IN UK & US MARKETS WHAT’S NEW
December 2018 £4.99
LARGE FORMAT All existing cameras rated WALKING IN SPACE Virtual reality gets a shove
FIRST TEST RED HYDROGEN ONE
New Lisbeth gets LARGE treatment
PLUS! BRAW IN POST // ONE-TAKE WONDERS // CHANNEL 4 MOVES NORTH // BEASTS POST BLACKMAGIC 4K The end for hybrid cams? P54
EDITORIAL Editor Julian Mitchell 01223 492246 firstname.lastname@example.org Editor In Chief Adam Duckworth Contributors Phil Rhodes, Gary Adcock, Adam Garstone Chief sub editor Beth Fletcher Senior sub editor Siobhan Godwood Sub editor Felicity Evans ADVERTISING Sales Director Matt Snow 01223 499453 email@example.com Sales Manager Krishan Parmar 01223 499462 firstname.lastname@example.org Key Accounts Nicki Mills 01223 499457 email@example.com DESIGN Design Director Andy Jennings Designer Lucy Woolcomb Senior Designer & Production Manager Flo Thomas Ad Production Man-Wai Wong PUBLISHING Managing Directors Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook @definitionmagazine Twitter @definitionmags Instagram @definitionmags MEDIA PARTNERS & SUPPORTERS OF BRIGHT PUBLISHING LTD, BRIGHT HOUSE, 82 HIGH STREET, SAWSTON, CAMBRIDGESHIRE CB22 3HJ UK
DOP Ed Moore’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K has gone straight to work as a head cam .
W hen was the last time you bought a small camera? Was it for stills with the occasional video or the other way around? If you shoot video on your hybrid camera do you ever use it for stills? We have reported on the use of small cameras for in- and on-car shooting for shows such as The Grand Tour and Top Gear , and also for shooting in tight places and for crash cams. (There’s also the continual search for a camera to avoid the GoPro look...) But is it time to look beyond the hybrid camera for something more dedicated to video? There are a couple of new video cameras that come to mind: Blackmagic’s new Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and ZCAM’s E2. The new 4K Pocket cam shoots ProRes and Raw, and might even receive Blackmagic’s new BRAW codec – you can shoot on CFast, SD and perhaps more importantly via the USB-C output to incredibly fast SSDs. There is off-speed with 120fps at HD, the interface is child’s play, and there is a dual native ISO architecture for low light. The E2 shoots 4K at 120fps and claims 16 stops with WDR activated. We haven’t tested the camera yet, but hopefully we will be for the next issue.
JULIAN MITCHELL EDITOR
Definition is published monthly by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Definition is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Definition that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Prices quoted in sterling, euros and US dollars are street prices, without tax, where available or converted using the exchange rate on the day the magazine went to press.
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SET- UP TITLE SEQUENCE The new Fantastic Beasts movie uses cinema’s biggest digital canvas. CINEALTA CELEBRATION
16 ON THE COVER THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB Claire Foy dons the leather for this new take on ‘The Girl’ movies.
A year on from the launch of Sony’s premium cinema camera, the Venice. GO NORTH Provision’s Danny Howarth on the potential of Channel 4’s move to the North. PRODUCT ION STORY FANTASTIC BEASTS 2 How Technicolor managed the workflow of this spectacular VFX movie, from dailies to deliverables. THE DESIGN OF THE ONE-TAKE Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House waited until Episode 6 for some special movement. FEATURES RENTAL SPECIAL Our annual focus on the gear rental world takes in the view from the USA. GEAR GROUP: LARGE FORMAT We look at the new and already established cameras that are pioneering the full frame and large format aesthetic. SPACE RACE 4 Virtual reality is in its infancy but it’s still frustrating that your movements are restricted within the space – until now.
GEAR TESTS BLACKMAGIC POCKET CINEMA CAMERA 4K The new 4K Pocket camera from Blackmagic Design eases in to the pro video space with some great CODEC and output options. RED HYDROGEN ONE It’s taken a while to get here but RED’s mobile cinematography revolution starts here. BLACKMAGIC BRAW PT2 In the last issue we analysed how this new Raw CODEC performed for capture. For this issue we follow the progress in post. 4K CAMERA LISTINGS Our famous camera listing now concentrates on 4K and above camera systems.
ON THE CHAISE LONGUE
Actors William Nadylam, Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston talk to director David Yates on the set of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – with various levels of interest. Katherine seems quite animated, Eddie definitely less so. Our interest lies in the tech: ARRI Rental’s Alexa 65 camera twinned with its Prime 65S lenses. Also used on the shoot were Leitz’s new Thalia lens range for large format cinematography.
