BRAMKNOL.COM / BRAM@BRAMKNOL.COM
My name is Bram Knol
I'm 25 years old and was 18 when I started working on the Despair project
I'm studying illustration in The Netherlands
And live in "De moer" a small town in The Netherlands
Main specialization is in Concept-art, but for Despair I also specialized in Prop and Costume making, Directing, Visual effects and editing
Q: COULD YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BACKGROUND IN CINEMA AND VISUAL EFFECTS?
I’m studying illustration in the Netherlands, I have a passion for creating and designing new worlds which is why I would like to become a concept artist. When watching the making of lord of the rings I first saw Weta Workshop (a special effects and props company). Since then I've been keen on working there.
Unfortunately, I'm not alone in that dream, so to give myself a better chance I decided to make my own short fantasy film (something I wanted to do for a long time already). Because I didn't have a big budget and wanted to learn as much as possible I decided to do almost everything myself. I watched a lot of tutorials on the internet and the rest I learned through trial and error.
Q: WHAT A MAIN ENGINE OF YOU IN YOUR ART AND JOB? HOW YOU FOUND THIS DREAM FOR YOURSELF?
As I said I have a big passion for creating and designing new worlds, I always had. As long I can remember I've been drawing a lot, but also when playing with toys I was envisioning new worlds and characters. I think that's what attracts me most about making movies and games. Being able to influence the imagination of other people by my own creations and to pull them into a self-created world is one of the greatest things achievable.
Q: IN YOUR MESSAGE YOU TOLD ABOUT REALLY BIG HELP FROM RELATIVES AND FRIENDS IN YOUR PROJECT.
My parents have always been very supportive, when I was younger they used to encourage me to create and draw. They were always helpful, but they also gave me constructive criticism, which helped me develop my skills. With Despair I needed a lot of their help, not only did my parents have to tolerate a the enormous mess I made, but they also needed to play an active role in completing despair.
My father and brother played lead characters in my movie and my mother helped behind the scenes. I also got a lot of help from other sources: friends and family played the other 10 soldiers, my girlfriend became a princes, a teacher from my school and 2 of his partners did the camera work, our neighbor let us use his large machine storage room as a studio and my uncle and his son did the music and sounds of despair. I could not have done it without all their help and I learned a lot from working together with other creative people.
Q: YOU AND YOUR COLLECTIVE MADE A GREAT JOB. SO, HOW WILL APPEAR A MAIN IDEA OF PROJECT CONCEPT? AND HOW YOU WILL MAKE A NOT EASY DECISION TO REALIZE IT?
After the first sketches I simultaneously started making more refined drawings and some test armor pieces, after that I made the costumes and weapons. In the meantime, I was working out how the main storyline would be and planning how I was going to shoot it. After arranging a camera crew and other helpful people I shot the movie in an improvised studio. Everything was shot in 3 days. After production it was time to get behind my laptop and start on the VFX, this took a lot of time.
First everything had to be keyd and cleaned. Then I started replacing backgrounds and adding things like blood splatters and flying arrows. When I worked on every shot I made the first edit of all the scenes. I wasn't content with the result and filmed some extra shots, I also made the castle for the intro. After that I put everything together again and still was not content, so I completely changed the look of all the shots before making the final sequence.
Q: CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT FIRST STEPS IN YOUR PROJECT REALIZATION AND WHAT WAS A MOST DIFFICULT TO YOU IN REALIZATION OF THIS?
The first thing I did was sketching, I wanted the movie to be about a fight between two groups of soldiers, so I started exploring how they would look, the whole backstory formed itself while I was sketching. I think the biggest challenge was making the visual effects, I never did that before, so I had to learn everything, especially keying (removing the green-screens) was a lot of work. My actors wore green armors which become see through is you key them normally.
Q: WHAT KIND OF MATERIALS YOU USED IN YOUR JOB TO INSPIRATION AND REALIZE MAIN STYLISTICS AND ADOPT IT AT REALITY?
The colorful look of my movie was inspired by some old helmets I saw on a museum's website. It was Medieval Sallets which had colorful patterns painted on them. I liked their look and started experimenting on how that would look for a whole set of armor. I also did some research on how a real medieval battle would go, in most modern movie sword fights last forever, but in real life most of them were ended with the first blow.
Q: WHAT ABOUT VISUAL EFFECTS AND SETTING UP THE SCENE FOR FILMING AND HOW YOU PLANNED TO USE THEM IN YOUR PROJECT?
When making the storyboard I already planned on what I had to do with each shot in post, when shooting them I tried to make sure we had the right camera angle so that I would be able to add the effects later. I also had some other people make a lot of pictures of the fake corpses and stuff which I could use later in the post.
Q: HOW YOU WILL FEEL YOURSELF ON THIS PROJECT: LIKE A DIRECTOR, SUPERVISOR, ILLUSTRATOR, VFX MAKER OR ALL INCLUDED?
I felt like all of them, I guess.
Q: CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL WORKFLOW WHEN YOU’RE WORKING ON ANY PROJECT OR ILLUSTRATION?
I usually start brainstorming, I make some sketches and write some things down. When I really start to like one of them, I refine it and after that it's time to make it.
Q: WHAT KINDS OF SOFTWARE, YOU PREFER TO USE IN YOU WORK ON THIS PROJECT?
I did almost everything in Adobe After Effects, even the poster was mostly made in it. The castle was made in Blender, which is open source modeling software.
Q: DO YOU HAVE A LIST WITH FAMOUS ILLUSTRATORS, DIRECTORS WITH YOU WANT TO TALKING OR WORKING TOGETHER AND WHY?
Woodkid: He's a great source of inspiration for me, and I think his work is awesome. Anyone from Weta workshop: I would really like to ask them if I could get some kind of internship there.
Q: CAN YOU GIVE AN ADVICE OR SHARE ANY PROFESSIONAL SECRET/EXPERIENCE WITH OUR READERS?
I wish I could tell you about a secret shortcut I discover that magic keys out green soldiers from a green-screen. Unfortunately, I didn't discover one. One thing I learned from making despair is that it's good to work together with other creative people, some things you can't do on your own, and something just ends up a lot better when you ask someone to help you.