DEFINITION August 2019


August 2019 £4.99

WIN a Canon EOS C200, worth over £6490 ! SEE PAGE 36

NEW GEN We review Blackmagic Design’s Ursa Mini Pro G2




EDITORIAL Editor Julian Mitchell 01223 492246 Staff writer Chelsea Fearnley Contributors Ash Connaughton, Adam Duckworth Chief sub editor Beth Fletcher Senior sub editor Siobhan Godwood Sub editor Felicity Evans Junior sub editor Elisha Young ADVERTISING Sales director Matt Snow 01223 499453 Sales manager Krishan Parmar 01223 499462 Key accounts Nicki Mills 01223 499457 DESIGN Lucy Woolcomb 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 Design director Andy Jennings Designers Bruce Richardson &

The new Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro G2 camera with more off-speed options


I t’s mid-summer and time to look back at some of the winners from our Tech Innovation Awards 2019. You saw the nominations, the shortlist, the winner announcements, the presentations etc, but we thought you might want to know why the winners, well, won. This issue, we dig a little deeper into Red’s Gemini S35 sensor, which won in our Capture category, Panavision’s Light Iron Color 2, which came top in the Colour Science category, and the innovative Arri Rental’s DNA lens programme, which scooped the Optics award. We also interrupted DOP Stuart Dryburgh while he was enjoying a film festival in north Portugal to ask him how he shot Men in Black: International – it’s all about the night shoots in London and the medina market shoots in Morocco. By contrast we caught up with an American policeman in an ITV drama, Wild Bill , an episodic shot, it turns out, in wild Lincolnshire with the Sony Venice camera. We also have the latest sports capture news and reviews from Blackmagic Design with the latest iteration of its Ursa Mini Pro, called simply G2 – as in generation 2. Enjoy!


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 06 TITLE SEQUENCE A nod to the Capture winner in our Tech Innovation Awards, the Red Gemini. 09 INTERVIEW – GERHARD BAIER Gerhard has taken his massive experience to P+S Technik and has co-development plans. DRAMA 12 MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL CONTENTS

MIB: International is a reboot with new characters and new DOP and director.


20 CATCH-22

The unfilmable book tries again on screen with a classic camera package combo.


Hollywood meets cabbage-laden Lincolnshire in this fish-out-of-water (with vegetables) tale. FEATURES 38 SPORTS CAPTURE SPECIAL Our choice of new technology that is revolutionising sports gathering. 44 MAKING OF A LEGEND Our latest legends spot goes to the Arri Alexa camera – lots to say... 48 WHY THEY WON


Backstories from Arri Rental and Panavision about the technologies that won them our Tech Innovation Awards.





The new G2 fully embraces BRaw and offers genuinely usable off-speed options.


The latest cine bag from Tenba can store a fully rigged camera.




Our unique camera listings now offers kit essentials and recommended accessories.

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(Main picture) Actors Rebecca De Mornay, Krysten Ritter and Rachael Taylor discuss a scene with director Stephen Surjik from the third season of Netflix’s Jessica Jones . DOP Manuel Billeter shot the season on Red’s Gemini camera with the Gemini S35 sensor, which just happened to win the ‘Capture’ category in our Tech Innovation Awards Following Red’s win, we wanted to illustrate why we thought the Gemini was a worthy winner, so asked Billeter why he opted for it. “I chose the new Gemini sensor camera, because it has a larger-sized sensor. I was interested in having a larger canvas at my disposal; a larger field of view. “When I tested the camera in pre- production, I also realised that, at the same ISO as the Red Weapon, it was almost a stop brighter. And as the first scripts were coming in for season 3, I realised that the Gemini would have an added important WHY THEY WON: RED, WINNER OF CAPTURE

feature: the dual ISO ratings. There are several scenes where Trish makes use of her enhanced ‘cat-vision’, a newly discovered power she has acquired, where at night everything appears brighter. I knew that with the dual ISO of the Gemini, I had a huge power of my own at my disposal,” says Billeter. “We used the higher ‘low-light’ rating of 3200 every time we were in a special Trish point of view, and the results were quite astonishing. There was no need to adjust any lighting to achieve the desired effect. In the second season, I’d had to make lighting and lens adjustments, as well as lean into it in post for those moments. Now, at the flick of a switch, basically, we could turn on ‘Trish-vision’ in camera. I was also able to stop down the lens quite a bit, for added depth-of-field – making her character’s world appear both brighter and sharper,” he adds.

