"Filming in the street requires a flexible and discreet tool"

"Filming in the street requires a flexible and discreet tool"

Violet Field inHigh TechDec 27, 2020 5 min read1 views

Filming volunteers for the Restos du cœur Instagram account is what documentary director Sébastien Haddouk is working on, who explains to "20 Minutes" c

Sébastien Haddouk, director of a series of portraits filmed on the iPhone for the Restos du Coeur Paris - DR
  • The Restos du cœur Paris operate with the help of 2,500 volunteers and to highlight their work, director Sébastien Haddouk is starting a series of video portraits dedicated to them on Instagram.
  • Particularity: this series is filmed without means, with a simple smartphone.
  • The director explains how he did it.

Known for having produced Hipstérie (Paris Première) which probes what clothes can tell about the world in which we live, as well as Cagole forever (Canal +), which analyzes what the dress tells about the person, Sébastien Haddouk launches for the Instagram account of Restos du Coeur Paris a series of portraits of volunteers. Made with a smartphone, these mini-documentaries aim to make the work of these people known, but also to motivate them in their action.

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What is the series of short films you are making for the Restos du cœur Paris?

This is a volunteer project… aimed at motivating their volunteers! It was the artistic director Julien Gallico with whom I worked a lot in advertising and in fashion * who asked me to think of short films to feed the Instagram account of Restos du cœur Paris. I wanted to make portraits of these people who give of their time, with prominent personalities. The first portrait is dedicated to Françoise who takes care of the “pick-up” logistics in the warehouses. These 4-minute mini-portraits tell the story of why people like them to volunteer and want to encourage them in their actions.

What technical biases for filming these volunteers?

As the project was also voluntary and without a budget, it was not possible to mobilize costly means. The idea was also that the result should not be too amateurish. Having already produced a series for Lancôme with an iPhone 5C, I asked Apple if it was possible to benefit from a newer iPhone for the filming at Restaurants. An iPhone 11 Pro was thus offered to us. In addition, I was lucky to have in my possession a Zoom (an audio recorder) and HF microphones for the sound.

What are the advantages of filming with a smartphone?

Filming volunteers in the street requires a flexible and discreet tool. The smartphone is always in our pocket. It does not require complicated installation. And we manage to obtain a quality which is diffusable. Here I used a selfie stick as a stand. Originally, I was thinking of filming with a DJI camera, but they cannot shoot in 9:16 (in vertical format, which is the one commonly used on smartphones). It was therefore not viable for a vertical IGTV video to a story on Instagram.

What does the iPhone bring to this type of filming?

I filmed in 2K (1080p at 30 frames per second). You can make artistic blur thanks to the Portrait mode accessible in the video. You just need to get closer and focus on a very precise place to obtain an effect of depth of field. It is very simple. You have to have fun with the depth of field, try to create blurs behind, to frame.

Françoise from Restos du Coeur Paris, the first volunteer in a series of video portraits on Instagram. - CAPTURE

What advice can you give to people who want to get started in video with their smartphone?

We must not try to reproduce, but use the constraint as something artistic. Also, video noise (pixels appearing at high zoom or low light) can look very nice inside an image. We must try to find the pixel in the image. This can be part of texture quality. And it can also give a symptomatic effect of an era under the digital reign. The same in terms of colors. We did not use filters, but we did a calibration to have a uniform image.

The result of your first portrait offers a very "pro" rendering. How did you work in post-production?

We edited it on Premiere (Adobe's software) and used Da Vinci as our grading software. This ensured broadcast quality. You can also edit with Apple iMovie which allows you to correct the colors. In the beginning, all my little films made with this software. Then there is one boring thing: phones shoot at 30 fps when you are at 25 fps on movie editing tables. You have to do transcoding.

When will we see a sequel to these portraits for the Restos du cœur Paris?

As everyone is a volunteer, it is a little according to the availability of each one. But the second film is in preparation. I asked Apple if it was possible to take advantage of a second terminal for the next shoots. The idea would be to play on tight shots and other wider ones, that is to say on two values. We're going to do an alternate montage of lots of volunteers answering questions about "what is it to be a volunteer?" ". In total, we plan to do five portraits that will stir the collection, the collection, the marauding ... The goal is to feed the Instagram account of the Restos du cœur Paris on a regular basis. A simple question can become a film in itself.