Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Making of Not Alone in Here

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So Lotta and I made another horror short, or as some see it, a trailer for the making of.

But hey, Ill take it.

It's just a shame that the making of's are so quick and easy to do but you can't make

a making of without first making a film.

And that's the hard part.

This one was so much easier than our previous short shadowed though.

Not only did we keep it pretty simple, theres only two visual effects shots.

But I also put together a new better computer so no running out of memory.

I made sure to constantly back everything up, and I got my tooth fixed.

I even got to keep the temporary tooth for... sentimental reasons.

Take that you son of a b...

In order to make something a little different this time we chose to have a voice-over for

this one.

The reason being that with a voice-over you can tell somewhat different stories.

And it reminds me of written horror like Junji Itos mangas...

Or HP Lovecrafts books that are often in a first person perspective.

voice-overs are not without controversies though.

Show, dont tell and all that.

God help you if you use voice-over in your work my friend.

God help you.

It's flaccid sloppy writing.

Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character.

And I dont entirely disagree.

I even had some doubts myself when I started cutting some footage together without the voice-over.

Theres definitely moments when you dont need it.

For example in the beginning when she says that she knows she locked the door, she has

the same routine every night.

We do get everything we need from the visuals.

However, it would be jarring to suddenly have a voice-over start late in the film.

Feels like you have to set the tone right up front.

A place where I think the voice-over adds a lot is the final scene.

If you saw this without the voice-over youd assume she was dead.

The idea that shes trapped inside her own body and the monster is in there with her

I think adds to the creepiness.

And its not something you could easily tell visually.

Sure, you could zoom into her head, visually represent her mind with like a black void.

Or maybe her mind is a creepy castle and then you show that the monster is in there with her.

That would require more than our limited means though.

Another example is the scene where she sees the monster in the corner of her eye and doesn't

dare to look away from the phone.

I think most people would be very confused by that scene without a voice-over.

I'm sure a few people would still get it and it would be the more artsy approach.

But we don't really make art, we make BLARGH!

Okay okay okay, wait a minute.

So I know you and your self deprecating humor but lets not confuse people here.

We obviously really like the voice-over and feel that it is adding something special to

the movie and the storytelling that we wouldnt have achieved without it.

The concept of voice-overs is definitely a matter of preference and to us it amps the

tension and urge in scenes...

That would be cut completely different if we didnt have them.

And finally all of you that have been askingwhy doesnt she just move out of that

haunted house?!”...

Will have heard my thoughts on it.

It felt really nice to try something different for Not Alone In Here.

And one thing that weve been wanting to do for a while was to give me more of a speaking

role in our shorts.

When we decided to go the voice-over route it was important to me that we also added subtitles.

One of the reasons our shorts have been so successful is that they could be seen by people

all over the world no matter the language so when we now moved away from that we wanted

to do it as nicely as possible.

Okay, go on.

Like a lot of our shorts the ideas come out of the location and what we have available.

This door to the outside is opposite from the bathroom.

Wouldn't it be creepy if you locked it, went to the bathroom and then it was open?

Did something sneak in through here?

This closet opening in our bedroom would be a perfect place for a ghost or something to

be hiding in the dark and watching you in bed.

We didn't write a script.

The only thing we wrote down before shooting was what the voice-over would be.

But since our previous short was such a struggle I wanted to make sure things went smoothly

on this one.

And I did a little more planning than usual.

For a lot of the film I went through the house and shot some of the scenes with nothing in it.

Just doing the various camera moves.

Then I cut together that material just to see what setups would be needed.

Even though it didn't even have Lotta in it, it was still really nice to get an initial

sense of how shots might work together.

You know this is something I would love to do on a feature.

To get a couple of weeks before shooting where you just have the actors and a simple little

camera where you can figure out what you want to do.

Without lighting and makeup and any other crew or big machinery.

You then cut that together, which will look and sound like garbage, but you'll get a sense

of what works and what doesn't.