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SET- UP | I NTERV I EW
CINEALTA CELEBRATION Sony’s Venice camera was launched just a year ago. We take the opportunity to look back on the legacy of the CineAlta brand ANNIVERSARY
WORDS JULI AN M ITCHELL / PICTURES SONY
I n late 1995, Rick McCallum (producer for George Lucas) bought a widescreen digital betacam from Sony to support the shooting of ‘behind the scenes’ material during their movie and television productions. George himself was highly impressed at how far digital imaging had come and he conducted some tests, taking this out to 35mm film. George said it had everything in terms of image quality for credible moviemaking – except resolution. Larry Thorpe, who was working for Sony at the time arranged a special dinner meeting in the latter part of 1996 (during an LA SMPTE Fall Conference) between a management team from Sony Japan and a large team from Lucasfilm (led by Rick). At
the end of that dinner (and a lot of intense discussion) the then leader of the Sony team, Takeo Eguchi, pledged to develop a 24p system. This would be a variant on the HDCAM system planned to be delivered to the marketplace the following year. “In early 1997, we showed George and Rick the new HDCAM camcorder and again we did film out tests. George told us that the picture quality would meet his needs and he was anxious to move forward.” On 10 March 2000, a famous film out screening was held at Skywalker Ranch (the final tests on the prototype HDW-F900) and George Lucas asked for comments from all present. At the end of the discussion, he said, ‘Lets do it’ – and the commitment was
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I NTERV I EW | SET- UP
made to shoot Star Wars: Episode II entirely in 24p. Six prototype systems were made and filming started one month later. The rest is history. When George Lucas completed principal photography on Star Wars: Episode III , he used the full prowess of the 24p standard – namely, full bandwidth 4:4:4 RGB 1920 x 1080 @ 24p. POTTED HISTORY Once Sony’s HDCAM cameras shot Star Wars , digital cinematography never looked back – especially Sony’s CineAlta brand as it became known for the very highest benchmark in moviemaking. Through the years, Sony followed the F900 with the F23 and F35 with a bigger sensor. Then the F55 and F5, which looked to be marketed to a wider audience. The F65 entered the market in 2011 with a CMOS sensor measuring 24.7x13.1mm, which generated 4096x2160 pixels. The camera was able to shoot 120fps in 4K with a data rate of 20GB/s. Directors, such as M Night Shyamalan, decided that the appearance of the F65 meant that he could finally say goodbye to film. “I couldn’t be any happier with the F65, which is amazing since I’m a ‘film guy’ and I thought I’d die a ‘film guy’. It’s a digital
media that’s warm and has humanity in it, which is obviously the most important thing to me,” he says. Belle was the first movie in the UK to be shot with the F65 and DoP Ben Smithard commented: “The amount of detail and colour it captures is breathtaking. I wanted the audience to feel the beauty of the 4K images and be involved in the story, and the F65 made that a reality. It really is a camera for the future. I plan to use it again on future film projects.” Thierry Arbogast, AFC and DoP on many of Luc Besson’s films including Fifth Element, shared his experience of shooting with the Sony F65 camera on the movie Lucy : “Until now, Luc has filmed very little in digital – just a few shots here and there for technical reasons and never a whole film. For Lucy , he wanted to take the plunge. There was no doubt that for him a huge draw was the colour fidelity and rendition of skin tones.” VITTORIO STORARO For legendary cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro, the Sony F65 was his director’s first taste of digital, too. “When Woody Allen asked me to do Café Society , he’d never done a digital capture. At that time I knew it was a chance to step up to this new digital world,” he says. “I chose the Sony F65 camera so that the image we had on-set was as close to the final image as possible. I
George Lucas asked for comments. At the end of the discussion, he said, Lets do it.
LEFT At this year’s Camerimage Sony was showing how minimal the Venice camera could go with the new extension system on an EasyRig.
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SET- UP | I NTERV I EW
had experienced the first CineAlta digital video cameras from Sony and valued the quality of the equipment – I know that what I see on-set is 90% of what I will see in finishing.” Hollywood DoP Claudio Miranda had to persuade his director, Brad Bird, on Tomorrowland to use digital as he initially wanted to use film. He says: “I was saying to him about the Sony F65 that this was a one- camera package to shoot everything and he was thrilled in the end. Now he says he was so happy that we went in this direction.” The F65 also featured in the high-frame rate experimental movie Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk as the only camera that could record the data heavy 4K 3D 120fps footage. VENICE Bringing the CineAlta legacy up to date is the Venice, which has just returned from its second Camerimage in Poland. We talked with Venice product specialist, Sebastian Leske, about how the camera had been received over the last year and what new features were coming in 2019. “The Venice started shipping at the end of February this year and it has gained a lot of interest,” says Sebastian. “The biggest compliment from our users, even at Camerimage, was that we had listened to Version 4 of the firmware is also coming next year and this will feature higher frame rates.
ABOVE Sebastian speaking at Camerimage 2018 about the Venice camera.
