Our SATO48 Film: Im.Mortal

(Scroll all the way down to see the film)

 

This year, Frank and I decided to enter SATO48 again. We participated back in 2012 with Chris Kaspar, and created "Dissonance & Grace" which ended up being an awesome film! Not sure why we skipped a few years- but we're back again. :D

For those of you who don't know about SATO, it's a 48-hour film challenge where teams compete to create a 5-minute film within 48 hours. Additionally, there is an inspiration package given to each team at kickoff that contain certain objects and guidelines that MUST be included in your film. 

Frank and I have been really excited to participate again so we put together a small but fantastic team- wonderful actors, musicians and grips. We planned as much as possible, put a schedule together and finished up the details on the night of the kickoff.  Our schedule went like this: 

  • Friday: Kickoff at 6pm, meet to finish script, and prepare for the shoot.
  • Saturday: Shoot from 8am to 6pm, edit together roughcut, and send to musician.
  • Sunday: Edit music to film, color-correct, edit audio, export. 

The filming went very smoothly, we got a full night's sleep every night, and even completed it early and took a nap before turning it in! (Sorry to the teams that did not get any sleep.) We're very pleased with the film, of course it's not perfect, but for 48 hours it's quite spectacular! Below, we'll show freeze frames from our film and talk throu a little more about our cinematography and other details. To see the film, scroll down. 

 

Originally, we had a different location in mind. We wanted to shoot in a big living room that had nice comfy chairs with a very minimilistic but classy look. Unfortunately, we don't know a whole lot of people with an amazing living room like that, so we opted for this kitchen as the interview location. Luckily for us, the lighting there was exactly what we needed to make a high-contrast black and white film. ;) 

 

Here's a little bit of a wide shot to show our setup. 

On the right you can see the windows where they're trying to tape parchment paper on the outside. As difficult as this was, I'm SOOOO glad we dealt with it. It made our shots a lot cleaner, and diffused the light coming in. The downside to it was that it caught the wind and flapped a lot that messed up our audio at times. 

On the left you see a kino that was used as the main hairlight for Noah (the interviewee.) The lighting on him was probably my favorite. Also on the left, just outside the photo frame, is a huge black sheet we put up to add more shadows and contrast to our actors. 

 

Here you can see the painful and dangerous process of taping the parchment paper over the windows. See the guy on the ledge?

Here you can see the painful and dangerous process of taping the parchment paper over the windows. See the guy on the ledge?

And here on the right you can barely see the black sheet we put up. Oh, and that's Taylor, our audio guy. ;) 

And here on the right you can barely see the black sheet we put up. Oh, and that's Taylor, our audio guy. ;) 

(Above) This is Noah Jermain, who played the "interviewee" character. I love how beautifully the lighting worked here. We've got the soft lighting from the window on the right, a dark shadow on his left, and a hard hair light to separate him from the background. Those eyelights looked awesome, too! 

(Above) Our "immortal interviewer", played by Jason Preston.  Also loved the lighting here, and the window in the background that adds additional dimension. For his hair light we used a small tungsten spot light, but the best thing about it was that we didn't have to match the color temperatures, because we're filming for black and white! You can see the eyelight caused by the windows on the left, but then a tiny dot of an eyelight on the right side of his eye that came from Noah's hair light. 

 

 

To the right is the behind-the-scenes photo of this shot. Frank was holding the black side of a reflector the add an even darker shadow to Jason's right-side. In the back there you can also see the tungsten hairlight. 

If you look closely in the above shot, you can see a tiny sliver on the right window where the parchment paper wasn't covering. So if you can imagine the windows hadn't been covered, there would be a LOT of noise outside the windows. 

I love the window shadow on the floor in this frame. We were so lucky to have so much sunlight that day! 

I love the window shadow on the floor in this frame. We were so lucky to have so much sunlight that day! 

The hard hairlights that we used were essential to give us the most contrast we needed when we changed it to black and white. That was our main goal the whole time, as much contrast as possible. Highlights, shadows, textures. 

We also had to pay close attention to the background of our shots. For example in the shot below, we had to add an additional light to the background by the fireplace. If we hadn't, the background would all be very dark and kind of mesh together. By adding the light, we catch the various textures and highlights in the background.  

Both of the shots above were fun to shoot. Because our film was in one room, and dialogue-driven, it was hard to find new angles that we hadn't used before. By giving our characters lots of nose space, we created a feeling of distance between them, as well as a heightened sense of emptiness that complimented the theme of our film. 

Woohoo $10 grand! Most of you probably figured out that we used one 100-dollar bill, and the rest of them are one-dollar bills. The bank was very helpful that day!

Woohoo $10 grand! Most of you probably figured out that we used one 100-dollar bill, and the rest of them are one-dollar bills. The bank was very helpful that day!

This photo makes me laugh. For one, we have Taylor trying to figure out the boom mic. Then Frank and I are trying to look at the shot on the small LCD screen of the camera. :) Co-directing rocks! 

This photo makes me laugh. For one, we have Taylor trying to figure out the boom mic. Then Frank and I are trying to look at the shot on the small LCD screen of the camera. :) Co-directing rocks! 

And by now you're probably wanting to see the film. So, ladies in gents, the Tempus team from SATO48 2015 present to you, 

Im.Mortal

Written, Produced, Directed and Edited by: Franquelis and Elisabeth Diaz; Featuring: Noah Jermain and Jason Preston; Music by: Josiah Austin; Audio by: Taylor Steeby

Hope you enjoyed it! Please feel free to give us feedback by commenting below. 

To see more of our films, click here

To see more SATO48 films, check them out on their page. (They may or may not be posted at this time.)