Doritos Commercial

We decided to take a crack at the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest. Had a blast working with the hosts of Late Night at the Plaza, Logan Cameron and Kyle Lovstrom. Karlee McTavish (show runner) helped on set keep these guys in line.

Please check out our submission and wish us luck. There are a ton of entries. It is international after all. 

https://crashthesuperbowl.doritos.com/gallery/submission/4024?share=true%3Fshare%3Dtrue

Some storyboards from the shoot quickly done by me on my phone. Threw in the final result too for comparison. 

-Chris

 

 

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New Music Video by Kivanc Kilicer

New Music Video!

 

Remember the Tokyo music video, made using Chris's forest tutorial? Well, here is another music video based on the same tutorial, this time from Istanbul! 

 

"I am Kivanc Kilicer, songwriter, musician and 3d compositor. I am an Element 3d expert like you. With your permission, I have used your Forest scene and created a music video. Thank you for your support, without your tutorial and file, this video would not take place."

 

Thank you, Kivanc, for letting us know about your creative use of Chris's tutorial and files! It's very cool. You can find more of Kivanc's music here!

 

-Elisa

Late Night at the Plaza

Karlee and Kyle's artist friends made some stand-ins to fill the audience just in case attendance is slim.

Karlee and Kyle's artist friends made some stand-ins to fill the audience just in case attendance is slim.

Two weeks ago Chris got a phone call from a girl named Karlee, asking if he wanted to be on her talk show at the Plaza to talk about filmmaking. 

About a year ago, Chris and I were at Sam's bar downtown, where Chris got talking with the bartender, showed him a video, and gave him a business card. It turns out the bartender was Kyle, Karlee's boyfriend. Karlee's a filmmaker, Kyle is a writer and co-host on their talk show along with co-host Logan, and a whole bunch of their friends help them with sound, lighting, and projection.

Late Night at the Plaza has been running for about 10 weeks, every Wednesday night at midnight at the Plaza theatre in downtown Calgary, hosted by Logan and Kyle. Logan's the man behind the desk while Kyle sits in a corner wearing a bathrobe and eating popcorn. They make satirical remarks about the week's news and propose movies they want to see, like Jackie Chan as Bruce Lee, or Herbie The Love Bug and Stephen King's Christine in a romantic comedy gone sour. They also show videos of Kyle interviewing Calgarians on the street (like sneaking into Calgary Folkfest and asking people funny questions), have a segment called "Dusty's Sandwich" where a blindfolded audience member must eat a sandwich and identify the ingredients, have musical guests on the stage (Steve Evanik was this week's singer/songwriter), and interview guests. Logan also performed, alongside Steve, an amazingly fast paced rap song he wrote. 

Chris and I were the guests last week! We got to have our demo reel and some of our short films shown on the Plaza's big screen, then got to talk about our process as filmmakers, as well as answer burning questions such as, "If you had to eat a shaker full of pepper or a shaker full of salt, which would you eat?"

Karlee, Kyle, Logan, and their friends have additional plans for their own feature films. We look forward to collaborating with them, and we hope to have them help us out on our own features! They were a very cool group of people.

 

-Elisa

Big Rock Beer Appropriateness Guide

Big Rock Beer holds an annual commercial contest called The Eddies. We decided to make an entry based on when Big Rock is and is not appropriate. This was the most collaborative project we've made to date. We went to various locations and brought our gear with us, which used to be a huge pain because our softboxes are tough to pack around; now that we have portable LEDs, that's no longer an issue. With any luck, we'll win, but regardless, we're very happy with the results!

A big thank you to our actors: Laura Allen, Harry Papavlasopoulos, Joel McGregor, Jon Medd, Aaron Fransen, and special thanks to Justin Masson, who played a role and also provided an excellent voiceover.

Also thanks to the Costume Shoppe for providing the alien hands props!


BIG ROCK APPROPRIATENESS GUIDE

Vampire Skit
Woman in White - Laura Allen
Dracula - Harry Papavlasopoulos

Soldier Skit
Soldier - Joel McGregor
Mime - Elisa Friesen

Bond Skit
Bond - Justin Masson
Waiter - Chris Friesen
Goldfinger - Chris Friesen

Driving Skit
Driver - Elisa Friesen

Ninja Skit
Black Ninja - Elisa Friesen
White Ninja - Chris Friesen

Alien Chicks Pickup Skit
Guy - Chris Friesen
3 Alien Chicks - Elisa Friesen

Office Skit
Office Employee - Jon Medd
Office Boss - Aaron Fransen

Voice Over
Justin Masson



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YN600 & YN300 Product Review

We recently purchased some Yongnuo LEDs from Strobepro.com's showroom in Calgary.  We were looking for more portable options than our current softbox and halogen setup. These compact little lights are really impressive; check out our review and test footage!

 

 

Tokyo Music Video and 3D Environment

Chris built a forest environment for an Element 3D forest tutorial, then posted the project files for others to use. He only asked that people let him know, if they made use of the project files, to show him what they came up with. Tur Ner from Tokyo made this music video. It's neat to know that people on the other side of the world are using the same software to build cool things.

-Elisa

Bran Muffins: A Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Movie

We wanted to film inside a vehicle with virtual rain, and we wanted to film with our sexy, sexy new Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 lens.

For this project, we got filmmaker Harry Papavlosopoulos of SWG Films and actress Laura Allen to help us out. 