them, to their requests for the development of the camera. We also revealed our product roadmap, which at the moment goes up to version 4 and will be released in spring. Customers and potential customers are happy to see that requests can sometimes appear in the updates. We’re not locked into what will appear on the camera.” Sony is also seeing the Venice being used in other markets. Sebastian says: “In Version 2 we had the 25fps option, which appeals to the European market and now we are seeing the Venice appearing in Netflix productions and TV commercials. In fact, Audi has just used the camera to shoot the commercial for its new electric car, the e-tron. At Camerimage I met two DoPs who were using Venice to shoot documentaries in Norway and The Netherlands.” SENSOR EXTENSION We first saw the new sensor extension kit for the Venice at the Cine Gear show in LA, which coincided with the announcement that this version of the camera was going to be used to shoot the new Avatar movies over the next few years. Sony has
now commercialised this kit for use for everyone. “We managed to show this new arrangement as part of an in-car shooting set-up with the camera head attached to the screen,” explains Sebastian. “At Camerimage, we were showing the camera in a handheld design with left and right handles and the camera body placed in a backpack, based on an EasyRig system. It was like a DSLR-sized style. These kind of set-ups encourage DoPs to think about how they can use the camera in different ways.” FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS Venice firmware updates v3 and v4 are expected in 2019. Sebastian explained some of the new features appearing in cameras in the new year. “The new extension system will be shipping from February, at the same time Version 3 firmware will be released. New features will include cache recording and full wireless remote capability so you can control your camera from an iPad if you want. There will be simultaneous recording modes, meaning you can record at high res and also a small proxy file. “There will also be additional de-squeeze functions for the new anamorphic lenses, which are coming on to the market going up to full-frame,” says Sebastian. “We will be able to go down to the 1.25 de-squeeze of the Panavision lenses. There won’t be any limitations anymore. “In addition, there will be a new option for the X-OCN format. At the moment we have the standard and the light versions. In Version 3, we are adding an XT format for extreme recording, which has the same data rate as our F55 Raw recording, but has a higher picture quality. Again, this is based on user requests including shoots with a lot of VFX and IMAX productions. “Version 4 of the firmware is also coming next year and this will feature higher frame rates, so you can go up to 6K at 60fps, 2K up to 120fps and 4K higher than 90fps.”
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SET- UP | MA JOR BROADCAST MOVE
ABOVE It’s hoped Channel 4’s move to Leeds will benefit all of the UK and support up to 3,000 production jobs.
I n the biggest event in Channel 4’s history, which it is calling ‘4 All The UK’, the broadcaster is moving its HQ 200 miles north to the centre of Leeds. Birmingham and Manchester were also competing homes for this broadcaster’s out- of-London move, but in the end Channel 4’s chief executive, Alex Mahon, and the Channel 4 board confirmed Leeds as the location of its new national HQ, with Bristol and Glasgow its two new Creative hubs. Why Leeds? The decision was influenced by the ability to establish a presence close to independent production companies in Yorkshire and the north-east, which aren’t being served by other broadcasters. Channel 4 announced its 4 All the UK strategy in March 2018, revealing the new locations in October, with plans to move next year. Centre to the strategy is a significant increase in the organisation’s nations and regions content spend – from 35% to 50% of main channel UK commissions by 2023, worth up to £250m more in total. This increase in Channel 4’s spend will benefit all areas of the UK, not just the specific locations and will support up to 3,000 production jobs in the nations’ and regions’ economy. The new National HQ and Creative Hubs will be home to 300 Channel 4 jobs responsible for commissioning Channel 4 content and programmes from producers across the UK. The new bases are at the heart of the 4 All the UK plan to ensure that Channel 4 better represents all the UK, on- and off-screen, as well as to help further the increased nations’ and regions’ production spend. when fully established, including key creative decision makers who will be
NORTHERN BROADCASTING POWERHOUSE It’s hoped Channel 4’s decision to move its HQ from London and up the M1 to Leeds will benefit the region’s production community massively PRODUCTION FOCUS
WORDS JULI AN M ITCHELL / PICTURES WI LL GREEN
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IMAGES Channel 4’s big hits, Gogglebox and GBBO, will be moving with the broadcaster.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION In this highly competitive field, it was the broadcaster’s view that Leeds was best able to deliver Channel 4’s vision and objectives for a new National HQ. The Leeds City Region put forward a comprehensive, compelling and ambitious strategy to partner with Channel 4 and the wider sector to support growth in the production and creative industries, as well as to nurture new talent from diverse backgrounds, both in the region and across the UK. Establishing the National HQ in Leeds will enable Channel 4 to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector across northern England – and further unlock the potential for growth in the underserved east and north-east of England. It is extremely well-positioned to be a base for collaboration with producers and creative talent across other cities including Bradford, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. Leeds is already home to a thriving digital industry and a strong digital talent pool. It’s hoped that this will help support Channel 4’s new Digital Creative Unit, which will be established in the National HQ to grow the corporation’s impact and reach across digital and social media platforms. Leeds also demonstrated a commitment to work with Channel 4 to bring diverse new talent into the industry, working in partnership with other organisations and educational establishments – and through harnessing the diversity of different communities across the wider West Yorkshire region, such as Bradford.
