PRODUCTION COMPANY: BAD
CLIENT: KORNELIA ŁUKASZEWICZ
Fashion lookbook film shot on Sony FS7 + FS5, drone and VHS.
Director: Kornelia Łukaszewicz
DP: Spike Morris
AD: Scarlett Barclay
Hair: Kristof Pacura
Makeup: Aušra Povilaitė
Styling: Roni Monhait
Kornelia Łukaszewicz's TECHNOMATE 2017 collection
I knew going into this project with Koko that a look book film for her new collection would have a good energy to the sequence, but this ended up totally mad.
She and her team loved the Bloc 2012 video campaign I worked on and we had a few similar fast-paced mixed media references to draw from so we took a pretty scattergun approach and didn't script a place for each shot, especially after it became clear on the recce that our dilapidated hospital location was going to offer us so much. Similarly it was important on this one that the dancers had as much freedom to use the space as we could offer, so I lit everything from outside blasting in through windows and doors. In the end we simply decided on four rooms with four outfits and increased the energy of the dance with each take. We were set.
The shoot day itself went great with super enthusiastic styling, hair and makeup departments in full swing, and it felt great to be able to shoot almost 360° in each scene. I'm a huge fan of handheld operating and the way you inherently end up connected to the action and this one was a great opportunity to get super energetic takes with the subjects, almost dancing with them in the spaces, but I was keen to also contrast this with some smooth buildup takes on a Mövi. To help this duality we shot the early stabilised scenes in slow motion, whilst capturing the later high energy clips at regular speed with a cranked shutter angle.
Just one hazer induced fire alarm later, we walked away with plenty of material and I had a lot of freedom to experiment in the edit as a result - it was a total choose-your-own-adventure and in a way everything worked everywhere. The main challenge was to bring a sense of development to the edit and actually hold back some of the energy at the beginning.
Kornelia's techno club inspired collection unsurprisingly doesn't feature much colour, except for red inner linings and stitching highlights. Drawing attention to these miniature details on a fast moving dancer isn't the easiest, nor something I wanted to be hung up on during the shoot day, so we wrote a tabletop setup to allow us to get macro details separately.
I used an old fish tank and shot 150fps ultra closeups of the threads suspended in aerated water to get an almost zero-gravity effect. I've been meaning to try something like this ever since seeing David Terranova's masterful Dekmantel 2014 promo film (link) which captured rising water and a web of strings tied diagonally inside a tank. So good!
One of the shots I really had fun with was the drone footage. I wanted to recreate the feel of a police helicopter chase camera and I figured it would fit nicely in a super mixed media sequence like this, so I grabbed a shot of our group running down the street to play with in the edit.
The DJI Mavic I used produces super clean, totally over-sharpened images so I decided to dub the recording to a VHS camera tape to knock back some of the quality.. Looking at it playing out, I immediately realised I was on the right track to getting a 90's helicopter chase cam vibe going on.
In the end I actually ditched playing out the footage to a tape deck I was using, and found I was able to create a better effect by simply recording the clip off the monitor using a VHS cam and crash zooming into the screen, rather than using a digital zoom in post.
The next step was to find an old police helicopter clip from the web and 'screen' opacity out all the black parts of the image to leave the HUD overlays. Combined with a colour grade and a few keyframes of red glitches to tie in with the red thread motif in the film, it kinda looks believable for a few seconds in the sequence. Much more fun than the original drone footage I reckon.