I feel like while many productions are trying to compress more and more content in a single day of shooting, the chances of guessing on the actual set are getting smaller. The problem, however, is that creativity doesn't thrive and pre-visualization is the way for me to combat this behavior and open up the possibility to slowly mature my visions.
Cinematography database: Hey Julius, tell us where you are from and what kind of work you do.
Julius Koivistoinen: Hi there! I am a cameraman from Finland who currently specializes in medium to large television advertising.
My background is in photography, where I started my career as a photojournalist 10 years ago. I had worked on becoming a concept artist before, but after realizing that my imagination for this kind of work was just not vivid enough and that I got my first job as a photographer for a fairly large magazine, I decided at the age of 17 years instead, Path instead.
Cinematographer Julius Koivistoinen
While working on different types of photo commissions, I found that my greatest passion was lighting, and it was really fascinating to me how it felt to manipulate and control light like some kind of invisible liquid. What made me switch to filmmaking is a combination of several factors like story telling, audio, and the way I find films to be the most emotional art form.
What appeals to me the most is the more moody and quiet work. It is always the story that determines the general direction. Now, in the future, I'm looking towards more drama work and finally towards my first feature. Until then, it's about improving my skills, working on spots with a variety of talented directors, and refining my own visual vocabulary.
Directed by Finn Andersson
Production company: Studio Fotonokka
CD: What was the directors' creative vision and concept for Chef & # 39; s Burger?
JK: Finn and I had only worked on a few projects before, so communication and proper preparation were the keys to getting it right. Especially since we had very little time to discuss everything we had in mind for this TV commercial. We imagined this to have a very high sense of energy, and inspiration was taken from American musicals, for example. It was also important to get the feeling that this was happening in a real kitchen environment, which in part contributed a lot to how I set the set on fire.
CD: How was your pre-production process with the director, the art department and the crew?
JK: Pre-production was critical considering how many moving parts we had for what looks like a simple table project. But the fact that the rapid cut planned for the spot meant that we had to cover tons and tons of shots while everything had to look polished at the same time.
So we first derived various ideas such as mood, script, lighting and possible camera movements from each other and then created a plan for our set. After that, it was pretty easy to throw everything we had planned into Cinema 4D thanks to all the assets available in Set Designer.
Technical diagram created with Cine Designer Physical
Communication through pre-visualizations proved to be particularly effective when you consider how my gaffer came up with cool ideas that we probably wouldn't have time to implement if we had left them up to the front light.
CD: Where did you get this beautiful 3D cheeseburger from?
JK: Haha, cheeky of you. Thanks for the cool 3D scan, Matt! I was half jokingly asking you to scan a hamburger since I was preparing for this project. They provided the 3D scanned burger via Set Designer on such short notice that I was able to convey my point of view to the entire team, which was great. This makes a lot more sense than looking at some horrible cylinders and bullets. I would have made up my terrible 3D modeling skills.
Cine design with 3D scanned cheeseburger;
CD: How were the shooting days and what equipment did you use?
JK: We originally planned to do these cute tracking shots with Technodolly, but that would have limited us to a single day of shooting. We recognized the amount of coverage we needed and weighed the pros and cons. In the end, we took a different approach with two days of shooting and a simpler cantilever arm setup, which nevertheless allowed us to work very dynamically. Everything was optimized for a fast shooting speed: The Fisher Dolly on Track and the GFM boom arm together with the Newton S gyro-stabilized head made it possible to reach all possible angles without having to move tripods or the like.
Behind the scenes photo of the final kitchen set and lighting equipment
When it came to lighting, my goal was to achieve the same flexibility by choosing as many LED lights as possible: my Hudson Spider redback unit rocked as the main light, and everything else was built around it to mix daylight and tungsten sources . Mainly DMG Lumière LED units for their form factor, ETC Source Four for sharp edges and control and a 4K Arri M40 HMI for basic ambience. I usually love to simplify things, but here we intentionally combined several types of lights to create the feeling of a real place that is full of different random lights.
Cine design versus final shot
We shot with anamorphic Arri Alexa Mini and Cooke lenses, which mainly work with focal lengths of 50 mm, 75 mm and 100 mm.
Directed by Viivi Huuska
Production company: Mjölk
CD: Tell me about the motif for "Women's Day"
This TV spot was made to celebrate Women's Day. "At night, a group of women broke into a closed retail store and there is a security guard in the security room who watches their actions with great interest." Of course there was no such space in reality, so we had to build, illuminate and shoot this scene in a very limited time frame, so quick action was key. The mood for the scene was pretty open, so it was very helpful to visualize this in advance to sell my view of the lighting and camera angles. This way I can be sure that there is no confusion on the set that could slow us down significantly.
Technical diagram created with Cine Designer Redshift
CD: Did you work with the director and art department to design the blocking and monitor arrangement?
JK: In this case, the information that was made available to me was the specifications of our location by recording during pre-production, rough drawings of the stage set and of course the script. I would say the most important details were the room dimensions, as it helps a ton of camera angles to find that we can actually do that day if we just properly set the distances between the specified walls. If the measurements weren't even a little different, the pre-visualizations would not have been very similar to the final results.
Behind the scenes photo of the final set and lighting
Obviously, the spot is much more than just this scene, but I didn't anticipate it. I do that often and only choose what I can't imagine clearly enough in projects. Therefore, pre-visualization is definitely a tool that I use selectively. The decision depends on the preparation time available and the complexity of the setting we want to include.
Cine Design vs. Final Spot Comparison
CD: How was the shooting day and what equipment did you use?
JK: Let's say I'm glad I deleted the next day in advance from my calendar. The retail store we shot in is one of the largest here and is right in the center of Helsinki. Therefore, taking pictures during the day was not an option. I chose Arri Alexa Mini with Master Prime lenses, which I found to be the perfect combination for this project.
Arri Alexa Mini and Dolly
These lenses allowed an extremely shallow depth of field with a nice round bokeh, but are sharp but not excessive. Let's say Leica Summilux-Cs, although they are fantastic lenses, would be too crispy for my taste and Zeiss Super Speeds too creamy. With Master Primes we really hit the sweet spot here. The lighting was really simple, but it took some time to get this result. Small battery-operated LED panels on the monitors serve as keys and skypanel for hair light. Fortunately, thanks to the preview, choosing the lighting did not result in downtime on the set.
CD: You used both Cine Designer Physical and the newer Redshift version. What do you think of GPU rendering for Cine Design / Previs?
JK: To be honest, GPU rendering now feels like the only way to me. I started making Previs in Blender with my own toolset a few years ago, then switched to Cinema 4D and Cine Designer Physical when it came out and finally got Redshift up and running this year.
Cine Designer creates GPU rendering with Redshift
During this process, my productivity increased significantly step by step. The biggest difference I've found between CPU and GPU rendering so far is the increased number of iterations that I can do in less time. I can create more detailed lighting plans and have a very clear view before I enter the set. Much more than before, the best thing I could have foreseen before losing patience was a nifty guess. This could in turn lead to uncertainties on the set and, in the worst case, fall behind as planned.
Final picture from the trade
Overall, I feel that many productions are trying to compress more and more content in a single day of shooting, but there are fewer and fewer chances of guessing on the actual set. The problem, however, is that creativity does not thrive and pre-visualization is the way for me to fight this behavior and open up the possibility to slowly mature my visions.
CD: Where can people find you and your work online?
JK: I love sharing behind the scenes informative content on my Instagram @julious_dop whenever I can! You can follow me at www.instagram.com/julious_dop.
To see my latest work, you can visit my online portfolio at www.juliuskoivistoinen.com
Thanks a lot!