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We looked at the old lenses and tried to figure out what made them unique and tried to simulate that

CONTACT LENSES INTERVIEW Gerhard Baier, previously of Leitz cine lenses and Band Pro Europe, has taken his contact book to P+S Technik and is looking forward to lens co-development WORDS JULI AN M ITCHELL PICTURES P+S TECHN I K T here are a lot of positives in lens companies cooperating; development is expensive and you cannot do it all by yourself anymore. You need to have partners for specific parts of the project. I strongly believe that we are now in a time where the practice of doing everything on your own is over,” says

ABOVE Gerhard Baier and top a Kowa lens clean during rehousing

NEW GLASS FROM OLD “It’s a fascinating project as we’re using new glass. We looked at the old lenses and tried to figure out what made them so unique, tried to simulate that by modern glass types and production possibilities and start from scratch with a reference to the old Technovision lenses. It’s the basic idea of what P+S did with the Evolutions, based on the Kowa lenses,” Baier says. Baier was instrumental in pushing lens ideas forward at Leitz, previously Leica. He explains his thought process: “You try to look at what people are using, what is the definition of the image of tomorrow that can also refer to the images of the past, what made them unique? Are people looking for dedicated lenses to visualise their ideas and can this be done with modern production techniques, glass types and more advanced mechanics? Also, what needs to change for digital sensors and how they see the light in comparison with how film sees the light.”

He adds: “These are all the questions that you run into and then you look at the sharpness, the resolution area, bokeh; all these things that you find hard to translate into technical terms. You can’t try and simulate this with lead-free glass, but you need some of the old lenses for reference; you measure them, you check in projection, you do tests. Then you confirm the type of colour response they have, the type of distortion that they have and what needs to be adjusted in technical terms to achieve this type of look. Also, what type of glass or combination of glass do you use? Really, it’s a process.” GET YOUR COAT Using new for old glass is becoming more important as the old stuff starts to disappear. P+S is close to prototypes and is also experimenting with an uncoated version. “These have a protective coating, but are like the Tokina coated ones. We

Gerhard Baier, who joins P+S Technik at a pivotal time in the company’s existence; unfortunately, the founder Alfred Piffl unexpectedly died earlier this year – a year before the company’s 30th anniversary. Also, Technovision Classic Prime lenses are nearing completion and Gerhard is overseeing the final tweaks and designs. “The history of Technovision lenses is well known with the original Henryk Chroscicki lenses shooting hundreds of movies, such as Apocalypse Now and La Dolce Vita . But this is a new line based on the old lenses; the look and image, and the way they used to and still behave,” explains Baier.

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have one-coated elements and multi-coated elements. Some companies use different ingredients and can extract a different character from the lens,” says Baier. But when do you stop developing and decide that this look is what you want? Gerhard explains the reality behind this question: “There is a certain amount of compromise, but I would say that you never stop! I showed around some Technovision lens prototypes and I got a lot of feedback with people saying how wonderful they were, but ‘can you do a little bit more of this type of thing or this type of thing’ or ‘can you turn it into a little more like this’. So what I see happening more in this market is not customising as such, but the ability to listen to people’s demands and then go back into the lab and think about the fact that if one person is looking for this particular effect, maybe there are two or more people who also want it. You then got 50 or more people and you may think that this is a good option. We also might make an individual version for a particular project, but this requires some time so the earlier you speak My advice for LF lens manufacturers is to try and give a different character to lenses

ABOVE Evolution 2x 75mm getting laser engraved. Below are the Technovision anamorphics

with us, the more chance we can give you what you want. If you want Technovision lenses next week with yellow flares, it’s possibly not going to happen.” P+S Technik is also an expert at rehousing, which is an integral part of its offering. Requests for rehousing all come

with specific differences for certain projects or just looks. “I can see this as a big USP in the lens market; lenses you get from manufacturers as an industrial product might not be 100% the product for today,” says Baier. “But think about opening up for other possibilities or requests, so it could be a little bit more like this or like that. For me, rehousing is a good example of the market going more into the individual set-up of lenses, rather than staying with what you have already.” LF MARKET The hot subject in the lens world right now is large format, but does Baier think there is too much glass around? “I think the industry is moving faster than the users. So all the terms you know from Super 35 are changing when you use full format. You need to learn the language and have the time to test the format and use it for the right reasons. From that side, it’s slower than I thought. On the other side, I can see scaleable sensors getting larger. For lens manufacturers, this is challenging as you need to cover the largest sensor to offer the opportunity to scale it down. I’m sure LF’s time will come and will present opportunities for storytelling. So for a lens manufacturer, I think the advice is to focus on large format and try to give a different character to the lenses,” he concludes.