Perhaps you can even screen that version for some people and then you have a really tight

plan for just the things you need.

I think this could shave off a lot of expensive production time but unfortunately, in my experience,

that's not really possible with how movies are often made.

Because of actor availabilities you might not have your actors until the day you need

to shoot.

Some actors you might not have access to until way into the shoot and you have to start shooting

the scenes that don't have them in it.

I've told this story before but on Lights Out we started shooting without having even

cast the mom and the dad.

The picture frames early in the film just had green screens in them because we didn't

have the photos when it was time to shoot.

Same thing with sets.

They're often built while shooting so you have to start filming on the sets that are

finished or available first.

Stuff like that does happen though.

I read Sydney Lumet's book Making Movies where he talks about how he used to be able to do

a couple of weeks of rehearsals with the actors.

Well, hopefully some day I'll be able to try out that approach.

By the way I highly recommend Sydney Lumet's book.

I wish I had read it before I directed my first feature because he talks about the process

of making movies and how film sets work.

Something I had to figure out while making my first film.

It's an older book but a lot of things are still kind of the same.

As previously this film was shot on the blackmagic pocket 4k camera with my sigma 18-35 lens.

Something I wanted to do on this film was to keep the camera on a tripod as much as possible.

To have more controlled camera moves.

The walking towards and inside the hallway was done with my shitty homemade dolly which

I have a video on how to make yourself.

These two shots were handheld.

I kind of wish this one wasn't handheld since I think it stands out a bit.

Everything else was just on a tripod or just straight on the floor.

Even this shot of looking over the edge of the bed is the tripod leaning on two legs.

All the little zooms and slow creeps were digitally added in post.

This was shot in 4K but even in HD you can afford to do quite a bit of digital zooming

without it being too noticeable.

I've seen zoomed in non 4k shot stuff projected on giant Imax screens and it still looked great.

I don't really worry too much about resolution anymore.

When you don't have fancy grip equipment or gimbals or anything like that the choice is

kind of just tripod or handheld.

While I like handheld too it gets a little trickier when you want something more controlled.

I've noticed that a great reference for shooting things on a tripod with limited dolly moves

is Akira Kurosawa's films.

There are a lot of scenes that are shot either locked off, where it cuts between static really

well composed shots.

Or just panning and tilting with the action.

With the occasional relatively simple dolly move here and there.

Kurosawa certainly does bigger moves as well but there are big chunks of his work that

you could shoot with just a tripod.

And Kurosawa movies certainly don't feel static to me.

The benefits of a more locked down approach is that you can make sure to get nice compositions.

Split screens are not a problem.

And if you want to really get your shots perfect you have the possibility to add or remove

things really easily.

No need for 3D tracking.

And although Resolve has an amazing tracker for it's power windows it's even easier to

do adjustments to part of a frame if it doesn't move.

I think in the age of gimbals and GoPros and drones people sometimes forget what you can

get out of just this.

Although I've never shot on actual film I do love the look that we traditionally associate

with celluloid film.

I say traditionally associate because these days you can make anything look like anything.

Digital looking like film or film looking like digital.

I used the plugin filmconvert to make everything look more film like and grainy.

YouTube compression doesn't like that but, meh.

To light outside of the house I once again used my two bigger LED lights.

A couple of times, when we didn't see outside, I used them inside to get a little more ambient light.

One thing I used a lot this time was this Ikea paper lantern with one of my little Sokani

LED lights inside.

I've used the paper lantern before but with a regular bulb inside it can be a pain to

get the cord to an outlet everywhere and the cord weighing things down.

With a lightweight tiny led light inside I can put it anywhere.

I can tape it to the ceiling if I want to.

Mostly I hung it from a microphone stand.

You get a really nice soft light from a paper lantern like this.

Especially when you have it close to a face.

When we were shooting this part I noticed that the motion looked weird.