Following discussions between Channel 4 and ITN, it has also been decided that a major new Channel 4 News hub will be established in Leeds, in a new building that will include a studio with the capability to regularly co-anchor the programme. Alex Mahon commented: “Leeds [City Region] put forward a compelling and ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4 to further build the strong independent production sector in the city and develop new diverse talent from across the region.” LEEDS PRODUCTION According to Danny Howarth of ProVision, which is based in Leeds but owned by ITV, production growth in the area can only increase with Channel 4’s move next year. “We’ve got a lot of independent production companies here, such as True North and Daisybeck, we have facilities, too, and Screen Yorkshire. ProVision has been
operating out of Leeds for about 30 years and we do get a lot of passing production across the board; drama, features, factuals and the like.” He adds: “Being an ITV-owned company, we look after the big shows, such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale . We’ve also just completed Vera and Victoria , and work with the BBC for CBeebies and also with Netflix. We stand as almost an independent label, but still part of ITV.” However, Danny is reserving final judgement until it’s known what Channel 4 is planning for in-house production. “Not knowing the ins and outs of the portfolio, it’s hard to say how much production will move up here, too. Will there be a lot purchased off third-party independents? If that’s the model, then there will be growth.” The popular series, Victoria, has moved up to Leeds completely and is now based at Church Fenton Studios with three hangars offering nearly 100,000 sq ft of internal production space. Series three has just been completed there. But Leeds is offering more than just space; crew and creative talent has been part of the scene for years. “There’s been rich production here for more than 30 years and there has been a swing to Salford with the BBC –we’re only 40 minutes from there,” says Danny. Leeds put forward an ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4
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THE G I RL I N THE SP I DER ’ S WEB | SHOOT STORY
WORLD WIDE WEB Cinematographer Pedro Luque shot the new movie from the Dragon Tattoo series with a large format aesthetic, but it wasn’t all about a shallow depth-of-field
WORDS PH I L RHODES / PICTURES COLUMB I A PICTURES
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LEFT Claire Foy on set as the film’s protagonist, Lisbeth Salander.
P edro Luque almost became an into architecture, but suddenly a friend of mine said he was going to start something. A film school.” To Luque, this made sense: he’d been interested in art photography since early childhood. “My dad is an architect and my mom is a psychologist. At home, there were always pencils and pens and paper, and I used to draw a lot. I started to go to comic book classes when I was thirteen or fourteen, and when I was 16 I used to go to painting classes... I was a fan of sci-fi, of literature in general, of comic books. And my dad gave me a camera, a Canon FD he had... I figured that film had a bit of literature, a bit of comic books!” “At that time,” Pedro continues, “Uruguay didn’t have a film industry at all. We shoot a lot of commercials there now, though I haven’t lived there in five years. But in the year I started at film school, my painting mentor was asked to do the production design on a small movie.” Pedro was invited to get involved, and as a result “never stopped working and studying at the same time... by the end of film school, I think I’d shot 25 short films or something like that, almost everyone’s short. Then, when we were twenty, I met [director] Fede [Alvarez] – he was editing and I was a camera assistant shooting commercials.” Soon, Pedro and Alvarez found themselves collaborating as cinematographer and director on commercials and music videos. A move to the USA was prompted by a successful viral short, directed by Alvarez, and the prompting of cinematographer Guillermo Navarro (of Hellboy and Pacific Rim fame) during a chance encounter. Pedro’s projects with Alvarez include 2016’s Don’t Breathe and, now, The Girl in the Spider’s Web . The film is described as a soft reboot of the Dragon Tattoo series, which was first adapted in the 2009 Swedish architect. “I’m from Uruguay. When you’re eighteen, you have to choose what you want to do. I was leaning
I used to go to painting classes... I was a fan of sci-fi, of literature in general, of comic books
production directed by Niels Arden Oplev. The films, and their misfit protagonist Lisbeth Salander, are perhaps better known in the English-speaking world from David Fincher’s 2011 English-language adaptation, in which Salander is played by Rooney Mara. NOT STIEG LARSSON The Girl in the Spider’s Web is the first in the series not based on a novel by the late Stieg Larsson, instead having been adapted by the director from a book by David Lagercrantz, who continued the series after Larsson’s death in 2004. Taking place almost exclusively in Sweden, the story follows Salander (played for the first time by Claire Foy) and her journalist acquaintance Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) as they pursue stolen military technology and uncover uncomfortable facts about Salander’s background; the film is tagged “discover what made her the girl.” Production took place in Berlin and Stockholm for three months, ending in early April 2018.
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There’s a popular idea that bigger imaging sensors provoke shallower depth-of-field, and that’s true, assuming that field of view, f-number, and camera sensitivity are the same. On a more technical level, though, things become a bit more complicated – and perhaps even create a zero-sum game as far as image quality goes, albeit with far greater creative flexibility. For instance, as Pedro Luque found on The Girl in the Spider’s Web , lenses designed to cover larger imaging sensors tend to be slower – to have lower minimum f-numbers. That’s because an f-stop is the ratio between the focal length and the diameter of the ‘entrance pupil’ which refers to the size of the opening in the middle of the lens through which light must pass. A bigger sensor requires a bigger image and a bigger opening, increasing that ratio and yielding a slower lens. That can be overcome by making the lens physically larger, as with the medium-format ancestors of Arri’s Prime DNA series. It can also be offset by making the camera more sensitive so that the higher f-number is more acceptable. Of course, the larger sensor might have more pixels, making individual noise artefacts smaller and less objectionable, and making higher sensitivity more usable. That larger sensor might also have larger pixels, which would be more sensitive. So, everything is related, giving cinematographers all the options when it comes to picking the sweet spot of lens, sensor and lighting budget. EVERYTHING IS RELATED
RIGHT Director Fede Alvarez on the set of The Girl in the Spider’s Web.
