Lau Nau: Kuoleman tappajan kuolema

Directed by Sami Sänpäkkilä
Cinematography by Timo Heinänen
Gaffer: Alpo Nummelin
Best boy: Anna-Mari Nousiainen
Stylist: Udi Salminen
Catering, runner: Ninni Luhtasaari

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Kuoleman tappajan kuolema was relatively ambitious project taken into account I had very little budget for it. I ended up applying for some funding from ESEK that was succesful. This allowed us to rent a proper camera, hire a professional cinematographer Timo “Tinde” Heinänen and also buy some props. It’s been a while since my first video for Lau Nau released in 2008. That was one of the first shoots with my then brand new Sony EX1 camera. For this Lau Nau video we hired a Sony FS700 which I ended up buying for myself as well.

The script

First idea that came to my head months ago was to bury Laura in the ground. I begun the project by writing the script based on that simple idea. I had a pretty elaborate plan to shoot it outdoors but as time went by and the winter started creeping in I realised we just couldn’t do it. So I decided we do it indoors in a studio. This freed up a lot of the restrictions. I added the setting sun and the rising moon in to the script and generally made a very theatrical setting for the video. The final scene where Laura is reborn was added at quite the last-minute to the video. But as it was all gonna be very theatrical we didn’t have to bother with making it look real, just interesting.

Cinematography and lighting

Timo “Tinde” Heinänen who shot the video is a professor of cinematography at TAIK and has shot over 20 feature films. So he had the knack to be fast and get the light right in no time. Alpo who set up the lights and myself learned a whole lot on this shoot. Some of the lighting setups we wouldn’t have dared try ourselves. We had my Cinelights and a few reflectors, we had a projector that was playing back the sun and the moon backgrounds and we had my small LED camera light. The moon scenes with Laura look absolutely stunning and the only thing for light was two 350W tungstens. One as backlight and one was aimed to a styrofoam reflector that gave the main light for Laura.

Clothing and set design

Udi Salminen was in charge of clothing and props. Mine and her ideas about how the video should look immediately clicked so it was a pleasure to just leave a few aspects of the video in her talented hands. Anna-Mari Nousiainen who assisted Alpo was extremely helpful for the project. She’s the stand in for Laura in the rebirth scene and did most of the set’s actual building.

The grave was made from peat soil that we bought from Plantagen. Just one spider crawled out of it and that’s in the video too! The dried rusty colored fern, leaves and willow-herb we got from outskirts of the city. We stuck them on to pieces of styrofoam and covered the white parts with black cloth. Very simple setup. Hardest thing was actually finding a new battery for the pocket watch we used! Everything was already closed for that day. Claes Ohlsson to the rescue where Ninni managed to source one.

The shoot

The shoot took about 8 hours. We shot it almost chronologically except for the parts where Laura rises from the grave. Those were shot just before she changed into her “rebirth” costume. The video was a little difficult to edit due to the fact that the intro before the vocals start is quite short and the end part for the rebirth is quite long. I had envisioned and written the script as chronological. First Laura rises from the grave, then sings and then the rebirth happens. But that meant there was loads of stuff happening during the intro (master shot, soil beating, the clock etc.) and then the middle is just Laura singing.

I tried to cut it this way but the pace for beginning was too fast and then not much happening other than Laura singing. So I ended up intercutting the singing parts and the rise from the grave. It works much better like that although I do in general prefer videos where the narrative doesn’t jump around. The edit is a bit too musicvideoy for my taste as it is but the only way to make the rhythm of the edit work which I deemed more important. It IS a music video after all!

The image

The image from the Sony FS700 looks absolutely brilliant. There’s many many advantages to my previous camera GH2 that is my b-cam now. The look is cleaner, slightly softer but with more resolution an d more organic and film like. It’s very close to an ideal image for web delivery. It even hold’s up a little reframing and zooming in, something the GH2 didn’t handle at all. The dynamic ratio seems pretty good. So it’s definitely a big improvement over my previous gear so am very happy about that.

Something I need to investigate is finding suitable picture profiles for different shoothing conditions. As of now I’m not truly happy with any profiles. I’m hoping to find a good one for shooting in the dark and one for daylight shots with loads of light where overexposed areas are unavoidable. There’s also the much-lauded 240 and 480fps slow motion function that’s unsurpassed in this price range. We only used it in one or two shots in this video but I’ll be using it in the future for sure. If you’re interested in renting the camera just contact me.

Thanks to Timo, Alpo, Udi, Ansku and Ninni for doing a great work on the video!

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