as you probably know and is great for more emotional closeups. I kept the shots stable and consistent always using a tripod or a 60 cm slider. Not going handheld forced me to focus on creating a good composition before each take, keeping the rule of thirds in mind whenever possible. I did shoot some handheld B-roll I labeled “goofing around in the studio”. The plan was to let these images slip into the video towards the end, but while editing it just didn’t match the overall feel I was going for. Instead I used some of those shots in the intro for the video accompanied by sounds captured while setting everything up.

Setup

The Canon 700D running on the Magic Lantern firmware with matte-box and a 50mm f1.8 prime lens. Videotripod with fluid head for smooth tilting while filming.

The camera was running on Magic Lanterns firmware. This enabled me to view the shots with bars. I love shooting with bars. They are not permanent but it’s another safety when it comes to editing. You compose your image to match the bars but they’re not there on the actual footage. When you add bars in post you have more control over the image and are able to reframe your footage. Before Magic Lantern (which also lets you shoot in RAW if you wish) I used masking tape on the viewfinder where I wanted the bars.

I’m not going to write a full report on how I edited the video but I had lots of footage to choose from. I shot three takes of each member (Wide tripod / Close tripod / Slider) except Tommy on the drums who got two extra slider-takes to capture the footwork from both directions. The video drops on Valentines day, but until then you can watch the three promo videos below which I put together for the bands Instagram.

Curious about the music? Listen to Sins In Vain on Spotify

Make your portraits stand out.

Photography, Photoshop

Yesterday I tried a new approach to facial lighting while shooting portraits. I wanted to bring out the beast in my model so I decided to give scissorlighting a shot, and I think it turned out great. This is not a standard approach when it comes to setting up your lights but in this case I think it worked quite well. For this technique you’ll need two sources of hard light, I used my 800W redheads. The photo was shot with a Canon 700D using the 50mm f1.8 lens (wide open) and a .3 ND filter.

The idea is to shine the light on the sides of the face, slightly from the back of your model. The model is placed in the center where the two lights cross. Here’s a sketch:

saxaskiss

I shot my portraits in RAW so I had a lot of wiggle room in Photoshop. Which light setup is your favourite when lighting for portraits? Drop me a comment – I’d love to know.

Model Marcus Witold Piorkowski is a talented musician and filmmaker. You can check out his portfolio here and listen to his music on Spotify.

Sins in Vain – The portraits.

Photography, Photoshop

Last weekend I spent my the entire saturday shooting a video for the local metal band Sins in vain. They were recording a cover song and wanted the process to be documented so at the beginning of 2018 I’ll hopefully be done with the editing. I also snapped some photos of the band and here are some portraits I took towards the end of the day. It was a simple setup against a noticeboard with a quick Rembrandtlighting using a 800w redhead.

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 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.

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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.