imagine a white dress in the snow. Also, we chose the locations very carefully – those cliffs where the final showdown happens? We wanted black rock against white snow. We wanted real places so you could feel that you’re there.” LARGE FORMAT Arri’s Alexa 65 camera had been of interest to Pedro “even before starting prep, because once you put your hands on a medium format [stills] camera and you take some pictures you fall in love with it. I love the Alexa sensor, and it was just a matter of finding the right lenses for it. There’s no way of going wrong with three Alexa sensors stacked against one another.” Pedro tested the Alexa 65 against a conventional Alexa and alternatives such as Red’s Monstro sensor, using what he describes as “every lens available at Arri Berlin, and seeing the result on the big screen. It felt like the 65 was the right option. When you see the
Pedro spent three months preparing for the shoot. “I did quite extensive research,” he says, “but with Fede it’s different... we have a friendship there, we know each other, and we have the same taste for some stuff, so I kinda know what he wants. We discussed the look a little bit, but what we wanted was for it to be expressive... human, in a way. I ended up presenting Fede with a lot of pictures and stuff, and we discussed it, but it wasn’t as extensive as in the other movies I’ve shot because we did it as we were doing it.” Notwithstanding this somewhat empirical approach, certain decisions – particularly a colour scheme – were made early, for the benefit of production designer Eve Stewart, and Pedro particularly mentions the striking red costume choice for one prominent character, which stands out of an otherwise subdued colour palette. “It’s not that subtle. You could have dressed her in white as opposed to Lisbeth, but
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A LOT OF PIXELS
lenses we didn’t use that much were the longer lenses, but... we had some scenes with them.” Pedro also used the 120mm lens from Arri’s Prime 65 set, which he describes as “a little bit sharp – we had to use a softening filter, but it was a very useful lens, a workhorse lens.”
footage it’s incredible how nice it looks, and the lenses are very nice... when you use a 50mm, you have the angle of a 25mm. Everything feels a little bit bigger.” This bigger feeling served the filmmakers’ desire to root the characters firmly in the locations where they appear. “We needed to have a movie where the places were part of it – if it was little
The Girl in the Spider ’ s Web was shot in the Alexa 65’s Open Gate mode, which produces an image at the A3X sensor’s full 6560x3102 resolution. At just over 52 by 25.5mm, the sensor is actually slightly larger than the classic Todd-AO film aperture (around 48.5 by 20.73) and demands lenses capable of projecting a very large image circle. The more recent Alexa LF is more compact and produces an image up to 4448 by 3096 from a more modest 36.7 by 25.5mm sensor, which is closer in size to a 35mm stills frame or the classic VistaVision film format. As such, lenses designed for 35mm stills work can cover the LF sensor, though the push for larger formats has provoked the development of dedicated motion picture glass. One great option might soon be the Cooke Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus lenses.
Camera assistants the world over are slowly coming to terms with the fact that large sensors yield
rooms, the old mansion, or big cliffs they had to be part of the characters. It has to do with that expression thing. If you want to express something about the characters, it’s good to make them part of their surroundings. We decide how
shallower depth-of-field for the same field of view, all else being equal. Pedro himself is not always a fan of very
DID YOU KNOW?
Aerials for the movie were also shot on the
shallow depth-of-field: “Sometimes I don’t want a wide shot with a shallow depth-of-field. It makes no sense – things are soft, but not soft enough. And again, with a long lens, it makes no sense unless it’s a dream.” The reduced depth-of-field of the larger format is somewhat offset by the fact that a lens designed to cover a larger sensor will tend to be slower, unless it’s also much physically larger. “Most of the
Alexa 65 by DOP Jeremy Braben.
to do, say, the house, the corridor, where to put this character. It’s not just something that happens, it’s part of the expression. To this end, Pedro had considered shooting anamorphic, but concluded it just didn’t fit the story: “the next movie with Fede we’re going to change. I love both, and I’m shooting a pilot now in anamorphic. For stories that are more precise and clean like this one, I feel like anamorphic is distracting, so we shot it spherical.” Still keen to avoid an excessively sharp and clinical look, Pedro chose Arri’s Prime DNA lenses. The company describes the range as “eclectic”, based on a range of carefully-selected stills lenses, rehoused to accommodate the needs of modern productions. DNA GLASS Arri is keen to make the intent of the Prime DNA lenses clear. They are not intended to have “absolute optical consistency across focal lengths” as the literature puts it, instead reaching for “character and emotion... often the lenses display unusual characteristics.” Given the popularity of anamorphic lenses, with their characteristic optical side-effects, Arri’s approach makes sense, and Prime DNA has been popular. The lenses have also seen use on Solo: A Star Wars Story , Ant-Man and the Wasp , Breathe and Bohemian Rhapsody , among others. “We used the 55mm a lot,” Pedro recalls. “There was an 80mm that had a beautiful quality to it, and it was the fastest lens of them all. Then we had a 25mm that was great – you could put that camera wherever you wanted, and you would see a lot without being overly wide angle. The
BELOW Claire Foy is the third actor to take on the role of Lisbeth Salander, following in the footsteps of Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara.
