Ben Nissen – director
I’ve been a filmmaker for most of my life. I graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2005 with a Cinematography / Documentary degree. Now I manage Groupon’s in-house video team at their Chicago headquarters. Nowhere Mind was a film I started writing back in 2012, and in 2015, we started production on it. The film was completed in the spring of 2017, and since then, we’ve been touring it around in festivals.
Film Background: Way back in the late 2000’s, I was doing some research about out-of-body experiences and how there was this school called The Monroe Institute that actually trained folks how to induce these experiences using sound waves called binaural beats. I couldn’t believe nobody had made a film about the subject matter in that way, so the basis for the film had been swirling around in my head for quite a few years, and in 2012, I started writing it. It wasn’t until 2015 when we started raising funds on Indiegogo to help us get us all the way there financially.
I’ve always been such a massive fan of the film aesthetic––the graininess, the contrast curve, and the effect it has on colors––it speaks to the gritty, rough look I knew I always wanted to go for with this project.
In many ways, Nowhere Mind is about isolation. The main character, Ivan, is slowly falling victim to mental illness and he feels very much like an outsider––that the world around him is indifferent to his situation. “Warm and inviting” is not necessarily the best way to convey that, so I aimed for “cool, colorless, and harsh.”
I used a blend of FilmConverts Kodak 5213 Vis3 stock preset and Final Cut Pro X’s in-program color correction tools. I nudged the grain up and cooled down the film stock color temperature. I then used FCPX to pull color out of the highlights, cool it down further, and crush the blacks. The final export for DCP was in 4k (Flat), and couldn’t have looked better on the big screen(s).
Some of the scenes that relied heavily on visual effects––a scene that shows a spider’s point-of-view in particular––relied very heavily on extra layers of grain to obscure imperfections and to create a stronger sense of organic textures that would have otherwise seemed too smooth or too digitally constructed (because they were). FilmConvert’s tools were invaluable in that process.