Filmmaking team brings excitement to short films

The scene opens on old black-and-white footage. A spaceship hurtles towards Earth, bringing mystery with it. This is a short film with a lot of character, called “Battle of the Big’uns: Kongoro the Indestructible.”

The film’s masterminds are CFHS seniors Luke Kreger and Tarrell Christie. They’ve made dozens of films, often featuring fellow students as actors.

Produced under the name LT Shorts, Kreger and Christie first started filmmaking in September 2011. Their interest started before that, however. Kreger took acting classes as a kid. Christie watched a “making of” documentary as a child and was immediately inspired. “[I]t really just amazed me how much went into a movie because you never really think about it,” Christie said. Using birthday money, Christie bought a camera and soon started production on his first movie, called “Ghost Rider vs. Catwoman.”

Today, their filming process has greatly changed. The films are now shot on a Panasonic SD90 HD camera. The team plans to update to Canon Rebel cameras soon. Using tripods, microphones, lights and green screens, the team carefully films and edits the footage using Sony Vegas. Christie typically edits footage while Kreger creates a soundtrack using programs like GarageBand and Pro Scores.

Coming up with ideas, writing and directing are a team effort and require significant time and dedication. The editing process varies from project to project, depending on the length of the film. A shorter video could take a night or two of editing, while larger videos have taken up to 60 hours to edit, according to Christie. “There’s never a dull moment during editing, though, because you finally get to see your movie come to life, and you always learn something new with each video when editing,” Christie said.

The characters in the films are often played by the pair themselves. In those cases, one will switch roles and act while the other films the scene. Family and friends often play major roles. However, they’re open to working with other aspiring actors that are interested.

Kreger’s favorite films he’s worked on range from “Slender” to “Bio-Bluh 2” to “Legend of Out Realm 2.” Both Kreger and Christie cite their recent film “Battle of the Big’uns: Kongoro the Indestructible” as a personal favorite. “[A]s a kid I always loved writing stories about the classic monster movies I grew up on like ‘King Kong vs. Godzilla.’ I felt that video really captured the spirit of those movies,” Christie said.

The pair’s inspiration includes superhero, monster, science fiction and other classic movies. Filmmakers like Peter Jackson, Kevin Smith, Christopher Nolan and Ishiro Honda also inspire their films. Real life experiences and music also lend a hand in the creation of ideas. “I draw a lot of inspiration from the films of my childhood because that’s where film really had the biggest impact on me,” Christie said.

Issues are often unavoidable during the film and editing process. Weather plays a large role, interrupting the flow of filming. It can be tough channelling focus onto a video, Christie said. “[Y]ou’ll start filming one but then all of a sudden inspiration will strike for another, and then the focus tends to shift towards that video instead of the one you’re working on.”

Both Kreger and Christie plan to continue filmmaking after high school. Kreger hopes to study film at the University of Iowa and go into directing film. Christie also plans to make movies throughout college. “[A]fter that I plan on going to film school to increase my experience and hopefully turn it into a career,” Christie said.

Christie and Kreger make their videos with the goal of entertaining people and providing an escape from the everday world. “The only message I could really want for people to take away from our videos is just to be happy and have fun,” Christie said. “If I was able to inspire or take someone away from any troubles they were having for even a few minutes and have them leave my video feeling better, then I feel I succeeded as a filmmaker.”

Class of 2014

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