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CHANGING OF THE GUARD The Men in Black franchise had to change to keep it fresh. But how to do it without disenfranchising the fans?


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M en in Black is now a 20-year-old franchise, which means that, for Men in Black: International , things had to evolve… but also stay the same. So, bring in some new characters – this time a couple of ex- Avengers: Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Take the whole show to London and Morocco – hence the ‘international’ title extension – and bring in a new director and director of photography: F Gary Gray and Stuart Dryburgh. Check out Dryburgh’s IMDb entry and his experience speaks for itself, with films like The Piano , Bridget Jones’s Diary , The Portrait of a Lady and, more recently, The Great Wall , directed by Yimou Zhang and the first full feature to be made with the Arri Alexa 65 camera. Dryburgh’s experience and his knowledge of the Alexa 65 held him in good stead for MIB , as he explains: “The camera has three Alexa sensors, so is truly a high-definition camera with very little aliasing and no compression. Optically, it performs like a medium format camera, so a really wide lens would be, say, a 28mm, a 24 would be an extremely wide lens and a standard lens would be around 80 or 100mm. It has a short depth-of-field like anamorphic, but it’s not anamorphic: it’s spherical. It’s a lovely camera.” THE GREAT WALL LINK The Great Wall and MIB: International had the same line producer, who recommended Dryburgh when the original cinematographer didn’t work out. When The Great Wall came out, it’s fair to say the

That big chip on the Alexa 65 pulls in a lot of detail, so things don’t get muddy

reviews were mixed, but it is a glorious- looking film thanks to Yimou Zhang, who also directed Hero and House of Flying Daggers . Dryburgh hinted at the care the director showed with The Great Wall : “It was a beautiful movie and Yimou Zhang was so careful with his choice of colours with costume designer Mayes C Rubeo, especially for the uniforms of the different types of soldier. He was terrified of people thinking they were Power Rangers. “Yimou Zhang is famous for working with colour, but normally only one colour at a time. If you look at Hero , shot by Christopher Doyle, there are different colour themes throughout the film, but in The Great Wall , Zhang wanted the different parts of the army identifiable by their uniform colour,” Dryburgh explains. “We helped by adding an overall colour wash to the lighting, which desaturates the colours a bit. Also, that big chip on the Alexa 65 pulls in a lot of detail so things don’t get muddy. All the separations are there without the usual aliasing advancements of a digital signal.” Using such a new type of camera for a feature had its own problems, not least the choice of lenses to cover such a large sensor. Arri did have lenses for the camera – the 65 Primes – but a set of 765s were also available, which were lenses from Arri’s 70mm cameras from the eighties. “They were compatible with the Prime 65 lenses. We only had those lenses, but they were very good and we had a wide selection of focal lengths,” says Dryburgh. The other big question Dryburgh had to deal with was how to archive such a

ABOVE Dryburgh chose the Alexa XT with a Sigma 300-800mm stills lens as part of the Morocco shoot

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Aerials shot were taken by Helicopter Film Services, with Jeremy Braben as the aerial director of photography. The team shot in locations such as London, Morocco and Ischia, as well as Italy for a speedboat scene with actor Chris Hemsworth. Shooting was done in conjunction with the main and second unit, where the second unit director was Wade Eastwood and the second unit DOP was Lucas Jogalla. Helicopter filming used the Arri Alexa 65 and Alexa Mini on a Shotover mounted on an Airbus Squirrel. Drone filming used the Aerigon heavy-lift drone with a Movi Pro gimbal carrying an Alexa Mini and Master Prime lenses. Alan Perrin was the drone pilot. The drone sequences were all filmed in Morocco, with some aerial plates filmed in the desert dunes. And in Marrakech, plates were filmed for action sequences in the Medina. In London, the team filmed plates for the Hyperloop sequence – an underground train that moves at hyper speeds. The team used the Shotover K1 gimbal with the Arri Alexa 65. However, there were location issues, as travelling between locations was difficult in Morocco – from Tangier in the north to the desert. The team battled with local congestion, crowds and sandstorms that appeared out of nowhere. The locals seemed to know when a storm was on its way before the production. Jeremy Braben, comments: “When it came, it was like having wet sand hurled at you at 50mph. There were a lot of rashes on the legs of crew and sand in equipment!” MIB – FROM THE AIR

