So here I will explain some details of what went into the process of making the biggest video/cinema project I’ve done so far. If you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here first:
It all started in the summer 2011. I was in Korea, and I did a small interview with Dyzee about the OUR Association. You can watch it here:
It could’ve turned out better, but in any case, Dyzee really liked it and wanted to do more.. I had to think for a second.
While I met him that day I got a hunch. I hear that’s your safest bet sometimes, and this time sure enough it was a good hunch. I had a good idea about the system, I had seen it at R16, but I had no strong opinion about it. What gave me a hunch that i should make a documentary about this was the PASSION that Dyzee was showing towards his work.
I could clearly see that Dyzee wasn’t in it just for the job or the money.. This was his dream. Not only that, but he spoke openly about all his fears and weaknesses and seemed very honest about himself to other people. All of these things combined I knew that this was worth making a movie about.
Dyzee was an extremely open personality. No secrets, like an open book.
Dyzee had the most interesting stories. After the first interview session I was convinced that the movie would be about Dyzee’s life. Some of his stories seemed so incredible to me! Dyzee came from the worst situations, and became a person with an attitude like this.. Amazing!
During the second interview I realized that the hardest thing was to come up with the right questions. Dyzee and most other people were very open to answer all kinds of questions. The only problem was, I had to use a lot of time to figure out what questions I should ask! What was the story of the movie?
Dyzee waiting for a question.
So realized it was up to me what the movie would be about. I would have to listen to all the stories, and try draw that thin red line through them.
At one point I was worried that I shouldn’t talk about Dyzee’s life in the movie so much, since the system was interesting on its own. Soon after I realized that if I left it out, people wouldn’t be able to connect why Dyzee is making the judging system. His whole life revolves around bboying and his personality and traits made him make this system. So it was actually a perfect base to tell the story from. Without it I wouldn’t be able to invoke people’s emotions to the subject.
Jayce trying to make a point.
Now you might think “Oh, so you are just playing around with the viewer, trying to get them to like the system by making them cry about Dyzee’s life?” Well, in a way yes, but it would be unfair to judge me because of that.
You see I am making a movie, a documentary and an essay. For one to make a good argument, according to Aristotle, you have to have use Ethos, Logos and Pathos. That is you have to have credibility, reasoning and you have to invoke an emotional response from your audience. (http://courses.durhamtech.edu/perkins/aris.html) Without the emotion part the movie would become dry and full of complaints and talk about money.
Anyways, I went ahead and made a few interviews in Korea, and headed to Thailand in November. The whole time I was on a really tight on budget. I had two prime(no zoom) lenses, a Zoom H1, a cheap lavalier mic, a Canon 550D, Canon A570IS and a new Dell Laptop. I saw my brother in Thailand, and traveled to Malaysia as well.
After that I realized I had to make a script in order to make the raw cut.
This is what a Documentary script looks like
First I had to transcribe all the raw cut interviews. I listened and wrote everything down. Then I printed the text, cut it with scissors into different folders with topics like “Dyzee’s history” and “Bboying as a sport”. Then I took one folder at a time and glued the different comments into a conversation about the topic onto a paper. This way I could easily get rid of double commentary and things that are too off topic. My problem was length.. I had to make the movie easy to watch.
As I was meeting the bboys and making the movie I was also trying to learn to draw people. I would just sit in the subway and draw people’s faces. So I decided I would use that to introduce people in the movie.
I took still frames of the video and drew peoples faces. Lanre Pedro made the graffiti, and I made the effects on photoshop. (bboy bill in the photo)
Once I had a script, I could make the first version of the movie. It was an hour long. I showed it to my brother and he said “Well I don’t really understand how the judging system works..” I had forgot to make an intro about the actual system! How stupid!
Finished portraiture of Bboy Bill.
So I had to get another sound bite from Dyzee, I moved back to Finland, interviewed Focus in Helsinki and kept on editing.