When I later looked at it frame by frame I realized that instead of a smooth motion blur

I was getting like three images on top of each other.

I eventually figured out that it was because of the LED bulbs inside these lights.

LED lights can be known to cause flickering but I figured I was safe if I didn't see any

flickering or banding.

But apparently it can really mess up your motion blur.

I tried using a 360 degree shutter angle just to see if it would smooth things out but instead

you get like five images on top of each other.

We did consider re-shooting that shot since it had the fastest motion in it but we really

didn't want to.

I figure most people probably won't notice.

And if that's what they're thinking about in that moment then we have bigger problems.

But for the remaining shots in the bedroom I did put in regular old school bulbs.

Speaking of flickering there was some from the iphone screen but Resolve has a really

good de-flicker plugin.

We still have the approach of replacing all the sound in post but since we had a longer

dialogue, or monologue, scene in this one...

We wanted to capture that particular dialogue while shooting.

Since the room is pretty empty and echoey we brought in some blankets and pillows to

kill some of that off.

Every other sound was done in post though like we usually do.

For the monster I wanted to see if I could do like a more realistic version of the Lights

Out demon face for this one.

Since it's been a few years.

You might think that I really like my demons to be females with white eyes and pointy teeth

but really it just has to do with my limited photoshop abilities.

I'd love to do some more unique looking monsters with practical effects but that will have

to be for another time.

I used a very similar approach to what we've done before.

Take some pictures with the eyes wide open and looking different directions to create

big white eyeballs and so on.

But this time I bought some monster teeth to have a little less to do in Photoshop.

These were the kind where you actually mold them after your own teeth so that was fun.

I also shot this Halloween mask in the same light to use for some extra bits and pieces

of texture.

Once I had a finished still image I animated some distortion in After Effects with the

liquify filter and then tracked it on top of the real face.

For one take, where we tried having Lotta under the covers, there was drool coming out

of her mouth.

Lotta suggested to use the drool in the finished shot.

I was hesitant since I figured it was going to be a nightmare to cut out but since it's

a brief shot it wasn't that bad actually.

The final shot of the film has eyes made in Photoshop and tracked on with Mocha.

I thought the shot looked too much like a still image, even though it really wasn't.

So I added a little subtle light changes as if it came from the windows with the moving

trees outside.

And also a little bit of animated lens distortion.

In Resolve I took out some of the color in Lotta's face to make her look a bit less healthy.

There are a couple of instances of the classic trick of a cut while doing a whip pan.

Here it was because the door of course needed to suddenly be open.

I'm always surprised with how well this trick works.

This is just a simple cut between two separate shots.

You'd think you'd need at least a fade or something to smooth things out but no.

I guess I'm just that good at repeating camera moves.

When we needed Lotta's hand to grab Lotta's leg I had to wear Lotta's night gown and try

my best to hide my manly feet.

For this shot I shook some dirty laundry around in front of the camera to get dust particles.

For the brief montage I know I needed some kind of music that felt like an escalation

which had me worried about how to achieve that.

Ultimately I wound up tweaking the settings on a synth in Rason

And then it was just a matter of doing this.

At first I was like, this is way too simple.

And I tried adding a base drum but then it felt like she was going out clubbing or something.

That's a trap that's really easy to fall into with a lot of things.

I know I do all the time.

This feeling of "well it can't be good because it's so simple".

But if it works it works.

Even with the lights out short I was so surprised that it got so much attention from Hollywood

and elsewhere...

When it's so short and simple and wasn't even very hard to make.

But a lot of the time something simple executed really well can be much better than something

ambitious and complicated that falls short of it's goal.

Just how really simple melodies can more easily get stuck in your head than more complicated

songs that might be more technically impressive.

Definitely not talking about this by the way, just using music as a general metaphor.

When we told people we were making a new short we were asked, what's it about?

And I said oh you know same old crap.

A woman realizes she's not alone.

And sometimes that's all you need.

The Description of The Making of Not Alone in Here