me, but once we became ‘international’, it becomes much more opened up in places like London, and especially Morocco.” Being true to the previous movies meant lots of VFX, a task made easier thanks to virtual production introducing many aids for filmmakers. “It’s getting easier,” Dryburgh says. “I’ve been dealing with VFX on a crude level with chromakey and Ultimatte since I was shooting TV commercials back in the eighties. We used to shoot chromakey for film and Ultimatte in the digital realm, so I’ve done all that for a long time. There’s a lot more tolerance from the VFX side – you don’t have to have a perfectly exposed blue or green screen, On one level, you need to be true to the franchise and to the style of the franchise, but this was a reboot

large amount of data. “As I do with all my Alexa 65 shoots, we use LTOs and archive at 4K,” he explains. “No one wants 6.5K. It’s great as a form of oversampling of the image at the capture end, but there’s really no particular value in keeping it that way. I have offered studios an archive of the 6.5K just in case they ever need that resolution, but no one has been that keen to spend money on extra storage.” MIB CHALLENGE With a new director and DOP, what could they bring to the MIB franchise without changing it too much? “On one level, it needed to be true to the franchise and to the style of the franchise – recognisably from the same stable of movies, but this was a reboot,” says Dryburgh. This meant none of the original characters were used, except Emma Thompson. But how do you inject new life into it? “That was certainly [director] Gary’s aim and was his brief to ABOVE Actress Emma Thompson is the only cast member remaining from the previous films

IMAGES Left and middle: drone and aerial crew, including Jeremy Braben (aerial DOP); Alan Perrin (drone pilot); Oliver Ward (chief aerial technician – helicopter); Taylor McClean (drone camera assistant) and Derek Desmond (aerial operations). Right: actor Chris Hemsworth in a speedboat, shot from above

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stuff like that. There’s other tools of the trade now like pre-vis, it’s fantastic in prep where you’re essentially doing an animated version of your action scenes.” He continues: “There are also various forms of sketch-up projection, which allows you to see your actors in a virtual wire- framed set with the ability to still move the camera and have the actors move. It’s definitely getting there, all that technology, and will only get better. It takes the guesswork out of things – I used to have to take acetates and put them over the monitor and then draw the set in.” CHALLENGING SCENES One of the aims of the reboot was to expand out of the old environments from MIB 1, 2 and 3, which are largely set in New York City. Dryburgh particularly enjoyed the night scenes in London , as well as the shoot that took the whole production over to Morocco. “It was a lot of fun shooting night exteriors on a street in London,” he recalls, It was fun shooting night exteriors on a street in London, but challenging as we shot in summer, so had short nights

IMAGES To shoot at night, Dryburgh had to wait for the sky to become a very dark blue

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“In the few years that Stabileye has been a part of the film industry, it has been used to good effect with ever more demanding scenarios. Through the creative ideas of the end users, it has seen more and more involvement with long takes that evolve. For instance from a crane shot to a walking shot, or starting inside a room and being passed through a window and onto a wire rig, only to be handed off to a tracking vehicle for a fast finale. “Right now we’re involved in a number of fantastic productions. We are being put through our paces on some complicated sequences in the trenches. Another project has seen us filming a horse race over a few days,” says Stabileye co-director, David Freeth. “The camera operators and first ACs were set up in a chase vehicle, while Stabileye was in the hands of the grips, who were tracking long lenses among the horses on a mule-tracking vehicle. Eventually, Stabileye was placed in the hands of the jockeys and we did some close shots at full gallop. The quality of stabilisation was perfect and the footage was stunning. “Stabileye isn’t a ‘gimbal’ in the typical sense; it’s a miniature stabilised head. It has a set of hand wheels and relies on an operator to operate them, but from time to time we are asked if control could be given to a person carrying the head. This is something Stuart asked for and it gave him the dynamic response he needed for his shot.”

says: “But we definitely added to the natural lighting that was there. This was very much a classic night shoot, but one that follows the style of the film. There’s not a lot of fancy camera moves, but a lot of classic square-on framing. We looked at the early movies and some Cohen Brothers movies for that as well as reference.” As for Marrakech, it was “terrific”, but not without challenges. One of the scenes for MIB: International takes place in the Medina, but it was impossible to get a truck within a mile of where the team was shooting. “We used carts and motorcycles to move everything,” recalls Dryburgh. “For Marrakech, we mostly shot in the Medina in old market streets. Getting gear in every morning was a hike. There was virtually no set dressing involved, because the bare bones of the place was so great.” Although, he admits, “we did have to cram a bit of light in some of the darker

