My name is Konrad Bak, and I’m a filmmaker and photographer based in Wroclaw, Poland. My work is primarily portrait photography enriched with a pinch of unique expression. Each of my photographs is a tribute to the beauty of the female body presented in unique arrangements. I also work as a freelance cinematographer on a wide range of film projects, from fine-art fashion films, comedy short films, to various commercials.
My short fashion film LOCKED is about misunderstandings and tensions that exist between different women, about the the nuances of feminine beauty, and about capturing the mood of the moment.
Name: Konrad Bak.
Currently based in: Wroclaw, Poland.
Language(s) spoken: Polish, English, German.
Occupation: Freelance cinematographer, freelance and stock photographer.
How did you get started in our industry? At the beginning it was associated with passion, but very quickly I began to see in this a new possibility to make some money realising my own fine-art projects. I spent my life developing my craft, and now my work is gradually starting to be recognized and appreciated throughout the world.
What types of productions do you mostly shoot? I work on a wide range of film projects, mostly fine-art fashion films, but also on commercials. I try to work in productions that are more appropriate to my shooting style, such as lingerie ads like this one, which was shot in 2016.
What is your dream assignment / job in our industry, and what are you really passionate about? I consider myself mainly a cinematographer and production designer. I really like to work with light on set, as well as scouting extraordinary locations.
In the work that you are presenting us, now that it is done, what would you have done differently throughout the production? Basically everything went exactly as planned. However, because LOCKED is based entirely on the Time Freeze effect (also known as Bullet Time), it was the most demanding of all my projects ever, with post-production alone taking almost 4 months.
Time Freeze is a visual effect or visual impression that detaches the time and space of a camera (or viewer) from that of its visible subject. What makes this effect so fantastic and worth recreating is the transformation of time, making it slow enough to show normally imperceptible events that you would normally not be able to capture, such as falling water drops or a flying axe. It’s also about the transformation of space, moving the audience’s point of view around the scene while the action is frozen. This effect is almost impossible with conventional slow motion, as the physical camera would have to move impossibly fast.
Here’s how I did it. While shooting the scenes, I had the models stand as still as possible. They had to hold their breath, control their blinking, as well as avoid any little movement of their fingers. I then quickly moved through the scene with a steadicam on a predetermined path while shooting at a high frame rate. At this point, this is pretty much how you would shoot an ordinary “mannequin challenge”. But the key was to add another dimension to each scene, and this was achieved using 3D CGI. The objects suspended in the air are 3D models that have been motion tracked and composed in the scene. To make each scene as real as possible, they had to be perfectly tracked with a camera focal range perspective, and then lit and color graded as they were real on the set.
I’m actually working on a similar project now, but with an intriguing story in the background. It will be a short film about nurses during the Warsaw Uprising.
What current camera, lenses and sound equipment do you use? For this particular project I used a Red Epic-X camera on a steadicam, with wireless focus control and wireless monitoring system. This was the ultimate equipment for this kind of shoot. I shot the entire project at 100fps, with the Epic-X’s detailed 5K image allowing me to achieve precise 3D motion tracking in post.
In terms of lenses, I used mainly the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, a sharp, modern type of lens that allowed me to achieve shallow depth of field and as much detail as possible.
What’s your favorite light equipment and why did you choose that kit over other solutions? I used eight Dedolight spots as key lights and some Aputure LS1 S LED panels for the ambient lighting. They are lightweight, and strong enough to make each scene bright enough for the Epic-X low light capabilities.
Do you use drones or gimbals in your productions? If so, what is the most effective way you’ve found to deploy them? I have a DJI Ronin, but I didn’t use it on this project. I find the old-style steadicams more appropriate for this kind of shooting.
What editing systems do you use? I use Adobe Premiere Pro for editing and DaVinci Resolve for coloring. Sometimes I also use After Effects for fancy stuff like intros.
How much of your work do you shoot in Log and what is your preferred way of colour correcting? I always shoot in RAW (RedLogFilm), because that way I get the most out of the camera. REDCODE RAW allows me to easily adjust and manipulate the image metadata, and push the limits without compromising the initial image quality.
How frequently do you travel, and do you have any tips when it comes to packing your gear? My style of filmmaking is based on locations not far away of Wroclaw. If I leave Poland, it’s mostly for leisure, in which case I prefer another setup, such as a Sony a7SII on a Moza Air gimbal system, though I’m really not a travel-blog kind of videographer.
You can see more of Konrad Bak’s work at www.konradbak.pl.