There was an 80mm that had a beautiful quality to it, and it was the fastest lens of them all
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IMAGES The film is set in Sweden but much of the shoot took place in Berlin.
lenses are f/2.8, so if you compare them to, say, a Master Prime that’s f/1.3, it’s kind of the same depth-of-field... so it wasn’t that much of a drag. Yes, you needed more light because the reality is that the camera is ISO 800 and the lens was f/2.8, and a lot of the things we’re used to doing, when we light with one candle and an LED, we couldn’t do.” Often, though, this wasn’t a big problem. “A lot of stuff we did on stage,” Pedro continues, “where it didn’t matter if you needed a bigger or smaller light, because we had what we needed. When you were outside in the street and there was no control over the street lights and stuff like that, sometimes without any shame we just jumped to the normal Alexa, the mini. Get me the Master Primes! I’m not afraid of mixing cameras.” Pedro estimates that up to 15% of the film was photographed on the Alexa Mini, with Master or Ultra Primes particularly for shots involving drones where the much bulkier Alexa 65 would have been difficult to handle. Establishing shots of the city, which would make good use of the high resolution, were photographed with the Alexa 65 from a helicopter. “It’s counterintuitive,” Pedro concludes. “What I felt with the 65 was that it’s better to use it in small houses and locations because you have a better wide lens without distortion. If you need a 12mm on the normal [Alexa] it looks really weird. It’s beautiful if you know how to use it, but if you’re in some other kind of place it’s difficult to use a 12mm. But the 25mm on the Alexa 65... it’s a very wide lens, though it’s not round, it’s not like you’re looking through the eyepiece in a door. When you’re in a small space it looks great.” WORKFLOW The film was shot in the Alexa 65’s open gate mode, producing a 6.5K raw file that gave digital imaging technician Rodrigo Gomez a lot of data to handle. Pedro used Arri Berlin’s dailies service, which he describes as “flawless, and we provided a lot of material.” Shooting for a 2.39:1 finish meant that most of the spare resolution was
at the top and bottom of the frame, rather than at the sides. “There was a little bit of reframing... most of all top and bottom because the image didn’t have much to the sides.” EFilm’s New York facility finished the film under the supervision of colourist Mitch Paulson, whose huge credit list includes Blade Runner 2049 , Skyfall and parts of the Hunger Games , Maze Runner , and X-Men franchises. “I was in New Orleans shooting,” Pedro recalls. “Fotokem in New Orleans set up a room, and they made friends with EFilm, so I was in a room in New Orleans grading before going to set because I was shooting at night. I had about eight sessions, but I know there were about twenty days of grading.” At the time of writing, Pedro Luque was in New York shooting a pilot for Swamp Thing , based on the DC Comics character, and directed by Len Wiseman. “It’s about this comic book that was created in the seventies that I happened to cross paths with in the eighties, when I was about twelve. When they asked me to shoot the pilot, it’s very dark, and Len asked me personally, so I said ‘of course!’”. Pedro tells of a sound stage containing a swamp set under a “ceiling of Skypanels that you can change in colour and everything – it’s a big one, and it’s difficult to shoot because everything’s in the swamp – wading, or in a boat!” THE SWAMP THING SERIES IS INTENDED TO PREMIERE NEXT YEAR; IN THE MEANTIME, THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB IS ON GENERAL RELEASE.
The 25mm on the Alexa 65... it’s a very wide lens, though it’s not round. When you’re in a small space it looks great
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POST STORY | FANTAST I C BEASTS 2
WORKING WITH BEASTS For the new Fantastic Beasts movie, Technicolor managed a huge and complex pipeline from dailies to deliverables
QUESTIONS JULI AN M ITCHELL / PICTURES WARNER BROS
Definition: What was the Technicolor dailies process? How were colour decisions made and what about the data flow with the ARRI Alexa 65 camera? Technicolor: When we first heard that we were working with the Alexa 65, we needed to determine whether the system would use the industry adopted A65 workflow, which involved creating a proxy file with the Codex Vault and do the dailies out of them. Or if there was some way of working with the original camera files as we do with all other cameras. As we are vendor agnostic, we don’t influence the camera or formats that productions use. We instead work to provide solutions and normalise our processes to accommodate to their needs. Our aim is to provide the same speed, level of service and quality in every scenario. We always try to do this by working with the original camera files. For Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald , we did just that by building a system that can process Alexa 65 material with the same turnaround times and level of quality our clients are accustomed to.
We knew early on that we needed to build something completely new. We didn’t want to create something that we were going to use only once; we wanted to create something long lasting that could be integrated with our pipeline and processes going forward. Our engineers in London and Los Angeles worked with us and FilmLight to build a completely new system, integrating our dailies software with their Daylight system. This enabled us to bring together FilmLight’s hardware and software ability in processing original Alexa 65 files with the versatility and standardisation we have achieved over the years using our proprietary Technicolor Dailies Manager Systems. We ended up building a system for Fantastic Beasts 2 that was capable of processing original Alexa 65 Raw files at full debayer. We were able to bring to our clients a service where acquiring, processing and backing up Alexa 65 data feels much like a normal Alexa SXT workflow, with the added bonus that we were effectively QC-ing their actual OCN.
