Ferand Peek Delivers a grate sci-fi in a simple form
[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]e look 300 years in the future, a forensic accountant reviews the video stream from one mercenary’s drop-pod which has been damaged during the initial stages of a colonial invasion. – Directed by Ferand Peek
The concept for Mis-drop kind of came into my head once I had put the limits around what I was going to attempt to do. It’s really a response to the problem: how to you make a believable ‘high-concept’ sci-fi movie on a low budget? My answer was to limit the view, and I felt the best way to do that successfully was by having the film as a single shot (from an ‘in-world’ camera) where a lot of interesting stuff was happening just off-screen. Then I could use film-making techniques to hint at that scope, like sound design and reflections of visual effects, that were going to be easier to achieve than shooting it like a regular narrative.
When I came up with the idea of a pod dropping through the atmosphere I felt that on its own was a compelling concept and once someone had bought into it, so long as we could keep delivering on the promise, an audience member would just go with it. It was a little bit freaky because I realized I was essentially asking the audience to watch a single medium close up shot on a guy for like 11 minutes. But I kind of saw it all in my head and felt that (if I could achieve a really high production value) as an audience member I would watch it. I think at a certain point you just have to trust your taste and if you can deliver an experience you would enjoy there are going to be people like you that will dig it!
Interview with ikbenbrand director of
Life is Beautiful
Tell us a little bit about yourself how you got into filmmaking?
I grew up around the film industry as my father is a production sound mixer. It always interested me and so when I began my journey to being a film-maker it made sense to try and work in the industry as I also produced my own material.
I was in the sound department for about 8 years and worked on-set on everything from TV ads and serials to big budget movies like King Kong and The Lovely Bones.
During the post-production of my short film, Mis-drop I had to learn a lot of visual effects and as I was keen to increase my knowledge of post-production I decided to actually become a VFX artist and so I’ve been doing that now for the last few years mainly working on The Hobbit films.
How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
The idea for the short film was born out of my desire to make a big-budget sci-fi film but not having the money to afford one. The answer to this problem was to come up with a concept and a format that lended itself to restricting what the audience could see through the camera and using other film-making tricks (like compositing and sound design) to sell the scale of the world.
I paid for the shoot myself with the money from a contract I did as a boom swinger. Most of the people on the shoot worked for free so the main cost was equipment, sets, and costume.
Talk us through the process of creating an animation?
The first thing I did with this particular shoot was a little backwards. I knew I didn’t want to be directing too many actors when we came to film so I decided to actually record the voices we can hear in the soldiers ear piece first and then play them back for Elliot Travers (who plays the soldier) on the day.
We shot the movie over 2 ½ days in the studio and a ½ day on location. It was mainly long takes with Elliot in the pod, but we also had to shoot all the elements you see in his reflected display as separate passes and time them correctly so that later when we layered it all together in the computer it would match up.
The post-production for the film took years to complete as the people helping me for the most part had to do it when they weren’t otherwise busy on a paying contract. I ended up guiding the compositing process as my skills as a compositor increased, however the help I got along the way was absolutely crucial to how great the end product looks.
I also bought on Michelle Child to do a really strong sound design which we then got to mix at Park Road Post Production, the premiere post facility in New Zealand. It was always going to be a crucial element to the film and the people helping me in this area really delivered what I consider a world-class sound track.
What challenges did you face?
Really the biggest challenge on a project such as this is perseverance and keeping up momentum through the long grind of post-production. There are many late nights staring at a computer wondering whether this will ever be done and if it will ever pay off.
You have to have a certain amount of sheer stubbornness to see it through and you need to really look after and acknowledge the efforts of the people helping you along the way.
What are your plans moving forward?
A feature film is the next goal as I move forward; hopefully a take on Mis-drop. It seems to have got a lot of people excited as it’s not something they’ve necessarily seen before. I’d like to build on that and deliver a really cool sci-fi feature film that I can be proud of and that is well regarded and successful with the fans of the genre.
Main Genre: Sci-fi films
Budget: £0 – £1000 How long did it take to shoot: 1 Day – 1 Week Film location (country): New Zealand Film location (city): Wellington
Filmed on: RED one (in 4k)
lighting equipment Primarily a tri-color LED panel.
Also par cans, a 5k HMI for the ext. flare, and some smaller LED’s that were part of the set.
A 2k tungsten for the light above the Old Timer. Audio equipment Almost exclusively radio mics, we only used the boom for the exterior and the Old Timer.
Other equipment used Editing: Premiere Pro, Compositing: Nuke, CG modelling and animation: Maya, LCD displays and Overlays: After Effects, Sound Design and Mix: Pro-Tools.