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Behind the scenes | A Soldier's Bible

31 January 2022 By Michelle Natte Behind the scenes

During the weekend of the 18th till the 22nd of November, production started of the short film ''A Soldier's Bible''. The short film was set in a military setting and is about a young soldier who's preparing to be sent out, where he hopes to prove to himself that he's a real man. During this training, his focus shifts towards something else, when he is confronted with his sergeant. New feelings originate from both sides, but the odds of being caught are increasingly growing alongside his feelings.

Crew
We are five young and creative filmmakers: Amy Todorovski (Director), Dia Mahmoud (Editor), D’Shard Ellis (Co-Director), Indy Aponno (Sound Designer), Michelle Natte (Producer) whom have developed a short film for and by the LGBTQ Community. It was a challenge for us to visualize the daily dangers members of the LGBTQ Community experience daily. For the best end result we got some reinforcements: Michael Sean as DOP, Gene Gulpen as Camera Operator and Sven Pols as Assistant Camera.

Our main actors were Malcol Jamin and Noa Claassen and supporting roles were Stone van Timmeren and Nerah Dundas. Make Up artist Celine Weyts made sure the faces of the actors looked good. Last but not least, we gave our production assistent Elias Zuegg the task to take beautiful behind the scene photos and videos during the shoot.

Equipment

  1. Blackmagic pocket Cinema Camera 6K with an Easyrig Minimax and Samsung SSD
  2. Tiffen 4x4 filter set (ND.3, ND. 6, ND. 9) and 4x4 Black Pro Mist Filter
  3. 3 Pavolite RGB-tubes
  4. Sigma 18-35 mm and 50-100 mm.
  5. Small HD Bolt Focus wireless video monitor

Location
The location for our film was 'T Driege bivakhuizen in Opoeteren, Belgium. We shot outside the location and inside. The bedrooms and bathrooms were only lit with fluorescent tubes. The RGB-tubes were a real solution for this problem. We were able to easily create sun, moon and mood lighting to give certain scenes an extra touch. To enhance the effect of light we also used a smoke machine.

We used the ND filters to let in less light into the lens to shoot wide open. Besides, we've used the mist filter to create softer highlights. With these mtehods we've tried to create a filmic look.

We used two different lenses. The 18-35mm once, which we mainly used to capture landscape shots, wide shots and medium shots. The other lens (50-100mm) was used for close ups and detail shots.

For our cameraman Gene we rented the Easy Rig Minimax. This was done to quickly switch between flowing camera movements and handheld ''shaky'' footage, without causing too much backache for Gene considering he had to shoot all day with a heavy camera setup.

Our directors were able to have a liveview of all takes without running the risk of ending in frame and allowing our cameraman to freely move because of the wireless monitor setup which was connected to our Blackmagic camera. Checking playback was easy and did not require our cameraman to take of his Easy Rig, allowing for a faster workflow.

Post-Production
By Dia Mahmoud (Editor):

''Because we shot in 4K, I did some research on how to best handle this footage. I had an empty Lacie 2TB harddrive where I stored all the footage. Our D.O.P. also made a back-up in case we ran into some trouble. We made the back-ups on set, which took quite some time.

I own a Macbook Pro 2019 which allowed for smooth editing, but the size of the files were too large, which is why I made proxies. Personally I wanted to work with Adobe Premiere Pro, but because Davinci Resolve is better suited for grading, I made the decision to learn how to use it and ended up editing this short movie in Davinci Resolve.

Our D.O.P. Mike Static has his own editing office where I also went to edit every now and then, because color grading is new to me and he has more knowledge about grading. He was also the person that advised us to make use of Davinci Resolve.

We are currently still in the process of editing scenes and audio. After this I'm planning on color grading the movie with our D.O.P. We've also managed to receive help from a sound designer who will be making a soundtrack for us. To make his process easier, I've already shown him some scenes so he can start working on the soundtrack.''


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