Introducing Martin Larsen - community manager from Norway

The cteam is growing and so is the focuspulleratwork.com forum. So we thought it`s time to introduce the latest community manager, Martin Larsen from Norway. Martin has visited us back in May and we spent 2 days together. Besides that, he was also the first, who could get his hands on the cPRO ONE system. To introduce him, we have asked him some questions and he also sent us his first review about the cPRO ONE. Because his girlfriend is working as a wine and food tasting journalist, we think he might has mixed up some parts in the review. Enjoy!

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About Martin Larsen

  • Date of birth: January 9th 1986

  • Residence: Oslo, Norway

  • Pulling focus since: 2008

  • cteam member since: 2018

  • Favorite LCS: cmotion cPRO and ARRI WCU-4

  • Left/Right handed: right handed

  • Favorite cameras: ARRI Alexa mini, ARRI Alexa LF

  • Favorite Lenses: ARRI UP, Canon K35, Bausch & Lomb Super Baltar, Cooke Speed Panchro, ARRI Signature Primes

Interview

Welcome, Martin!  Thanks for taking time to visit us here in Vienna. Before we start asking any questions, please tell us a little something about yourself.

I have been fascinated by movies and tech stuff for as long as I can remember. While I was in the military (which is mandatory here in Norway) at age 18, I applied for a film school in Los Angeles. I got accepted and moved there the year after. That was a great learning experience for me. I was able to dip my toe in every department of a film production and quickly found my place in the camera department. I really liked the technical side and found myself pulling focus on many of the productions we did at film school. Being able as a focus puller to direct where the audience sees on the big screen was a fascinating thought to me. When I moved back to Norway, I started pretty quickly working as a focus puller, small jobs to start but soon I got better and better, it didn’t take long until it was sustainable to be a focus puller full time. Now 11+ years later (dang time flies huh?) I still enjoy every day on set.    


How did you first learn your skills and what did you do to keep getting better?

Work, work, work! To be a focus puller is not an easy job most times. To be honest, it’s one of the hardest jobs on a film set. To me the prep before a shoot is key. Get to know the camera, the sensor and most important the lenses you are shooting on. Understanding how different cameras work with different lenses is crucial. This is even more important now that Large Format soon is becoming the norm. Skills is a balance of practice and experience. I always try to be one step ahead of the DP, and I get my assistant to be 1 step ahead of me because what we do is ultimately team work. 


What was the biggest project you have worked on, or you are most proud of?    

I feel lucky an honored to been working on commercials, tv-series and features all over the world but the project that I am proudest of is a small, little indie film called DRIB. A true story about a global marketing campaign gone horribly wrong (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyl6N-QlwMU). A DP I’ve worked with for many years and good friend Håvard Byrkjeland asked me if I wanted to do a feature/mockumentary. 3 shooting days in Oslo, Norway and 6 weeks in Los Angeles. For me, shooting a feature film in the city that I went to film school was sort of a “the circle is closed” moment so I jumped on it. It was a challenge, shooting Zeiss UP lenses at f.1.9 pretty much all the time and long takes going 15-20 minutes. But I enjoyed every second of it. Being able to attend the world premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas was not bad either. 


Which wireless lens control systems have you been working with lately?

For the last 5-6 years I’ve been working on the ARRI SXU-1 and WCU-4. Most of that on the WCU-4, that seems to be the norm when it comes to wireless lens control here. I’ve been following the cPRO line from cmotion since it was shown on IBC in 2017 and I couldn’t have been happier with how it’s turned out! I love that cmotion is a company that caters and cares for professional focus pullers, and therefore for me, cmotion is a step up from other brands.  


In Norway, especially in the winter time, you have very unique conditions. Maybe you can share some tips, of how you protect yourself and the equipment in extreme weather conditions, like cold?

Ha ha, yeah welcome to the north! To protect myself from wind, snow or rain I make sure to wear proper clothing suitable for the conditions I will be working in. I´ve invested in some really high-tech clothing to be able to handle every situation. In the winter time I usually wear layered woolen clothes and a down jacket, but the most important thing is to keep your feet and hands warm. It´s scary how fast you start to freeze if you are not protected! I make sure to visit the tent with heating provided by the production, especially before long takes. Another tip is to bring something hot to drink. My favorite is hot chocolate because it also gives me energy. The cameras we use (ARRI ALEXA) are designed to endure temperatures down to minus 30 degrees Celsius, but the batteries are another story. They won´t last as long as they usually do, which is why I always bring a double set of batteries to be sure. Also, make sure to take care of the batteries in the cold, bring them inside your jacket before you charge them. Cold-charging is not good! 


Is there a low shooting season, because in the lack of light? What do you do against it?

Yes, there is. In the summer time, it´s light for almost 20 hours, but in the winter time the daylight only lasts about 5-6 hours. The production companies need to make sure they take advantage of the few hours of light and often split the days up with one section outdoor shooting and one section shooting pack shots or green screen in the studio. There is also a lot of companies that move production away from Norway at this time of year. Surprisingly, Cape Town, South Africa looks a lot like some places in Norway. 

 

How do you think the focuspulleratwork forum will evolve?

I hope that more and more focus pullers will continue to join the forum so we can all help each other with any small or complex problems. That is what the forum is all about! If you are having problems with tech or anything relating to the focus puller business, the forum is the perfect place to discuss it – you´ll get your answer in a heartbeat! I hope that it continues to develop into the leading forum for focus pullers around the world and becomes the ultimate place for people to exchange ideas and tricks of the trade. 



There is a Subforum called 10 things… (which can be 10 things you have learned on set or 10 important things in your tool bag etc.)

Which 10 Things are important to you?
  • Strive to be efficient and organized

  • Be polite and friendly

  • There is a time and place for everything. Be professional 

  • Keep lenses and filters clean and protected at all times

  • Always try to be 1 step ahead of the DP

  • Work quickly, but don’t rush things

  • Always guess the distance before measuring it

  • Never run on set

  • “If you are on time, you are late” – always be there 15 minutes before call time

  • HAVE FUN!


cPRO ONE(wine)review

cPRO ONE 2019

(Vienna, Austria)

Something heady, something yellow and something vigorous rises from this cPRO ONE alongside the creaminess of oak.


The nose is subtle but this standalone 2 axis LCS reveals a fresh savoriness. Echoes of fennel seed and tangy citrus complete this as a perfect networking tool for 2 hand units to make one beautifully textured picture. 


It is on the palate that the fizzing, peppery, salty and savory nature breaks through. It is vivid and slender, energetic and bright.


And the perfect companion to the Cinefade.

 

The cPRO ONE is lovely now but certain to develop! Enjoy


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Martin Larsen, Oslo, 2019

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