Lights Film School Online recently had the opportunity to speak with Kristof Brandl who shot the atmospheric short film “POP LE CHEVAL” on the Canon 60D. The film acted as sort of a cinematic exercise for Kris to shoot the things he found pleasing to the eye. He then then tied it all together with beautiful editing, complimentary sound design and he enhanced its cinematic appeal by using a film grain effect from Cinegrain. Kris’s film and interview can be found below.
Hello Kris and thank you for taking the time to talk with the Lights Film School community about your most recent project “POP LE CHEVAL”. First of all, can you tell me what inspired this project?
First off, thanks for this interview! I’m really happy that people liked my first project. However, I didn’t really have any inspiration for this little film… Maybe that is why this video came out the way it did. We shot everything that passed through our minds. I set a meeting with each of my friends to discuss the project and then we would go to the location. From there we would just improvise everything.
You shot this short film on the Canon 60D. Can you tell me about your decision to shoot on that camera?
The Canon 60D is the only camera I have access to. I didn’t have the budjet to rent anything else. Anyway, i like this camera and the images came out pretty much the way I wanted them to.
Yes, the images are spectacular. Montreal provided a great backdrop for this short piece. I’ve noticed a few amazing films coming out of Montreal recently (Monsieur Lazhar, Cafe de Flore, Heartbeats). Do you find that your city provides you a lot of creative support and inspiration?
Yes, for sure! Montreal inspire me to do weird things. People here are Stylish and that’s what I was looking for in “POP LE CHEVAL”.
What assortment of lenses did you use for this film?
The lens I mostly used was a Canon 35mm f2.0. I used a Canon 100mm as well, but only for a couple of shots.
What lenses are you using at 2:09 and 2:11 (above)?
At 2:09 and 2:11 I was using the Canon 100mm lens.
What lens are you using to shoot indoor shots at 3:39 (above)?
At 3:39 I was using the a Canon 35mm lens.
I noticed that you have a very atmospheric, sometimes even nostalgic feel to many of your shots. I know you used a grain called “light dirt and scratches” from the Cinegrain pack. I’ve also noticed that a lot of people commenting on your Vimeo page really loved the cinematic impact using that filter had on your final cut. It’s very subtle (which is not common for many of these types of “film look” filters) and it registers more on the edge of our consciousness. I really liked that effect a lot.
I get an impression that you really love set design and wardrobe design (See shot 3:32 above). Did you work with designers on this project or did you come up with all of the design ideas yourself?
No i didn’t work with any stylist. I just told the actors what I wanted them to look like. And for the paint shot I just spashed her with paint. It was pretty fun!
One of the things I loved most about this piece was your ability to take advantage of natural lighting. Did you use studio lights to light any of your scenes or is this all shot using only natural lighting?
No unfortunately I’m not really good with lights. The lights I have access to are crap (construction lights). So everything is naturally lit in this film.
When you’re using natural lighting can you tell me more about what you look for in terms of the sun’s position and how it interacts and relates to your environment and your characters?
I love to shoot differents ways. At 1:17 the sun was behind the character but overall I don’t think I have a preference. I just look to see if it looks good to my eye. If it does, I just start shooting.
I bring this up because you have another short vignette entitled “Gem Gem Club” where you have a character walking around just as the sun is coming up. I get the feeling that you really like shooting during this time of day. Can you explain your preference for this type of lighting?
I love to wake-up at 5 o’clock in the morning to shoot. Like I always say in french: “Les petites fourmis sont a l’oeuvre”. That means we are waking early and working hard to get the sunrise. I love knowing that I’m working when every one of my freinds is still sleeping. And I feel good to know that nobody at 5am i going to disturb me. So then I can just concentrate and have more time to set up my shots. If you want, you can watch “Gem Gem Club” here:
The sound design and music of POP LE CHEVAL is amazing. Who did the sound design work for you? How long did it take you to design the sound for this piece? Who did the music for the film?
The music was all made by my freind Micheal Berlangieri. We met when I started working on POP LE CHEVAL and then he told me that he was a musician. So we started discussing the idea about creating a track for the film… and what you hear is the track he created! I really love it, but I dont really know how long it took him to do it.
The speech was made by a freind of mine. His name is Markett Bjergunsen from the music group Pelican Hoax. He also did the voice at the beginning.
How long from start to finish did it take you to shoot POP LE CHEVAL?
Overall it took a couple of months because there was a lot of different people involved in the project.
How long did it take you to edit?
The edit was the hard part because there was so much footage to go through. Shot selection was difficult. I don’t know exactly how long it took to edit, but it was *@&#ing long.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Kristof. I speak for the Lights Film School blog community when I say thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Best of luck with your future projects!
Thanks for this interview that was a pleasure!