Mirko Fabian

5th of February 2024
Category: Filmmaking, Behind the Scenes

Making of "The Camera"

What is this article about?

I’m giving you an exclusive look behind the scenes of making my first narrative short film “The Camera”. Talking about the obstacles in making this short and what the processes looked like. 

Getting inspiration for the story

I was walking through the park in the neighborhood to get my mind clear, relaxing from the stress that life has thrown at me. Vanessa was with me and it was her who discovered this place in the woods. From the first moment I knew this place was worthy for a shooting and for a film. Walking back home I was thinking about a story that could take place in this spot. 

The story, writing the script

A couple of weeks passed, and I hadn’t come up with a story yet, but Vanessa’s friend, Marinette was about to leave Sydney. I needed someone to play a role in this upcoming short film. From one moment to the next, I was rushing to finish the script. Even when we started shooting the script only consisted of a few bullet points of scenes I needed to tell a story. I was working on it until the moment Marinette came on set. From that moment on I knew this project is going to be more than “run and gun”. 

Production

Without proper Pre-Production, and planning how to shoot the scenes I jumped right into shooting. Wearing the hat of Cinematographer, Director, and Producer, coordinating the shoot and getting the scenes I needed to make this short film. But without my small, collaborative team I couldn’t pull this off alone. This is what I love about filmmaking, the creative and collaborative process, of working towards a single goal.

For the entire shoot, I was using my Blackmagic Cinema Camera 6K FF with photography lenses which reduced the footprint of the rig compared to my cine zoom lens. The downside of this decision was that I had a hard time pulling focus. Due to the short focus throw of the lenses and the constant wide aperture of F/1.8, I had no control of.

Overall it was another great learning experience and applying what I learned during my studies. The atmosphere on set was great. It was fun to work and collaborate. To me working on a set is a great balance of work and life itself. At the end of the day, you know what you’ve done, you created a story that’s meant to be watched and hopefully enjoyed by the audience.

Post-Production

A story is being told three times when making a movie, once by writing the script, twice during the production, and lastly in post.

Writing, preparing, and shooting the film was completely different from the phase of editing. It’s where the puzzle pieces get together and the story is shaved again. This was especially true for this project, because of the short time for writing the script and production time, the story as it was shot, didn’t make too much sense. I’ve got many shots but when played chronologically, after the bullet point list, they don’t make sense. The camera’s story really was brought to life and made sense in the editing room. That’s where I brought everything together so it finally made sense.

The film is cut with a length of just under 10 minutes. I planned it to be between 5 to 10 minutes and since I really had to tell the story (again) in post, I pushed the story back and forth to make it work.

Sound is even more important than the visuals and especially in horror films sound and the score/soundtracks play a crucial role. Although audio is not my best discipline when it comes to editing, I see this as a challenge and a good opportunity to gain more experience and experiment a bit.
I found the SFX and soundtracks completely for free on Pixabay and I’m pretty happy with what I came up with in the sound mix.

After the sound was done it was time for me to give “The Camera” its final look. Color correcting and grading is a process I enjoy more than doing sound. DaVinci Resolve is the best tool for that, editing the BRAW files of my camera and making it look the way I intended it to be. To give it a final look I invested in a new LUT pack, edited some glowing and halation effects to our lady in the white dress and then I was done. It still took a while, to tweak the project to its final style but I was happy again with the result.

Rendering

After the film was done it was time to render the final version. This is where I ran into massive issues, although I wasn’t using many VFX it was enough to crash my computer several times. Despite the maxed out specs at that time I couldn’t render the final project. So I tried multiple approaches to get there. 

Splitting the short film in multiple chunks, rendering them and putting them back together to render again, rendering in place, reducing the Nodes in Resolve. I tried many different things.  In the end it worked but it took a lot of effort. 

What motivated me to shoot this film

What kept me going, although knowing this short film isn’t what I’m fully capable of producing is one quote of the filmmaker who inspires me most.

"Pick up a camera. Shoot something. No matter how small, no matter how cheesy, no matter whether your friends and your sister star in it. Put your name on it as director. Now you're a director. Everything after that you're just negotiating your budget and your fee."

Conclusion

Although I’ve done a couple of other projects in the past to prove my abilities as a videographer, this was somewhat different. It fulfilled me because this is something I always dreamt of doing. Being a self-educated professional yet again came in very handy because during this project I had to face many challenges, thinking outside the box to make it work in the end.

This, my very first narrative short film marks the beginning of my desire to further pursue this dream and tell unique stories that shed light on topics only a few people talk about but many have to deal with. Helping those individuals feel heard, ultimately shall motivate them to keep going or seek help.

Watch the film on YouTube

The crew

Mirko Fabian

Producer
Director
Director of Photography

Vanessa Menant

Co-Producer
1st Assistant Director
Actress

Marinette Piguet

Actress
Model

Mirko Fabian
Multimedia-Designer

Self-educated creative problem solver and entrepreneur. Writing about personal development, self-education, photography & filmmaking. 

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#filmmaking #film #movie #short #story #storytelling #visual #camera #script #actor #director #audience