How did you come up with the idea for your cinemagraph film, #WOKEUPLIKETHIS?
My dreams are often quite vivid and crazy. Sometimes I write them down when I wake up, which is how #WOKEUPLIKETHIS was born.
I woke up with a really clear picture in mind of a man in a dark forest, wearing nothing more than his underpants (the typical ones your grandfather wears), while holding a burning hooligan emergency flare.
About a few days later, when a job abroad was cancelled just before the flight, I knew I had to do something with the free days that emerged. I always wanted to see how a video-edit of cinemagraphs would look like, so I wrote a very short script around that single image in my head and started producing the shoot.
The dark forest was easy, the old TV wasn’t such a big problem either, but where could I find a guy who was willing to run around in only his undies while playing around with emergency flares?
Christopher de Gast performs as a dancer in the Amsterdam dance-scene wearing lots of crazy outfits so when I asked him and told him about my plans he said: let’s do it.
Why did you choose cinemagraphs instead of traditional video? How did they help to highlight/ accentuate the story?
I’m absolutely in love with the visual aspect of cinemagraphs. The subtle movement can be hypnotizing and that eery feeling was exactly what I needed for this project.
When you “freeze” everything that is unimportant, the focus is purely there where the movement is. I wanted to create a series of cinemagraphs that are stand-alone and can be watched or read like a comic book, but combined they tell a bigger story.
Explain your creative process. How did you take this idea and turn it into reality? WARNING: nerd alert!
Planning the whole thing was actually quite easy. A friend told me about the dark forest where branches are covered with moss. Together with a vintage TV, twelve emergency flares and two fire extinguishers, Christopher and I drove there.
From experience I know that shooting cinemagraphs can take some time, so I storyboarded the short story and took the script with me to make sure we could shoot it in a single afternoon.
Here is some info for the techies under us:
I shot everything on a Sony FS7, using Zeiss glass. I knew I wanted to make the final images dark and blue, so I shot the whole sequence on 3200K (thungsten) making the whole forest dark blue. The bright red flare created a nice contrast.
Besides the available light I used a bright LED light (Nila Varsa) which can can be spotted and operate on batteries. Because of this light I could under-expose the rest of the scene making the forest look really creepy. I also used a red gelled Icelight to imitate the light of the red flare when it was not in the shot.
Back home it took me quite some time to make the tv look anything close to convincing and make it look like it was actually on. I’m not an After Effects wizard, so youtube was my biggest friend during those days. I made all the seamless loops in Cinemagraph Pro (for the wide shot with all the tv’s I created multiple loops). I edited in Premiere Pro and graded with the great Lumitri feature, using LUT’s from Dlutz. Everything was shot in 2K so I could zoom and rotate within a HD frame to make it all a bit more dynamic.
Any tips/advice for creators looking to make a cinemagraph film?
A good working video-edit is based on not only a storyline, but also on shots that work well together. Two similar shots behind each other in an edit may not work well. Best is to change your angle of shooting and change framing to make a flowing edit. Closeup, medium, wide, medium, close…and so on makes it easier to watch.
I guess the best piece of advice I can give is to actually get out there and shoot! At this moment I’m finalizing the script of my second short cinemagraph video. I hope more people will combine the mesmerizing quality of cinemagraphs into a video, curious what you all come up with!