Sherif Mokbel’s Guerrilla Short “Without You” with Case Study, BTS and Grading for His GH4 Footage

by Karin Gottschalk1 Comment

Dubai-based photographer, director and DP Sherif Mokbel was one of the first in the world to try out a pre-production Panasonic Lumix GH4, sharing his insights back in early May. Now he is sharing a short movie made in guerrilla mode – Without You – along with a “The Making of…” and tips on its color grading. Inspiration and education… thank you Mr Mokbel!

In his blog entry of May 2014 titled GH4: The King of the Guerrillas, Mr Mokbel’s verdict included this:

This camera could be the first step into catapulting guerrilla filmmaking into new heights. The GH4 is an undisputed heavyweight champion wrapped in a featherweight shell….

Following the first wave unleashed in 2008 with the 5D MKII, the GH4 will be the new tool that will unleash the second major wave of indie filmmakers.

Indeed! In his case study article, GH4 Guerrilla Filmmaking, Mr Mokbel writes about the ten days it took to turn concept into successful shoot with the contributed talents of fourteen friends. “Size”, he says, “does not matter, but rather dedication, efficiency and proper planning are all you need.”

The Golden Rule of Guerrilla Filmmaking according to Sherif Mokbel? Make the best use of what’s available. He ably demonstrates how he did exactly that with his BTS video on Vimeo – also available via his blog page above.

In the best guerrilla moviemaking tradition he begged, borrowed and stole what he could but he bought too – in this case a BeSteady stabilizer, a competitor to the famous MōVI M5.

Mr Mokbel also made good use of his video monopod, “the unsung hero of camera rigging” as he says. It is worth remembering this far more affordable and eminently portable alternative to sophisticated tech costing in the thousands.

The mention of Mr Mokbel’s monopod and its usefulness prompted me to go off and buy an even smaller alternative to his Manfrotto – in my case a MeFOTO WalkAbout monopod trimmed in one of my favourite colours, blue.

Burly security guards are everywhere in this city now, it seems, warning off anyone who might look like they are shooting movie footage and especially if they are carrying tripods and monopods with fluid heads, the obvious mark of a professional moviemaker. I am hoping that my GH4 sitting on top of the WalkAbout will make me look more like a feckless amateur and that splash of non-professional electric blue may well aid in that impression. Women carrying video and stills gear of any description and size are taken far less seriously here than big, beefy blokes swaggering about with HDSLRs and camcorders, I have found.

Did I say how much I love electric blue? I even wear it as nail polish. The electric blue trim on my new Benro Aero travel video tripod helped sway my decision to buy it recently. Life is too short for nothing but black and grey and the Aero 4 is strong enough to use instead of the big Miller tripod I can no longer carry alone quite so easily. The Benro is much while lighter and far smaller when its legs are folded up. Great to see that some manufacturers are making it easier for women to carry gear on location.

But enough of that personal digression. The latter part of Sherif Mokbel’s blog post is dedicated to post-production and how he edited, scored and graded his guerrilla short in a combination of Final Cut Pro X, the Neat Video denoiser, DaVinci Resolve, the ImpulZ Kodak Elite Chrome 200 VS LUT and Film Convert.

Mr Mokbel concludes his article with some sage advice – plan for the best, prepare for the worst. There is no better advice than that for the well-equipped guerrilla moviemaker. And there is little better inspiration and education in guerrilla moviemaking than what Sherif Mokbel has shared with Without You.

Without You


Via Vimeo Description:

Full Blog post:
Grading Process:

“Without you” project initiated when I was given a pre-Production Panasonic GH4 camera body to test before its global launch. Then a simple test evolved to become a short film project when I realized the great potential of the camera. It took 10 days to turn this project from a blank sheet of paper to a successful yet challenging shoot that combined the talents of 14 talented and dedicated friends.

I would love to thank all the people that made this project possible.
Stay tuned for the “making of” blog post where I will share with you all the behind the scenes fun as well as the lessons learned during the production of “Without you”

I hope you enjoy it…

Panasonic Lumix GH4

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8
Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4
Panasonic Nocticron 42.5 f/1.2

Camera Settings:
FHD at 60FPS 200 Mbps
Color Profile: CineD
Master Pedestal +15
Highlight: -5
Shadow: +5

Final Cut X

Color correction: DaVinci Resolve
Color Grading: Film Convert

The Making of “Without You”

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

Karin Gottschalk

Karin Gottschalk

Karin is a documentary moviemaker, journalist, photographer and teacher who conceived and cofounded an influential, globally-read, Australian magazine of contemporary art, culture and photography. While based in Europe, contributing to the magazine and working in advertising, she visualised a future telling the same sorts of stories with a movie camera and audio recorder. Now back in her home base in Sydney, Karin is pursuing her goal of becoming an independent, one-person, backpack multimedia journalist and documentary moviemaker. Mentorless and un-filmschooled, she is constantly learning and sharpening up her skill set.
Karin Gottschalk


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