HEAT – Niall Griffin’s Mobile Film

My short film is a parody of 1970’s cop films – goofy, action-packed and full of chase scenes. I got my inspiration from the Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’ video, which featured them dashing around in phoney police cars and throwing dummies off of bridges. Exciting stuff.

The film was shot entirely using the iPhone 6s, borrowed from a friend, using its built-in lens for its clarity and stability. I also used the Super 8 app by Nexvio, a recommendation from our lecturers, using the 60’s filter and with chroma distortion effect. This app was actually used in an Award winning film – Searching for Sugar Man, for a couple of shots when the creator couldn’t afford actual film! This gave it the antique look that the low budget films of the time had, making it feel like one of those strange VHS tapes you’d find in your parent’s attic. I even changed the aspect ratio to be 4:3, matching the ratio the cameras had at the time. I spent ages making it as authentically vintage as possible, from choosing the title font to adding a vinyl crackle to the audio.

Naturally, the shoe-string budget kept me from going TOO crazy with props, but a trip to poundland and a can of spray paint gave us some pretty convincing weapons. We also got cheesy moustaches for the cast and a foam baseball bat that really isn’t that soft at all.

I put it all together in Premiere Pro – the footage flowed together so well that I didn’t have to do a whole lot of cutting, and the film fit PERFECTLY into one minute. I used a song by The Rapture called ‘Modern Romance’ for its Lo-Fi feel and funk style rhythm – perfect for my gritty action sequence. I’m dead proud of it and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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A Grand Day Out: In Spite of Better Judgement

“What a weird, yet incredibly well-executed film”-You

Let me explain the film you just watched. After being stuck with writers’ block, I suddenly remembered a joke I made in the assignment briefing. “Don’t film the number 50 or making cups of tea!”  Why not both? I joked but the idea slowly grew on me as I realised how well the film would lend itself to the task. When I found the music track, I had to make it.

The film opens using footage from the 8mm Vintage Camera App by Nexvio. I used this app to mimic all the ‘artsy-fartsy’ hipster films on Vimeo. This was because I wanted the viewer to be misled into thinking it was a serious film, not a parody. I also feel the super 8 look helps hide the tardiness of the mobile footage. Seeing the video in the original High-Definition format makes the viewer less forgiving when it comes to technical errors.

The time-lapse was created using the 8mm app. I did this so that I wasn’t stuck with a certain length clip in the edit. (Pro-tip, by adding a time-lapse to the film if you need to add padding to the piece, you can make it longer. This trick is probably why I passed TV in the first year…) To keep the camera(phone) stable I used my shoulder rig and attached it to the bus seat. This worked with varying degrees of success, I did try hyper lapse apps but due to the limited background movement, they didn’t work as well.img_20170218_155121_01

Speaking of which,  I used the Microsoft Hyperlapse App. This is because I personally feel it does the best job the majority of the time. I also maybe biased as I was a Microsoft Insider Tester for it and the PC software. The reason the app works better is because it analyses the environment, then creates a 3d mesh and projects the image onto it. This allows the software to then view the scene through a virtual camera eliminating any movement from the input media. The only downside is the limited resolution and the fact it adds a watermark on the end of the clip but anyone with a vague understanding of the crop tool can remove this so it’s not really a problem.

The final shot of the film is the most technical and took a night of planning to pull off. I knew I wanted a slow motion shot but I had to work out how to time the action to the music as you can’t speed up gravity. I worked out a number of frames it took each water effect to reach the centre of the frame. Using this knowledge I then created a click track which the performers would follow to sync the effect perfectly. Because I was using the iPhone 6 Plus I had access to 240 frames per second. This is 10x normal speed (for 60Hz electrical grids) which equates to 18 visual frames or just over half a second which would have been near impossible to film. So I elected to film the clip in 240fps but treat it like 120fps this gave the performers 1.5 seconds to do the stunt and then gave me the headroom in the edit to slow the footage down even more after the musical stabs had been hit.

The film was shot solely on the iPhone 6 plus as it has fantastic optical stabilisation meaning that when paired with my shoulder rig, I had reasonably stable shots. I also chose the iPhone as it has a much narrower field of view compared to my OnePlus3T which has an almost fisheye effect to it, this retracted from the super 8mm look.  It also made framing easier as I could also view the 8mm footage live on the iPhone as the app is only available for iOS meaning that I would have had to send the footage from the OnePlus to the iPhone and back.

Apps used:

8mm Vintage Camera:http://8mm.mobi
The best 8mm emulator out there. The Oscars can’t be wrong.
Here is some test footage I shot with it. I was originaly going to use this for my credit scene but apparently running over by 50 seconds was unacceptable.

Hyperlapse:http://tinyurl.com/jedvsb3
Powerful and user-friendly. The only downside is the lack of iOS app

Honourable mentions:

YayCam Retro:http://tinyurl.com/yaycam
Nice features but more expensive and ultimately not as good as the 8mm app. Also kept sending me annoying adverts via notifications. (It’s a sad day when you get more ad notifications then social media ones)

Instagram: https://hyperlapse.instagram.com/
Instagram has it’s only stabilisation app but after my own experimentation, I had a better time with the Microsoft Hyperlapse app. But I would recommend it for Instagramers as it allows for a streamlined workflow.

SloPro:http://sloproapp.com/
SloPro allows iPhone users to simulate shooting at 1000FPS but unfortunately, it’s too good to be true. The app uses frame blending to create the extra frame data needed, this creates very obvious artefacts in the areas in the frame that are moving. It also requires a pro account to remove the watermark. However, it is a great app for messing about with and has provided many a laugh between friends.

