Dorian & Daniel direct ‘In Our Hands’ for Erste Bank.
A beautiful and devastating display of urgent problems facing our world.
Words from Dorian & Daniel below.
What kinds of research did you do in preparing the visual elements?
D&D: The idea was inspired by two Swiss artists who craft and photograph hyper-realistic miniature recreations of famous photographs and events. We loved the photo-realistic approach and the level of detail they create. Combining this with the real world surrounding creates a strange feeling. Like a small world in the real world. The tools and the workshop act as a part of the creative process and embrace the idea of the hand-made feeling.
The tools and the workshop act as a part of the creative process and embrace the idea of the hand-made feeling.
As the initial agency brief was very open we approached them with the idea of using miniatures instead of showing real-life or found footage. We liked that through this more artistic approach the viewer feels even more of the devastation and leaves you with an ambivalent feeling.
Do you have any advice for filmmakers interested in collaborating with model makers in the future?
D&D: Trust the process and prepare to get your hands dirty. That’s probably not a general rule but this is what we have personally learned. We have to say that we worked with our friend and production designer, Adrian Cristea, which made it a lot easier because we trust him. On a project like this, you don‘t have as much control as a director because if your main actor is the miniature, you are relying completely on the craft that goes into it… and if it doesn‘t work there isn’t much you can do about it.
Trust the process and prepare to get your hands dirty. That’s probably not a general rule but this is what we have personally learned.
Tim Burton and Wes Anderson were working at the time of the shoot, so nearly all of the miniature crews were already busy when we started prepping the project. Our team was fairly small and as always you don‘t have much time. In the end, we rolled up our sleeves and tried to help as much as we could.
You mention that it was strange “finding the beauty” building these miniature sets. Can you expand on this?
D&D: Trying to make those little sets look as beautiful as possible somehow felt wrong when what it actually depicted was so miserable. But that was our approach.
We wanted to draw the viewer in by creating those fascinating little dioramas but at the same time, we tried to keep the devastation that is the core of each scenario. You could say we wanted them to stay as real as possible, not polishing them in any way, but at the same time finding the beauty within those scenes through composition and lighting.
Was the single take as smooth and easy as it looks? Is it a single take?
D&D: It kind of was, but also not. The great thing was that we had a whole day before the actual shooting day to set up and program a motion control system. We were lucky to have Julian Hermannsen who is a great and quick operator and worked closely with us and DP Jake Scott. We arranged the set while simultaneously working on the transitions to make everything look as smooth as possible.
What didn’t work in one shot was the ending because the motion control system would have looked at itself when turning. So there might be a hidden cut where we went from motion-control to Steadicam.
What are you reading at the moment?
D&D: We came across ’Tuesdays with Morrie‘ and it’s such a fantastic, well-written, and touching piece.
- Adrian Cristea
- Production Designer
- Director of Photography
- Production Company