THUNDER SON

Concepting and created a short narrative film about electricity.

 


Constraints are your friend.

And we had major constraints. My friend Scott (http://scotthalwes.com) – who acted in the short was only in town for a weekend. So we literally spent a few hours shooting and even less time creating a concept. I scrolled through my idea folder in evernote and I’d collected a lot of electrical images the past few weeks. We ran with it.

Start shooting something.

We spent around twenty minutes thinking about a concept. Finally we decided on a man who could manipulate / control electricity. From there we wanted him to start experimenting with it first before going after the big shots.

The first hour was spent shooting Scott in my house collecting equipment and “running experiments” on himself. We thought this would be a sweet precursor to the cloud/rooftop shots we had planned out.

I shot as much as I could and directed Scott in any way I could. I decided that I would craft the narrative in post-production.

Equipment was light and efficient.

I shot everything on my GH2 w/ a Sigma 30mm lense. I also used a Glidecam HD-1000 for all of the shots. This enabled me to move in and out super quickly and get a variety of shots quickly.

For lighting I used natural / available light to my advantage. I used some posterboard to fill during some shots, but even that was minimal.

Post-Production Storyline.

Once I got into premiere with my footage I knew I could start crafting the story and fine-tuning it. I decided on doing a non-linear film. Especially because I wanted to end with the eye opening shot. So the film starts with a storm coming. Then cuts to Scott passed out with a rag in his mouth. Then moves into experimenting. It climaxes in the middle at his experiment at home (shocking himself). Then it proceeds to build again with him going to try and manipulate the big storm itself. Finally it end on a shot of him post experiment – passed out. His eyes open and it reveals his experiment was successful – he could manipulate / control electricity (which explains why he went to take on the storm).

French trumps English.

I decided to use a VO to help the narrative move along. I wanted to use two pieces for the edit. The first being a phone message, and the second being a weather report (to explain the storm). I decided to use French because it’s easier to make it sound dramatic than English (english can sound cheesy). So I actually had my girlfriend Jenève Dubé read the weather report. Then I hired a French speaker on Fivver to read the voicemail. I didn’t need great sound quality because it was a phone message – so fivver worked out great!

Sound Design.

I added a lot of sound-design in this but kept it subtle. The storm clouds and sirens are their to compliment and create tension (which I think turned out excellent). This project made me realize how much sound can pull you into the experience. So I’ve gained a new respect for foley artists!

Color tied the feel together.

I went pretty dark and gritty with this one. I desaturated the color a lot and added a lot of grain. I also raised the shadows and lowered the highlights. I used basic curves and the HSL tool to create the grade. I hope to write a blog post on my color process with this on in a bit!

Tools: Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Logic