The Making of the Steem Film
The Steem Film premiered today in Amsterdam. Here you can watch it:
Please share it if you like it!
When we chatted via Skype in September I suggested to Ned to create a film for Steem. He immediately liked the idea. So we brainstormed how to best represent Steem in a film, and we received very valuable input from the Steem community.
Many of our films are animated, because you can visualise things that cannot be filmed. But for Steem, we decided to take a different way, as it is all about real people.
All pictures by Anastasya Stolyarov
We casted four active Steemians whom I met at the Hamburg Steemit Meetup. They all look great, write good posts and represent the diversity of Steem. But most importantly: they can dance. As Steem is not just about economics and cryptography, but mostly about fun and human interaction, a dance video was the thing to do.
Unfortunately we could not finish the real music before the filming, as you would normally do it, as our musician was travelling at that time. So Tony and the dancers worked with a provisional track instead, which would be the guideline for the final composition.
We had to hurry with the preparation, as the weather in Germany can be really nasty in October, and we wanted to shoot outdoors.
The weather forecast for October 4th was good, and we were extremely lucky to pick that day: it rained for days before and it got really cold and grim afterwards. Only our shooting day was sunny, although quite cold.
So we had to be sure that warm clothes were near the actors as soon as a shot was taken.
We found a great place to shoot the film: the Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk in Berlin-Friedrichshain. It was formerly used by the pre-war German state railway (the Reichsbahn) to repair their wagons. Now it is full of clubs, bars and galleries.
First we shot the individual scenes of JoJo, Uma and Lena (picture above, left to right). In the beginning they use conventional social media, then they act out various aspects of Steem. Although they are not professional actors, they did a great job. They are all very natural, open and outgoing. It was a lot of fun to work with them!
Then we shot some acted scenes with all four protagonists. The most difficult one was the scene in which Tony lets himself fall backwards into the arms of the ladies as a proof of trust.
Although our make-up artist Susi helped out, as we needed an even number of arm pairs, we were not sure if the girls could really take the weight of Tony falling.
So our camera lady Liza came up with a trick to fake it. Tony would start his falling down, then we would cut to a shot in which he is already lying on the arms of the four ladies.
Liza Gerber explains how to fake the fall
All they had to do was to lift him a bit and make him fall a few centimetres. We simply used the second half of that shot in the edit and it looks cool.
We even used our lunch break to shoot a scene for the sequence in which popular Steemit topics are mentioned. Food is a popular topic for sure, so we filmed Lena eating pasta.
A restaurant in walking distance had prepared a set meal for us, so we could eat and go back to shooting as soon as possible. Tony wrote a nice peace about this restaurant. It seems that our ladies had a lot of fun there:
The afternoon was reserved for the dance sequences.
We shot the same choreography over and over again, from many different angles and in different sizes.
Sometimes we shot in normal speed, but we also worked a lot with slow motion.
The dancers got better and better the longer it took.
In our editing sessions, the most difficult part was to select the best shots of the dancers, as there were so many of them.
My editor Nastya first put together a rough shot of the acting scenes to get the timing right. We used one wide shot of the dance as a place holder, as we did not have the right music then, and left the editing of the dance scenes for later.
Anastasya Stolyarov editing the film
With this rough version our musician Julio from Buenos Aires composed the original score. It was quite a challenge. He had to follow the rhythm of the provisional track that Tony used for the choreography, but also create the right atmosphere and dramaturgy for the film.
Julio Kladniew, our musician
There were many iterations of the score before we found the right balance between electronic beats, synthesizers and symphonic strings. The importance of music for the emotional impact of a film cannot be overestimated!
The last things that needed to be done were special effects. First we only wanted our animator Tomek to add a few coins to the hands of Uma so it looks as if she was juggling. Fortunately our camera assistant Sven knows how to juggle, so he could show her the right hand movements.
But with the fast movement you could not recognise the coins. So our animator Tomek suggested to add a whole cloud of coins hovering around Uma.
I liked this so much that I asked him to add some hovering coins also to the dance scenes, which was not planned before. I really like the interaction between the dancers and the coins. Tomek also added some cool logo animations with "digital steam".
It was great fun to create this film! Thanks a lot to everybody who helped making it! Now please go ahead and spread it!