NEWS OF THE WORLD Certain events captured were so significant that the crew agreed to release footage to news channels mid-production
light away,” the cinematographer continues. “Alongside the negative fill, we kept some practicals in the room for depth, then lit Navalny mainly with one big source. “I’m not one for three-point lighting, I think that’s old-school these days. I create something large, natural and soft – in this case, an Arri Skypanel with octabox and Snapgrid to add a bit more directionality. We also had a Kino Flo – just one tube – to wrap around his face a little more. It was relatively stripped back, but quite meticulous in its simplicity.” Camera choice had to be practical. In non-fiction, there can be no second takes. All coverage had to be collected in a single instance. Beyond a four-camera set-up, Waltl relied on supremely high-resolution footage for further options. “I own the Red Gemini that we shot most of our vérité scenes on. Then you want to stay in that look. So, for the interview, we rented extra Reds,” Waltl says. “We wanted 8K for the A camera, so used the Monstro. B, C and D were all Geminis recording 5K. “We simply needed as many good angles as possible. With classic framework, the A camera remains in a medium shot – but 8K gives you the possibility to cut a much tighter frame from the same camera. You essentially gain an extra perspective. “That level of flexibility wasn’t needed on all four cameras and, being slightly in the middle of nowhere, the added data would have become a burden. Native 5K was the resolution sweet spot for me.” TÊTE-À-TÊTE Other moments were not subject to the same level of control – such is the nature of rapidly unfolding real-world events. With a strong desire to remain within
the cinematic wheelhouse, Waltl had to concoct simple and effective solutions. “The story of this film is crazy, but ultimately, it often revolved around the subjects talking to each other. It’s not as easy to make that look as awe-inspiring as it should,” he reveals. “Those investigative scenes actually took place in the home Daniel and I were renting. It was the best space we had available, but after shooting one conversation, we realised the lighting wasn’t good. So, we rented a Chimera Dome and boomed that in on a tripod, over the table. It didn’t have to be sophisticated, but it did fulfil our desire for a more flattering setting.” Once again, the Red Gemini proved itself a considered choice.
“I personally like working with an Easyrig, because you can get into all different positions without any physical demand, but it would have been intrusive during these moments. Very simply, we put the small Gemini on a shoulder rig with a viewfinder and got to work. Unusually, we decided to shoot it all on prime lenses, in line with our narrative look. Our go-to choices were from my own personal set of Sigma Cine lenses – 40mm on the A camera and 85mm on the B camera.” Navalny ’s climactic sequence was captured in these exact circumstances. What began as an innocuous detour became global news. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of Waltl’s most distinctive
“I’m not one for three-point lighting, I think that’s old-school these days. Our set-up was relatively stripped back, but meticulous in its simplicity”
STATE ACTORS Christo Grozev is the Bellingcat investigator tasked with uncovering the assassins sent to kill Navalny
53. DECEMBER 2022
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