This month, with the aid of Swedish director Tomas Mankovsky, I delve into the more technical aspects of certain filmmaking mediums. So for all you camera nerds, come geek out with me. Not to worry there's plenty of the usual for everyone else, and I've tried to make the technical stuff fairly intuitive.

Tomas Mankovsky found himself directing via a rather abnormal path. The fledgling director began his career studying graphic design and advertising - "I realised there was something called advertising where one could make money from ideas" - before being offered a job at Fallon in London where he began working as a creative, "My plan was to stay in London for 1-2 years and then move back to Sweden, but now, 9 years later I'm still here."

Becoming somewhat disenfranchised with the bureaucracy attached to his vocation Tomas was faced with a dilemma, "It was hard work but very rewarding. However, I noticed that the higher I climbed, the more I got removed from the creativity and instead plates of politics appeared on the table." Cap in hand, Tomas left advertising to pursue a directing career, "that was in 2009, and this new 'job' is still floating, I'm loving it."

Throughout my conversations with Tomas he persistently refers to his career as his "new job", in a rather exuberant and endearing manner. It seems the Swedish director has become enamored with his job, perhaps part of him needing a pinch to believe it true.

Tomas lists the likes of Michel Gondry, Jonathan Glazer, Spike Jonze and Chris Cunningham among his directorial influences, "those guys were creating groundbreaking stuff. Pretty amazing with their Directors Label. These guys were actually selling copies of their showreels, and I amongst many others paid to get a copy."

It's easy to see these influences in Mankovsky's work from the Gondry-like animation, which we will come to later, to the more Cunningham infused promo for Dancing Pigeons track 'Ritalin'. Its darkly comic tone, exhilarating visuals and disturbingly intriguing characters, captivate, and I've followed Tomas Mankovsky's work ever since.

Despite its explosive aesthetics, Tomas explains that it was in fact a low-budget production, "we needed to secure some additional funds to be able to pull it off. And then this collaboration with Diesel fell in to place, where the theme for their new collection was Fire & Water. So they chipped in some extra money, not a lot, but enough for us to manufacture a flamethrower, rent a camera and some lights."

To achieve the exaggerated flames in the video Tomas had to go to a special effects company to manufacture the flamethrower to his specifications, "first we tested gas but the flame was only 3-4 meters and I knew we needed something more like 15-20 meters. So the SFX started from scratch and built this new thing that used two different fuels, and it had a good range."

To achieve the slow-motion cinematics in the video, Mankovsky and his team shot on the Phantom camera at a dazzling 1000fps, which comes with a laundry list of complications as Tomas explains, "Shooting at that frame rate means you need a lot of light, as there's not a lot of light entering the lens 'per frame'." With the exceedingly fast frame rate Tomas and his Director of Photography would have to blast a lot of light onto the scene, to ensure that each of those one thousand frames captured each second were correctly exposed.

Simple enough right? Just park a few massive lights then? Not quite... the flame from the flamethrower was so hot that it completely burnt out the image, "it was just a white shape during our tests." What followed was some expert finessing from Tomas and his DP, "using filters in the middle of the frame to counteract the light from the fire. The car then had to be shot separately and composited over the big film lights." The resulting effect is that the detail in the fire remains, without losing the background from the image.

From super-fast frame rates to surpassingly slow. Tomas began filmmaking with the use of stop-motion cinema. His short film Sorry I'm Late combines this single frame technology with a skewed perspective to result in a whimsical and extremely inventive three-minute journey.

Tomas explains for The 405 readers how stop-motion is employed:

It's pretty much the simplest form of animation. Like when one used to draw a little figure in the corner of each page of a book, in school. Then quickly flick the pages and the little character would explode in a simple kind of animation. Stop motion works in the same way, but with a still camera. So one takes a picture, then change the motif a little bit. Then a new photo is taken, this keeps going for days, weeks or months until the sequence is finished."

All these single frames delivered in quick succession means the brain interprets them as continuous movement. Tomas shot the film on a Canon DSLR triggered by a laptop and then exported the images into After Effects, which arranges them into an animation.

Using both still photography and live video footage in his music video for Mint Julep track 'Why Don't We', the promo shares a similar dark tone to the previous Dancing Pigeons video, as Tomas exhibits his talent for creating an eerie atmosphere.

This might not have always been the case for this particular video, as the director clarifies the collaborative process with the band, "I already had the basic idea and did a test in a park, so the artist quickly got a feel of what I had in mind. The film was set in daylight originally (as it's easier to get better exposure for the stills) but the band were keen to make the film darker and moodier. So together we shaped this nighttime moonlit version."

There is a strong dichotomy in Mankovsky's work between the light, playful stop-motion and the darker live action music promos. Tomas acknowledges that, "in the long run my aim is to open it up and rather than have a Yin/Yang showreel, also have layers in between."

Amongst music videos Tomas Mankovsky has directed commercials for the likes of IKEA, Robinsons and O2. Most of which can be viewed on his website. As well as his very first short, 'Little Big Love' about a tiny robot who falls in love with a kettle.

It's refreshing to see a talented and creative director who still harbors a love and excitement for filmmaking: "That's what's so nice with my new 'job', one can have tons of fun along the path. If only more people knew one can get paid to play all day!"


Tomas Mankovsky is represented by Blink Productions in the UK.