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We ended up building a system for Fantastic Beasts 2 that was capable of processing original Alexa 65 Raw files at full debayer
Definition: Can you explain more about the workflow and colour Technicolor: The colour pipeline was built by our DI colourist, based on
VFX shot reviews were conducted on a Technicolor-supplied FilmLight Daylight System. Each VFX Vendor submitted their shots following the same support-file-per- shot workflow. This allowed each VFX shot to be reviewed with the colour grade set by VFX supervisors. The Daylight system also allowed the colour grade to be revised on-the-fly and passed on to VFX Vendors. VFX shots with their CDL support files were then sent to 3D for stereo conversion and stereo reviews, as well as to Technicolor for the final DI. Definition: How did you prepare for the digital intermediate? Technicolor: The workflow supervisor’s role was to support the DI Team. He gathered information from the production, editorial and VFX departments, then worked with our DI team to establish the best workflow methods to meet production’s expectations for a successful DI. We had two immediate challenges. VFX Production wanted to use its own ExpeDat server for shot submissions instead of using Aspera Faspex or Shares.
pipeline. Was it an ACES show?
an ACEScct colour space. We worked closely with the DIT on-set, Peter Welch, to provide him with all the colour science and transforms for his on-location system. The dailies colour grade was completed on FilmLight’s Daylight system by our Dailies Colourist. We received a daily Colour Decisions List (CDL) made on-set. In the near-set, our Dailies Colourist graded the dailies using Peter’s CDLs as a starting point. These colour values were then transferred into our Pulse system where it was stored as metadata per clip. When a pull was requested via Pulse, the CDL values were exported per shot as support files (ccc, cc, cdl) for automated delivery to VFX or 3D Stereo Vendors. Original camera files were stored on our Pulse system for instant access during post-production, whether this was a pull requested for VFX work, 3D Stereo-Conversion work or a trailer DI grading session.
IMAGES VFX shot reviews were conducted on a Technicolor-supplied FilmLight Daylight system.
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POST STORY | FANTAST I C BEASTS 2
VFX Production wanted to use its own ExpeDat server for shot submissions
The company also wanted to set the colour for its VFX shots, ie make necessary colour changes that worked best for VFX. It was clear that we needed a plan to streamline the flow of incoming data and a way to track VFX shots and their CDL (colour) values. We asked VFX vendors to submit shots with their CDL values stored as a ccc file-per-shot and to make all submissions available to us. Together with the magic coding work by DI pipeline specialist, Simon Hargreaves, we built a data automation pipeline that can auto-download any new VFX shots submission package from production’s ExpeDat server. Once the package was received, each shot was verified for name, length, format, presence of ccc file and if it’s a duplicate version. Any issues were automatically reported back to VFX Production via email. As part of the auto-process, the CDL values per shot were logged into the project’s database. These values were then immediately available for injecting into a VFX EDL via our EDL processing scripts and ready for conform. We also set up automation for editorial turnover conform packages, as well as all packages from the 3D Stereo-Conversion vendor. Definition: What deliverables were requested? What was the process? Technicolor: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has been mastered at
Technicolor for many distribution formats for theatrical and home video, in both 2D and 3D, including: • 2D Theatrical (Xenon projection) • 2D IMAX • ScreenX • 2D Dolby Vision Theatrical • 3D Theatrical (4.5 and seven foot lamberts versions) • 3D IMAX (special 1.9 aspect ratio) • 2D Home Video (2.40 and 1.78 pan and scan versions) • 3D Home Video (2.40 and 1.78 pan and scan versions) • HDR (high dynamic range) • Home video graded. Once the content was approved by the creative team, it was rendered and wrapped into a Digital Cinema Package (DCP), which was then released in theatres for moviegoers to see. IMAX uses the same files to create the theatrical DCP and go through a process called Digital Media Remastering (DMR), during which the content is modified for the best viewing experience on large IMAX screens. The mastering process began with the digital intermediate for 2D theatrical, during which time the feature was conformed and colour
Fantastic Beasts 2 also gets a special release for ScreenX, for special viewing in theatres with additional projection of the left and right walls for three total screens. Additional ‘ B-Roll’ content is pulled and delivered to our ScreenX vendor who works to create additional content for an immersive theatrical experience. To complete the 2D theatrical deliverables, we also mastered for
Dolby Vision. Technicolor is able to securely route content and work directly at Dolby’s facilities in Soho Square to do another colour-grading pass on Dolby’s extended dynamic range laser projector. Once that content was approved, we rendered out files at a higher 4k
DID YOU KNOW? The movie generated more than 800TB of rushes.
resolution, which were delivered to Dolby for them to wrap the Dolby Vision DCPs. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was shot in 2D and then converted to 3D in post-production. Technicolor worked closely with the Stereography company, Vision3, which works with multiple vendors to convert
LEFT Director David Yates with actor Jude Law on-set.
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POST STORY | FANTAST I C BEASTS 2
Fantastic Beasts 2 was shot in 2D and then converted to 3D in post- production Definition: Can you explain how your VFX pull software, Pulse, was integrated with the almost 8000 shots that was needed to be delivered to VFX vendors? Technicolor: Technicolor Pulse was to act as a central portal to store and deliver all shots and frames to each of the film’s eight VFX vendors. Over the course of a year, which encompassed a shoot lasting five months and a seven-month post-production period, more than 800TB of rushes stored and more than two million frames were pulled and delivered to VFX vendors through Pulse. All VFX pulls were ACES Linear EXR plates. We set up Pulse so that VFX editor, Steve Peng, and his team had the option to either pull the plate at the working format, or natively in 6.5K. A few shots were needed from the first Fantastic Beasts film, so we were able to take this media and match it to the working format for the second film. We also gave direct access to Pulse to the 3D team at Vision 3. They were able to log in and pull their own drama plates. All deliveries were automated and delivered directly where they needed to go. This saved hours of upload and download time for multiple teams across the project. FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD IS ON GENERAL RELEASE.