It’s pretty amazing how much work can go into just editing 1 raw hour into 37 minutes of documentary. Most of the work was finding and editing B-roll (Everything besides the main interviews, or this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SItFvB0Upb8 ) At some point I swear I used weeks to just edit and look for b-roll. A lot of the b-roll I shot myself, for example the basketball part, I went to a basketball game just to get some shots of it:
I went to a basketball game just to get 10 seconds of b-roll.
A lot of the bboying was from my friends clips they were able to send me, a few videos from archive.org(e.g. old skateboarding), and the R16 clips came from the R16 DVDs, with permission from Cartel Creative.
The most important part I guess was when I realized the ending of a documentary usually comes back to the images of the whole documentary. So when Janice talks about Dyzee in the end, you can see images from throughout the movie coming together. Also a good trick is to put the humor in the ending. That way the viewer can relax in the ending of a documentary.
Janice is making fun of Dyzee’s computer habits. (btw, janice shot at ISO6400, color correction magic!)
The score(music) was made by Anttti (Elmeri Turunen). He is a rapper and a beat maker in Lappeenranta, Finland. I asked him and he was happy to make the music for the movie. I showed him a raw cut of the movie (though I know now that movies are scored after editing is finished, which is easier) and he came up with a few songs, which he also fitted to the movie. Also I used Kevin MacLeod’s Incompetech.org sound library for a few songs with a less hip-hop sound.
Here you can listen to Anttti’s music: http://soundcloud.com/anttti-1
In the editing stage I had the invaluable help of ANSSI SAVILUOTO. I am staying at his place, and i showed him the movie every week. His girlfriend asked him, what do you actually do for the movie? He answered.. “I just complain!”
Anssi also is an avid photographer, cinematographer and a paramedic. All in one! Check out his work at: http://www.anssisaviluoto.com/
Anssi told me to “drop that dip to black” or “make a j-cut here” etc. I didn’t have a grasp of the TV/Cinema style that people expect and are used to. The content should be a surprise, but the style should be kept as close to the standard of TV and Cinema as possible. That is in case you want to keep your audience captivated.
The 550D footage with Technicolor Cinestyle was pretty good to color correct with. I did use at least 2-3 weeks color correcting to get the best results though, and I hope in the future it will get easier with better cameras. Anssi did half of them and showed me a lot of tricks.
Color correction from a Technicolor Cinectyle picture profile.
What made it easy was After Effects (for customized masks with curves) and Magic bullet Looks. Both combined with Premiere made it a blast.
One more thing I had to do was the teaser. It was hard to put myself in the situation of a first viewer, when I knew the movie in and out, every single line and every intonation of every character. Even the Thai speaking people! And I can’t speak Thai!
At that point I had my screening version done. I showed it to all the people involved including Dyzee (that was his first time to see it) and I corrected many mistakes like spelling names and titles. Dyzee gave me lots of ideas on what to put in the teaser, and it turned out great. It took me 1 week of editing every day to make a 1 minute teaser.. it was not the most fun part of making the movie!
In any case, everything turned out fine. We have over 21 000 views already. My hope was to break 20K, and we did it! It equals to one person watching the movie for a year and 140 days consecutively. Fun fact! I counted my editing hours up to something like 200.. Then I stopped.
I spent all of January 2012 staying up until 4-7AM to edit. Started at 10pm though. In January, Finland is a dark place in any case.
I made it for fun. I didn’t get any money(at least so far). I also entered a competition. We’ll see what happens. Next is maybe something fictional. For documentaries I just gotta keep my eyes open.
I hope this blog might help someone out there thinking of making a documentary. Remember, if you have a camera just do it! I used a 3 year old pocket camera for the second camera in this movie, and if I had done the whole movie on it.. well, it would still tell the same story. And that is what is important. Telling a story! Making an impact on the lives of people!
This was one of my favorite shots, but at a low cost. Canon A570IS.
So I hope everyone will go out and make lots of documentaries on things that matter!
Contact me for anything: hiskihoo ) at ( gmail dot com