We set up our portable green screen inside our garage, but it's February in Okotoks, so it was still freaking cold. You can see Laura's and my breath in a lot of the shots. 

The Sigma 18-35 F 1.8 shows its clarity and sharpness in the movie. Laura is blonde, and blonde hair is usually harder to key, but we were able to keep an impressive amount of detail. Harry happened to bring his Black Magic Pocket Cinema camera, which we've never used before. He shot a couple of additional angles and we used one shot for the opening closeup of Laura.  For audio we're using a Rode shotgun NTG-2 mic plugged into the Zoom H4N.

Here's the storyboard we used to set up the shots. I drew this using the SketchBook for Galaxy app in my Note 3.

And no, I didn't.

-Elisa

The Wizard of Lights + Behind the Scenes

Chris came up with a idea featuring a realistic-looking wizard lighting up a town. He had several tricks he wanted to use to achieve an expensive cinematic look using only footage taken in front of the green screen in our basement. One shot I found particularly impressive was a fake crane swoop around our wizard on top of a building. To pull this off, Chris simply had our wizard, Aaron, slowly turn in a circle while the camera was locked off. Chris then built the moving environment around him. Watch the behind-the-scenes portion of the video linked above to see what I mean!

To plan the lighting and angles, we storyboarded, then Chris created a pre-visualized sequence.

When we started putting the pieces together for this video, we couldn't find a pre-made robe we liked, so I sewed one myself using dimly-remembered home ec skills from junior high and Simplicity pattern 9887 (sadly it's discontinued, but you can still find the pattern on ebay).

After building the robe, we started testing makeup.

Beard test on me (because Chris didn't want to  get spirit gum in his actual facial hair), then old age test on Chris, then both techniques combined on our actor, Aaron.

Beard test on me (because Chris didn't want to  get spirit gum in his actual facial hair), then old age test on Chris, then both techniques combined on our actor, Aaron.

A friend of ours, Aaron Fransen, volunteered to be the wizard. We aged him with old man makeup techniques using a Youtube tutorial by Petrilude, and we stuck a crepe hair beard on him. When using crepe hair and spirit gum, spend a few extra bucks for good supplies. We used cheap Halloween shop stuff, and while we we got an acceptable result, it would have been a lot easier with higher quality gum. The crepe hair, at least, was decent: Graftobian, from The Costume Shoppe in Calgary.

This was different from our usual horror stuff, and a lot of work, but still a lot of fun.

-Elisa 

Breakdown Lane

Chris digitally added the text.

Chris digitally added the text.

September/October 2013: I was browsing the r/calgary subreddit on a Thursday night and saw a request for a DP for pickup shots for indie zombie film Breakdown Lane. Chris and I passed on our Edmonton Expo tickets to a couple of friends, then headed to Drumheller.

Bob Schultz was the writer and first-time director, with Signe Olynyk producing. Bob and Signe have already made a feature, Below Zero. This very accomplished partnership runs PitchFest in the US and Canada, has a film company, Twilight Pictures, and was a pleasure to work with.

Right to left: cameraman/ninja Jon Samadopolis, writer/director Bob Schultz, stand-in Connie, PA Kyler Kotyk, DP Harry Papavlosopoulos, DP Chris Friesen. And a zombie hiding under the car.

Right to left: cameraman/ninja Jon Samadopolis, writer/director Bob Schultz, stand-in Connie, PA Kyler Kotyk, DP Harry Papavlosopoulos, DP Chris Friesen. And a zombie hiding under the car.

A second team of DPs were there for Friday and Sunday, but not Saturday: Harry Papavlosopoulos and Jon Samadopolis. They have their own film company, Sitting With Giants. The two of them are nothing short of awesome and I really hope we're able to work with them again soon.

DP Harry is standing behind Chris, additional cameraman Jon is standing behind me. Seated to the right is writer/director Bob Schultz, and walking into frame is makeup artist Ashley Godick.

DP Harry is standing behind Chris, additional cameraman Jon is standing behind me. Seated to the right is writer/director Bob Schultz, and walking into frame is makeup artist Ashley Godick.

Kesar Lacroix was running key makeup, with Dan Doherty, Katt Panic and Ashley Godick assisting. We rarely work with practical effects, since Chris does the bulk of our effects digitally. Everyone on the effects team was excellent.

A beautiful example of some of the effects team's work.

A beautiful example of some of the effects team's work.

We were missing a few key ingredients due to scheduling conflicts: the star, Whitney Moore, the vehicle (Breakdown Lane is about a woman and her car during the zombie apocalypse), the original DP, and most of the original camera equipment. We ran on a rented Canon 5D, and Harry and Chris's cameras, filters and monopod.

Our stand-in, Connie, had to be shot from behind or without her face in frame, and when her head was in shot, she needed to wear a blonde wig. She's also a couple inches taller than the original actress. I didn't think this was a big deal until I watched her force her feet into the original actresses' shoes, which were a couple sizes smaller and probably really painful.

Outside: our stand-in's actual shoes. Inside: the shoes she had to wear.

Outside: our stand-in's actual shoes. Inside: the shoes she had to wear.

There were zombie kills and wolfdogs on Friday, then nothing but kill after gruesome kill on Saturday and Sunday. We managed to wrap everything by Sunday night, which was a miracle considering the pace of the shoot and the limitations we were working with.

Wolfdogs.

Wolfdogs.

I'm looking forward to seeing the final film! Read Bob's script, see the trailer, and check out Breakdown Lane!


-Elisa