Benoit Daoust - Mini longueuil

3:51, 2011, Experimental
Here we have a saying “Le Grand Longueuil”, due to that our city is a mix of many cities. Since I’ve only filmed the original Longueuil, which is now called “Old Longueuil” it’s more the “Small Longueuil” and so... why not call it “Mini-Longueuil”.

I’ve pushed hard on the miniature style with this montage and I find it works on many levels. The only problem that I had was to get high enough to make it work!!! I went to the university but I did not have the right to film there. I then went to many other buildings but the entrances were locked. Many of them had no windows and or stairs cases sooooo.... It was getting a bit tricky. But I got an amazing spot and filmed the majority of it there. Honestly I was super lucky to find this location.
DirectorBenoit DaoustProducerBenoit Daoust


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Who is Benoit Daoust?
That’s a hard question! The thing is that what I do and what I am is pretty much everything and anything. I was a architecture technician that got bored of it and became an artist. So (for now) I’m a 28 years old painter, photographer and the most important, a videographer, editor and director. I’m also touching a bit of design and script writing. I was a BIG fan of extreme sports so if you google my name you might find some videos of me with rollerblades doing some illegal things. I’m still loving this sport, it’s just my body that refuses to follow me.

What is your film Mini-Longueuil about?
Because DSLR don’t need to use tapes (like all my older cameras), I can do time-lapse for "free" and experiment more. Mini-Longueuil is my second try of doing a "miniature style" video. This is actually just a test but is was so good that it became a project. I just left my house at around 2PM and went to film at highest points as possible where there is interesting things to film. I came back home at around 6PM with so much good footage that I decided to do the edit right away and publish it ASAP. It’s a successful test!

How did you start with film? And do you have an educational background in art or film?
I’ve started my career in architecture being a technician and drawing plans for Home Depot and other huge building. The thing is that those building are very boring when it’s time to do the construction details so I got bored and also fired because of not enough work. While I was studying architecture at the college, I was also infiltrating video and film class so I learned how to edit and film a bit during this class. The best thing to do! I mean, you learn how to do it but you don’t have to worry about exams and having a good average! So, when I got fired, I decided to take it as a sign and try to do what I love the most which was to do videos. Then I bought my first video camera (Canon GL1) and learned a lot doing my first DVD. It was a success so I got a bit of money back from this project and used the DVD as a demo to have more projects. This worked for me so I became a professional videographer in the same year. With time, my first GL1… and second one broke. Then I got a Xh-A1 that also broke. I’m finally using the best thing in the world… DSLR camera. This completely changed the way I film. I got more motivation, more projects, more ideas, more everything. So right now I can say that I am a professional videographer with too many ideas and projects in mind!

How long do you usually work on one project?
It’s impossible for me to answer to this since I’m working on a project for more than a year and I know it will not be finished before 2015 and Mini-Longueuil took me about 12 hours from the original idea to the final result. But usually, I prefer just to leave my house with something in mind, to film it and to do the same day edit. The thing is that I’m the kind of person that just can’t wait to see the final result. So in general, I do a lot of small projects so I keep the motivation to do the bigger projects.

Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?
Internet is important to try new stuff or to learn new techniques. This is what I did for Mini-Longueuil. My best ideas came from looking for new techniques and then using these techniques for something different. Let’s say I want to do a timelapse, well…l why not doing it HDR or through the viewfinder of an other camera. What I mean is that I really don’t like to copy other people’s work so when I do something, I always try to make it in a different way. Mini-Longueuil was a test… I’m inspired now and I have an idea of doing something crazy.

How did you achieve this miniature style, and could you explain how that works?
Miniature style is very simple when you think about it. The only thing, you have to understand it before to start recording it. First thing was to look for some hight point of view and film people or human activity. The key thing is to frame the subject as much a possible like if it was on the kitchen table. Then, when you speed it up by 4 times the original speed and add the fake depth of field (tilt shift), the result is amazing. You have to also boost the colours so it looks more like toys. There is only one thing I did not try was to add a "stroke" effect which is pretty much like to export the video 12frames/sec to have this "animated toys" effect.

What challenges or problems did you encounter while making this film?
Getting as high as possible was by far the biggest problem I had. I learned that security really don’t like to see you filming people from a window so I got kicked out of all the buildings you can see in the video ending (fisheye angle). I’ve been so lucky to find this last secret spot. The major part of the video has been filmed there. I’m sure it was illegal so I’ll keep it a secret if you don’t mind!

Which technical parts are more important to you as a filmmaker; the editing, camera, sound etc?
For sure like I said, the camera became very important to me. Filming HD changed a lot of thing to me since I can get so much more details out of it. Also, DSLR is on good thing because it’s "free" to film (no tapes). One more thing, good lens… good lens… good lens!
The sound is also important but not that much for artistic videos. I use a professional audio recorder for my commercial work. I also got a good quality tripod to do this video. I’ve tried to do timelapses with a 50$ tripod and it never worked for me.

What are you working on now?
I’m doing a lot of weddings for many reason. Weddings are a crazy source of inspiration and to be able to capture all the important moments with the natural light means that you have to be quick and know your equipment so I’m always learning. It’s also a good source of money and fun to meet people during these days. About my other personal or commercial projects well… there are too many right now and some are still secrets.
I’m planning to shoot a HDR time-lapse with a friend next weekend, I’m writing a television series with 5 other friends, I’m working on a iPad application… so many things! In the future I want to live of the money that fun projects will give me. No boring projects, even if it paid well, that’s my way of thinking. Hope it will work !

Visit my blog http://www.aetb.wordpress.com

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