AUTHOR: Valerie Carlson
DATE: October 16, 2019
Secrets of Cinematic Storytelling Revealed in Short Documentary by Guildhawk
We all know the best way to capture and engage human emotion is through immersive storytelling. It is a craft as old as civilisation, with the power to transport us through time and space. But faced with a tsunami of on-demand, high-resolution digital media, is it possible to turn back the clock and use a technique from the dawn of cinema to convey a beautiful story in just 50 seconds?
This was precisely the challenge that Robin Guise, the director of film production company Lipsync, took on when Guildhawk approached him – to make a 50-second epic about the power of unity in helping us tackle the complexities of our world.
In a mini-documentary, Robin and Jurga Zilinskiene, CEO of Guildhawk, reveal the trade secrets behind how this was done and discuss the importance of applying professional film production disciplines.
“We wanted to tell a story about how daunting the world can be when you’re alone”, says Jurga. “The story is about overcoming challenges together, adventure, building a better world, and the key role that languages and culture play in all this”, she adds.
Jurga’s vision for the story was to show the beauty of our world through the eyes of two young children. Describing the script, Robin explains, “The film depicts a world where linguists work and shows the journey that two children could take in their present and future lives”.
Bringing the children, and therefore the viewer, into the heart of industries that are awe-inspiring – the places where Guildhawk lives – called for cinematic effect. To do this, rear projection was chosen over green screen technology. “Rear projection is a very old technology that’s been around since the early days of cinema and it has its challenges”, notes Robin.
Unlike green screen, this technique requires careful timing to ensure the actors’ movements coincide with the background film. On the plus side, the director and crew can see the film at first hand, and post-production work after the shoot is much faster. For the film to tell the story as envisaged, the production process necessitates a detailed plan. It has to account for every eventuality – easier said than done.
“The story is about overcoming challenges together, adventure, building a better world, and the key role that languages and culture play in all this.”
Making children’s toys fly through the air and creating an authentic breeze indoors were planning essentials. Yet, it all started with drafting a script, turning sketches into storyboards and overlaying these onto first cuts of the film. Temperatures and intensities geared to reinforce the sentiment of the story were then enriched with music to inspire.
Jurga wanted the story told through children as they represent the curiosity we all possess when we are very young. These are the generation that will take up the baton we hand over in years to come. Robin explains that children can be challenging to work with, but on this occasion, “both of them were extremely good and whilst there was a certain amount of messing about, we’d built that into their schedules for the day, and every 20 minutes or so we’d just let them run around.” Robin goes on to describe how post production techniques including colour grading were used to add warmth and cinematic effect.
We like to think that the pioneers of the first flicks, like Charlie Chaplin and Alice Guy-Blaché would give an approving smile if they could see their techniques in action once again. They would surely be proud to see the technological leaps that have occurred in the cutting room over the last 100 years.
Today, movie making is a truly global industry. Having worked with multiple clients on film content down through the years, the Guildhawk team is thrilled to have produced their own epic, especially one which is so evocative of our very purpose – to work together as one and unite people through language.