Thursday, January 27, 2011

'Calling' the Shots

Here's a little video I made for the Nokia N8 Producers Competition.

Shot entirely on a Nokia N8, mostly with an 1950s Bolex lens taped to the front.

More info on the shoot after the jump.
Shooting on a phone provided some interesting challenges and solutions. To keep control of the focus and exposure (both automatic on the N8) I decided to think small and use the old lens for some extreme macro. Usually marco will give you a nice close up of something the size of a golf ball, say. With the lens I used, the marco turned out to be even closer. As you can see in the film, the frame could only really accomodate something the size of a pea.

The Cast/Prop Dept.

To tell this miniature story, I had to run round the house and find as many tiny things as possible. What I ended up with was mostly a selection of toys, magazine cutouts and foodstuffs. So the (basic) storyline developed around these items. Extra things, such as a miniature passport and postcards, had be created in Photoshop and printed out at a tiny scale. Because the macro left no room to focus, for close ups of things like the passport I had to make bigger versions. Kinda the reverse of what they had to do in the early days of cinema, before macro (they would create giant versions of objects, such as a keyhole to imitate a macro shot).

Miniature passport and postcard.

For the point of view of the mouse, I used the phone without the lens and stuck it to the end of a piece of wood. This is where the value of shooting on something as small as a phone really showed. I could get the camera almost level with the floor and run around the house. Because the lens is quite wide angle, it could believably be a mouse's point of view. The phone also allowed long duration shots, which proved very useful. In fact, I shot the entire film without having to 'unload' the phone, and I think there was still hours of space available.

Thanks to the fantastic Chlöe Noonan for the narration, and to the lovely Robyn O'Toole for her help. And particular shout out to Rob Cumiskey, for bringing the competition to my attention. The prize is incredible - a zero gravity trip - so fingers crossed!