So that’s it! You know my trade secrets, so what are yours? Why not comment below?

Fikadax! “Time for coffee!“ Andreas Hammarstrom

FIKADAX! from Andreas Hammarstrom on Vimeo.

Shot in 1080p 60 using – Oneplus 3, Microsoft Hyperlapse, Stop Motion Studio, Smart Recorder

My idea for a mobile phone film came to me only a few minutes after I heard Marianne say something along the lines of “No tea-drinking and no bus-riding”.

The left part of my brain thought – damn. That’s almost precisely what I wanted to do. Impossible. And the right one something along the lines of – that’s NOTHING like my idea, mine’s about MAKING COFFEE and WALKING. Luckily as this module regards CREATIVE media – I decided to listen to the Right (pun intended) part of my brain.

This film is about Sven, a Swede who gets disappointed with his morning coffee, so he decides to venture out on a quest to find the ultimate black gold.

The film is directed at a British viewer; the stereotypes getting played with in the film are very specific to what people from the UK see Swedish people as
[read] There are plenty of other, more funny, and more creative ways of making fun of a Swede [read]

But anyway – who doesn’t love a bit of making fun of oneself.

There’s IKEA in there, there’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, there’s ABBA, and finally the Scandinavian “Velbekomme” café in Chorlton! The place only opened about two weeks ago – lucky eh?
If the people running the café are reading this by any chance I’d like to thank you for your hospitality and your delicious Scandinavian food.

Even though you are Danes…

(For anyone not from Scandi-land – we’ve been at war on and off for about a millennium. The grumpiness persists).

A crucial part of making my film work was that I wanted my friend Callum to play the lead part. Something in my head just found it hilarious that a Welshman is playing a Swede. I also didn’t plan on teaching him the phrases properly, but left it up to his interpretation after I gave him the line once.

Back to the tech-y stuff…

Coming from a sound-background I thought it’d be good to play around with some sound effects. The ABBA song I had a bit of fun with – I ingested the song into ProTools, used a bandwidth-type EQ
– /\ –

to remove almost all the bright frequencies, AND almost all the low frequencies. Leaving only a select few to pass between a bandwidth of approx. 1.5k-5k. After that I added a bit of distortion to symbolise speaker artefacts, and finally a bit of reverb to signify that the song is being played in a room with room tones.

Another quick sound trick I did was record Callum grumpily saying “Helvete”, at the start of the film as Sven is waking up (no need for translation) using the app: Smart Recorder. It worked really smoothly and produced a high quality enough recording for the purpose.

Whilst ABBA is playing out in the background Sven brews himself an unsavoury instant coffee that he ends up spitting out. This part was done as a split screen type edit trick with an almost unnoticeable IKEA-logo in the background. The sequence in turn becomes fullscreen for dramatic effect when Sven takes a sip, and then tracks

him as he spits the coffee out, to finally land at a close-up of Sven saying:
Fan vad jag vill ha en riktig kaffe!
Fortunately subtitled.

The very first idea I had was a stop motion style title sequence. I looked through the available apps and finally landed with Stop Motion Studio. It’s really simple to use and lets the user export with ease without any watermarks. The idea was simple, a top-down shot of the main character writing the titles into a notebook, and then making that look old-timely using the wonders of colour grading.

The whole film was actually colour graded. I applied a simple LUT, made some simple changes so that it would fit the style of the film, and BOOM –
more cinematic-looking footage!
(Or less mobile-phone looking footage, you decide).

Another idea I really wanted to do was an over-the-shoulder style hyperlapse as a way of Sven to get from his house to the café.  I also made it look like Sven magically appears somewhere else: by starting the first hyperlapse from behind a tree, and finishing behind a tree, and finally starting the next hyperlapse shot behind a tree as well! A simple but powerful camera trick that I enjoyed trying out for the first time.

An 80’s style ending – for some reason

The film ends with Sven joyously leaping up in the air, soundtracked (kindly enough) by Journey. Taking direct inspiration from the ending of the 1985 film “The Breakfast Club”. And finally ends with a very 80’s style graphic thanking the artists for the use of their music.

As a conclusion – I feel this assessment has broadened my skills as a filmmaker, and definitely given me new creative techniques to apply to future projects.

Two Birds, One Stone (Dom Kerridge Phone Film)

When I told my wife I had been given the task of making a film with a mobile phone, utilising video editing apps and special techniques, she came up with a brilliant idea. ‘Why not do a time lapse of tidying the kitchen? It will look like you’re doing it super fast’. Only after she had left for work that morning did it dawn on me that she had just tricked me into doing a chore that neither of us wanted to do, but seeing as I didn’t have a better idea  I pressed on. It was very difficult to find any time lapse apps that were any better than the iPhone’s built in function, so this is what I used. As an extra dimension to the piece, I thought it would be neat to include a slow mo of a coffee being made.  I downloaded the app ‘SloMo’ by Beautiful Video Project Inc. and although this did seem to have nicer filters than the iPhone native app, it was considerably jerky, and seeing as I couldn’t pick a frame rate, I assumed it was probably taking less that the 240FPS my iPhone can achieve. This is why most of the coffee clips in my video are taken through the iPhone’s slow motion feature, but a couple are done using the SloMo app for added colour. I also used video filter apps ‘Cromic’ by Lucky Clan and ‘Video Filters’ by Jin Jeon which were able to add filters to the coffee shots I had already taken. I think my favourite setting on Cromic was ‘Gramercy Vintage’ which gave deep earthy tones to the image – it worked so well that I would rename this setting ‘coffee filter’.