Elemental Trailer – Lena-Carolin Lohfink: Producer

Lena-Carolin Lohfink is a highly motivated and committed next-generation Animation/Effects Producer studying at Animationsinstitut of the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. She is passionate about project and time management, versed in scheduling and extremely enthusiastic about supporting and motivating team members in order to produce award-winning films.

FMX: What attracted you towards the project? What made you want to take on the role of the producer of Elemental?

L: Thinking back, I would say it was Adrian's idea and ambition to produce something new and outstanding that simply appealed to me. I liked the first concept, the further visual development, the technological challenge and the sense of contributing to something of great value with all its facets. As I'm studying Animation/Effects Producing at Animationsinstitut of the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg it was obvious for me to take the role of the producer. And because I had already produced smaller scale real life films, but had little experience with visual effects, this project was perfect for me to further develop my skills and take them to the next level.

FMX: Can you tell us more about the development of Elemental from a technical/organizational point of view?

L: Elemental had the perfect approach to combine the art of a real life dance performance with motion capture technology and CG images in a visual effects project. We started developing the visuals and the performance in November 2015. For a motion capture and dance performance test in December we had also cast dancers, looked for locations and done some research for the VFX. We finally shot the film in January 2016 with a great team of around 30 people – first a shoot featuring Motion Capture and nCam Technology, then a second shoot of the four elements/dancers. Immediately afterwards, we started our post-production with a PostVis and clean up/editing of the data. We had time until March to bring it all together and finish the film (including sound design & music). As we had a very tight schedule, we all needed to stay focused and motivated to keep our deadlines throughout the project. I tried to learn the basics of VFX very fast, so that I was able to concentrate on dailies, weeklies and milestones. I created production plans, to-do lists and task sheets for the crew. However, I wouldn't have been able to do all the other relevant tasks without support, which is why I brought in two scenic producers from the Filmakademie, who fully supported me with the casting and daily business of planning a real life shoot.

FMX: In what way did you get involved in the creative process behind Elemental?

L: As a producer I normally don't like getting too involved in the creative process, because I like having a more distant overview of things as a whole instead of getting bogged down in the details. I enjoy watching people doing what they are fantastic at, giving them space to do it and giving them hints now and then towards a goal-oriented development, so that they can complete their tasks to the best of their abilities. In the case of Elemental I overlooked the visual and conceptual progress, every pipeline step, and always wanted to know how the team and the artists felt about their work. If I had the feeling that we were on the right track, we continued. Otherwise I discussed my suggestions with everyone. Creative Producing isn't something I've had much experience with before, but I'm getting better with each project.

FMX: What was your biggest challenge during the project and how did you overcome it?

L: Producing Elemental for me meant not only managing a project in a completely new environment, but also producing visual effects for the first time. I had already produced smaller scale real life films, but I had little experience with visual effects. Fortunately, my experience with traditional film gave me a good base to stand on and kept me motivated in the midst of all the new things around me and challenges of learning VFX in very little time. I particularly enjoyed uniting the different personalities on my team - some of them already had a background in VFX, others in art or even in programming. Everyone had their own vision, thoughts, wishes and expectations for the project and it was my job to unify them all and lead them to one cohesive product. Being able to work under pressure, to solve problems and motivate the production team 24/7 are skills you´ll always need as a producer, no matter what kind of project you do.

FMX: What are you currently working on?

L: Currently I’m finalizing two projects - the first one is a 2D animated short film called The Dance and the second one a political thriller with VFX elements called Zorn dem Volke for which we're currently putting the finishing touches on the VFX breakdown. I’ve been working on both projects as Animation/Effects Producer for the last year and they're both going to be screened at the FMX 2017 Filmakademie panel. In addition, I'm in the preproduction phase for two fully CG short films, Evangeline and Ratatoskr as well as transitioning into the production phase on a third project called Blieshow which is a 2D short film. On top of all that, you'll all be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor on the print- and online campaign, as well as the Elemental inspired performance at the gala-dinner for the FMX 2017 which I've produced.

Photo credits: Karl Kubik

Photo credits: Michael Vogel

FMX is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the City of Stuttgart and MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, taking place in cooperation with the VES Visual Effects Society and ACM SIGGRAPH, supported by the Animation Media Cluster Region Stuttgart (AMCRS), Autodesk, Backstage, Epic Games/Unreal Engine, Foundry, Mackevision and ScanlineVFX. FMX is an event by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by Animationsinstitut, hosting the Animation Production Days (APD), a joint venture with the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS).

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