each shot in the feature from 2D to 3D. After completing the Digital Intermediate for 2D, the process began anew during which the 3D content was conformed and colour graded. In addition to colour, the 3D work required doing a stereo depth pass when the 3D viewing experience is adjusted. Once creatively approved, we repeated the process of deliverables for the 2D elements created. For IMAX 3D, there were also special Visual Effects created that appear to pop out of the screen by coming out of the 2.39 original aspect ratio. Finally, Technicolor worked to master for home video in both 2D and 3D, which again required a colour grading pass. Our colourist worked to carry the creative intent of the projected image on to the small screen, and also performed a pan and scan for the image to fit the full frame on a standard 16:9 television. For home video mastering, we once again worked at Dolby’s facilities on its Pulsar monitor to grade in HDR, which is moving to become the new standard for home entertainment. The Pulsar monitor allows for grading at up to 10,000 nits, although limited to 4000 for distribution. The HDR grading allows for a greater dynamic range with more information in highlights and more vibrant blacks. We then rendered the files and sent them to Los Angeles for downstream distribution.
FANTASTIC BEASTS 2: AERIAL TEAM AND FLOWN GEAR
• Director: David Yates • 2nd unit director: Stephen Woolfenden • Visual effects supervisor: Christian Manz • DOP: Philippe Rousselot • Aerial DOP: Jeremy Braben • Aerial technician: Oliver Ward • Helicopter pilot: Giles Dumper • Locations: Seven Sisters, London, Interlaken, Switzerland. • Shots: Establishing and location element plates, photogrammetry • Camera and lens: ARRI Alexa 65, lens 55-110 • Platform: Airbus AS355 Twin Squirrel with Shotover K1
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DI RECTOR STORY | THE HAUNT I NG OF H I LL HOUSE
HAIR-RAISING HILL HOUSE The brilliant The Haunting of Hill House currently on Netflix had some scarily long takes in episode six. Writer and director Mike Flanagan reveals how they were achieved
WORDS M I KE FL ANAGAN / PICTURES NETFLIX
I received a lot of questions about episode six of The Haunting of Hill House . Netflix released a brilliant behind-the-scenes video (bit.ly/DefHillHouse), but for those that would like a little more information, here’s a snippet. Episode six was part of the very first pitch for the show, promising an episode that would look like one continuous shot. Most of the camera choreography was included in the script itself, which meant that the draft for the episode was a really tough read with notes, such as ‘Camera pivots left/tracks right down left aisle, keeping Steven in MS profile’ breaking up the dialogue.
SCHEDULE CHANGE We initially intended to shoot it last, to give us as much time as possible. Budget issues resulted in the studio moving the episode up to the beginning of our third production block – rapidly accelerating our prep time. Production was shut down and rehearsals for episode six began 6 March 2018. We rehearsed daily with our second team stand-ins who performed the entire episode as actors as we learned the camera, lighting and acting choreography. They were heroes and made the whole thing possible. The episode comprised of five long takes; three took place in the funeral home, two in Hill House. We would rehearse one segment, while another was prepped/programmed for lighting, and then switch. Sets were still being painted and constructed to accommodate the episode. Rain special effects were put in both stages and specialty lights were brought in to create the lightning. The water would sometimes flood the sets and the studio initially didn’t want to pay for the extra ‘lightning’ lights, proposing to cut the storms from the episode entirely. REHEARSALS The actors arrived on set on 26 March to begin rehearsals. On their first day, we sat
The sets for both Hill House and Shirley’s funeral home were designed with episode six in mind. They were built on adjacent stages and had to accommodate a hallway that would physically connect them so that Hugh Crain (actor Timothy Hutton) could walk directly from the funeral home to Hill House in shot one. The sets needed to include hiding places for crew and equipment, specific lighting rigs, and even a handmade elevator that would lower into place from the ceiling to bring a cameraman down to the first floor for shot four. Immediately, we began doing weekly walk-throughs of the episode in prep.
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The episode comprised of five long takes; three took place in the funeral home and two in Hill House IMAGES The set of Shirley’s funeral home, left, was physically connected to the set of Hill House itself, seen below.
them down and showed them the entire episode, shot on a DSLR, with the second team performing. They could see each shot executed successfully and the goal they were trying get to. Rehearsals then began in earnest. The actors would be on one stage, practicing the scene and the performance, while our camera operators worked on the other stage with the second team refining camera blocking and lighting cues. There were hundreds of individual lighting cues, not only for effect but also for beauty lighting. If a cue was late, an actor wouldn’t be lit properly. If an actor missed their mark, or if a cue was early or delayed, it meant actors went dark, or you’d see a camera shadow. SHOOTING We began shooting finally on 6 April 2018. We shot in episode order, so the first shot was 14 pages long and in Shirley’s funeral home. We did tech rehearsals in the morning and started shooting, in case we got lucky. We only had to get it right once. This first segment involved hiding the younger actors playing the Crain children around the corner in the viewing room, so they could run in and replace their adult counterparts during a 360-degree move centred around actor, Timothy Hutton.
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