Hi Peter and welcome to FilmmakersWorld, you have produced an incredible work and we are happy to support you to reach as many people as possible.
We think you have found a clever way to self-build a set from scratch and make a short movie with an important message and cinematic quality. Kudos!
We’re happy to have you on board, so let’s start with this chat!
Tell us a little about yourself, how you started your journey as a filmmaker, and how this idea came about.
Hi, first of all, thank you for letting me be part of this community with my project. Great honor.
I would never have expected this, because I always wanted to make it as a musician. I used to be a guitarist in a German rock band and worked as an audio engineer. I discovered my passion for filmmaking by accident when I shot some behind-the-scenes videos for a musical. I got some good feedback on the first video and realized that I was having a lot of fun with it.
So I decided to focus on it full-time and started my filmmaking career. My first projects were commercials for smaller regional companies and music videos. During that time I often spent nights watching tutorials to get even more out of the next project. From the beginning, it was always important to me to tell creative and emotional stories with my films.
I usually invested the money I earned directly in new equipment to get one step closer to the quality I wanted to achieve. So after a few years, I had built up a portfolio that allowed me to work for larger clients and artists.
After more than ten years as a filmmaker, it was finally time for my first project so I stopped all jobs for a few months and concentrated 100% on my short film.
You chose a very important topic for your short movie, let us more about it and what’s the main goal you wish to achieve.
Worldwide plastic pollution is indeed a big problem and meets us all every day. To see how the oceans and marine life suffer from it shocks me very much. If you consciously try to pay attention to using as less plastic as possible when shopping and in everyday life, you realize how difficult it is and I think the politics and industry must still do a lot to change that.
I had the idea of a gloomy ship’s kitchen in a storm on the ocean in which a dirty cook prepares plastic-polluted fish meals and wanted to wake up the viewers with these images.
Are you a DIY enthusiast? When we saw the platform you’ve built, we were impressed. Please tell us how you started the building process of your set, and how many resources, days, and people you involved.
I am really happy that I could inspire you with the film set. I honestly had no idea at all about set construction and really had to work my way in from scratch. You can’t really find good tutorials online about building sets in general. Especially because I not only had to build a room, but the entire room should also be tiltable, I was faced with a big challenge.
So I went to a carpentry shop with rough drawings got advice on materials and ordered everything there. The ship windows, furniture, and props I found mostly on eBay. Most of the time I actually spent on research and planning.
Building the film set was actually quick, maybe ten days total. Because I did everything on my own, it was complicated at times, but it makes you creative. It was difficult to find a matching actor because I had a very specific image in my head. One day my girlfriend told me about Ulas Kilic, an actor she sees from time to time in the city.
When I saw him for the first time I knew immediately that I wanted him as the protagonist in my short film and since he also has a sustainable lifestyle, he immediately agreed. We shot the film in one day with a small crew of ten people.
What kind of approach to lighting did you take and what equipment did you use to achieve that cinematic look?
I generally love practical lights and in a scene like this, I always start with them first. I wanted a lot of shaking in the film set anyway as if you were on the ocean, so I decided to use three hanging ceiling lights in the background, which I equipped with the Aputure B7C.
I chose a very warm color temperature, almost orange/red. Also, as a practical light, I mounted an Astera Titan Tube over the kitchen countertop with a green light as a nice color contrast. To make it clear that the film set is moving back and forth, I wanted the moonlight from outside shining through the windows and the fan, because the change in the angle of light makes the movement very clear.
For this, I used several Aputure 600c Pro with a cold blue color. And at the end to light the actor I used an Aputure 600x with the Lightdome 150 and double diffusion as a very soft keylight.
I filmed with my Red Monstro and Canon Sumire Primes 24mm & 50mm. I love shooting wide open and the Sumire Primes are a great choice for that because they are very characteristic, but still sharp and precise. The camera was mounted together with the Ronin 2 on the GF Tele Jib, which was placed on a dolly.
Can you talk about the role of color grading and post-production in shaping the final look of your film? How involved are you in that process?
For me, this is one of the most beautiful moments of every production, when I lie in bed with my MacBook after a long day of shooting and see the first images. I usually can’t wait and start editing the same night so that the next day the first rough cut is ready.
I could imagine that many filmmakers have a similar problem. My color grading workflow is actually very simple because if you have to do too much here, you’ve already done something wrong during the shoot.
I usually use the ImpulZ Film Emulation LUTs that I bought years ago. They work insanely well with the footage from my Red Monstro. All it takes is a few adjustments for saturation, contrast, and brightness… DONE.
Can you give some advice to those who would like to do projects of this type and don’t know where to start?
The only advice I can give is that the most important thing is to make your own experiences. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something. Likewise, don’t let yourself be influenced because someone else hasn’t managed or has successfully managed something similar.
That doesn’t mean that it’s the same for you. I make mistakes regularly and fall down again and again, but those are exactly the moments from which I learn the most to do better in the future.
So don’t let yourself stop and start. And not all at once but step by step!
Thank you Peter for this sneak peek and for sharing your experience with the community, good luck in launching the short movie in festivals and we look forward to hearing how it went!
If you wanna learn more about Plastic Gourmet and Peter Kuhtz, go check his official website and as usual we are cooking a new piece fam…
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