What’s the story?

Three words that I saw on the back of a bus while driving yesterday. I think it was an ad for a radio station or something, but it got me thinking.

These three words are super important, and something I should keep asking myself all the time when working on a project. Does my choices serve the story? It can be framing, camera movement, colour, music, a cut in the edit. All of this plays a part of highlighting the most important aspect of my film: the story.

That’s all I had to say for today. What are some choices you have made to tell or highlight the story when working on a project? Would love to hear some examples in the comments.

– Morten

Locked – Short – BTS

Locked from Morten Furre on Vimeo.

I really had a great time working on this short film. The idea came out of one of my house mates locking his key in his car. As any good film maker, I took advantage of the hilarious situation and made it into a short film. It worked out well, because my final assignment of the year was to shoot a scene that had most focus on the dialogue. This also gave me an opportunity to practice writing dialogue in general, and shoot in a way that told the story the best way possible.

One of the great things that I learned in the process was that having good actors is key. Both of my actors, Abby and Stennar, did an amazing job of rolling with the script, taking directions where needed and bringing the crucial natural aspect into the short. Their performance ended up being golden, leaving me with an easy job for the edit.

The other thing I learned and put a lot of thought into was the lighting and time of day I choose to shoot. I didn’t want to have any extra lights or even reflectors, but only go with what I had available. So I chose to shoot in the afternoon, and also in the shade, getting that nice and soft light.

To get into the technical side of things, I always like to challenge myself to use mostly the gear that I own myself. The whole short is shot on my beloved Canon 550D, using two prime lenses: Canon 50mm f1.4 (which I own) and a Canon 28mm f1.8 (which I borrowed from my friend Catrina, who also was my ‘soundie’). I have to say, I loved using the 28mm. On the 550, it really gave me that nice wide shot, the important two-shot of my actors and it still had the nice depth of field and quality to it. I used the 50mm on the Over-The-Shoulder shots, and close ups, which ended up looking really nice.

It’s funny, because for a long time I really didn’t like to use my 550d. I really wanted a new camera because I felt that the images I got from it was just horrible. But after learning to work around it’s weaknesses, and adding some sharpness/colour grading in post, I am getting more and more satisfied with the result that it produces.

Editing was a really fun experience as well. I tried to work even harder on timing the music and using it to back up the story and situation as it was unfolding. It didn’t get to advanced, but I just made some simple choices of having it start and stop at certain times. I also used DaVinci for the first time for colour grading. I’d been playing around with it before, but this time I actually did the whole correction and the grade in it. I really like DaVinci. As of now, it’s probably the best colour grading program out there for free, and the possibilities it gives is just amazing. The only thing that is annoying is the workflow from it to Premiere. But it’s easy enough to learn, so I would highly recommend it!

Well, that’s all I have to say. If you have any questions or comments on the film, please let me know! Would love to hear some feedback and thoughts on it.

– Morten

*Facepalm*

Have you ever felt super organised when working on a project? You have total control over all the files, the music and graphic elements. “Everything is fine”! Yeah, I thought so too, then I opened one of my projects from 6 months ago, and I wanted to punch myself.

I work for a cycling company, and recently I have been needing to go through some of my old projects to find and re-export a couple of the first videos I made for them. I thought my adventure into my old project files would be a quick walk in the park, but it turned out to be an expedition into the depts of the Amazon jungle.

It’s weird how you can live in chaos and think that everything is fine. If I remember correctly, I didn’t think I was that unorganised when I first started working on those projects. Now on the other hand, it feels like I’m a stranger visiting someones messy home (we’ve all been there), and thinking: how did I even put up with this?

What’s funny is that I’ve always considered myself as a fairly organised, but maybe I am more of a creative minded person than I thought I was. At least I have learnt something from this. And it made me re-think how I label and organise my projects, so that in the future I’ll be wanting to give myself a hug instead of a punch. Also, not only is being organised important for your own benefit, but especially when working with other people. If you bring your mess into a project, people are going to pull their hair out because of you.

Here is a couple of the things I do:
1. Label exports with date, time and proper description.
I learnt this from my friend when we were working on an ad that we exported countless version for people to look at and give their input. It usually looks like this: year/month/date/time/name. (Example: 2015-04-28-1000-BlogPost. Important! Remember to use a 24 hour clock.)┬áThis way, the newest version is always on the bottom of the list in my folder and it’s easy to share with other people.

2. Folders, folders, folders
Inside my projects, I’ve been starting to make way more folders. And folders inside those folders. Obviously they have to be labelled properly, but at least I don’t have to look through a list of endless files.

Do you have any horror-stories like this? Or are you the organised type person who has everything under control? I would love to hear some stories, and even some tips on how you organise your files, because believe me, I need to learn it!

– Morten