“but particularly challenging as we shot in summer, which meant we had short nights – and only a limited number of nights – so we had to do loads of work. But I always enjoy shooting in the real world.” For the London night shoots, Dryburgh had to wait for the sky to become a very dark blue before he could start shooting. To prepare, he visited the street at night well in advance and took some digital stills, approximating the camera EI and speed. “Also seeing what the natural light had to offer, because it’s quite a well-lit street. Then we looked at what we wanted to keep and take away, and there were some street lights that were right overhead of where we were shooting we didn’t really want,” he explains. To work around the unwanted streetlamps, the team utilised some big lights and some smoke, then hid more lights up in alleys and shopfronts, trying to keep the lighting as natural as possible. Dryburgh

ABOVE Stabileye in use for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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You can rig the Stabileye as a cable cam in minutes and we used it a lot for that

IMAGES Stills from Men in Black: International

GLASS PICK As for lenses, Dryburgh mainly used Arri Rental DNA glass for MIB: International . “These are all rehoused and rebalanced vintage lenses, but they look good and have some character to them – a lot more character than the Prime 65s did. They flare a bit more and are less colour consistent through the range. We could have had them de-tuned but decided against it as we wanted them as good as they could be,” he adds. You could even say the new film looks out of this world… MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL IS OUT NOW ON GENERAL RELEASE

ran into issues with the CAA in the UK,” he explains. “However, it’s a really good camera rig you can either use like a Movi [pick it up and run around with it], or you can put it on a little trolley or cable. You can rig it as a cable cam in minutes and we used it a lot for that.” Rigging it as a cable cam proved to be a great timesaver. “Most cable cam rigs require construction and huge winches, but the on-set grip crew could rig the Stabileye in ten minutes. It works better with an Alexa Mini than a 65 and we made that compromise when we used it. There’s a shot in a nightclub where I just picked it up and ran through the dancers holding it, simulating a missile POV. It’s brilliant and the size of a Movi, but way better than a Movi,” enthuses Dryburgh.

corners, which I think we managed to do successfully, as it didn’t look too lit up”. Dryburgh adds: “It was great that we got to go there, because you couldn’t have got that on a sound stage. Even if there were those shots of Tess and Chris on the jet bike, which were shot on blue screen and composited in, all of the background plates and stunt work were in Marrakech. And the desert is always amazing to shoot in.” CAMERA MOVES When filming in so many locations, using the right gear is paramount. For Dryburgh, moving the camera was a matter of using his favourite technocranes, hydrocranes and Scorpios in combination with Libra gimbal heads, as well as a Stabileye. “I think it was built to be a large drone rig, but

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CURSE BROKEN? The novel Catch-22 has long been thought to be cursed when adapting for screen, but the latest version might just be the one to break it


F or the Hulu six-episode miniseries Catch-22 – available on Channel 4 in the UK, directed by Grant Heslov, Ellen Kuras and George Clooney – cinematographer Martin Ruhe relied on two sets of two Arri Alexa Mini cameras, matched with the legendary Cooke Optics S4/i prime lenses to capture this latest version. Based on the acclaimed Joseph Heller novel, Catch-22 is set during the second world war and revolves around a military by-law, which states that if you fly your missions, you’re crazy, and all you have to do is ask not to fly them. But if you ask not to, then you’re sane, and so you have to fly them. The book’s title coined the term that has entered the common lexicon since Heller’s book was first published in 1961. One thing that was made clear was that it would be its own production, and not based on the 1970 film. “We all looked at the original film, and the two projects have a different nature,” says Ruhe. “Ours is a dark comedy with a strong look for a strong visual story, as compared to the original, which was more of a straight comedy. The aerial scenes had to show the intense horror of being up in those small tin boxes. It had to be about life and death.”

RIGHT DOP Martin Ruhe getting a perspective action shot on Catch-22 set

BELOW George Clooney directed two episodes

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ABSURDITY AS A THEME Ruhe’s goal was to contrast the horror of the aerial scenes and the absurdity of the ground scenes. To do that, he made use of two identical sets of Cooke S4/i prime lenses – 14mm, 18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 75mm, 100mm and 135mm focal lengths – shooting with the Arri Alexa Mini’s Super 35mm (2.8K) sensor in Arri Raw 16:9, which would later be finished in 4K HDR. “We had two sets of camera/lens combinations as we were cross shooting as well as having some days with splinter [second] unit shooting,” explains Ruhe. “While I used all of the lenses, the 32mm was my all-time favourite for close-ups inside the planes. Although, to be honest, I did have to move to the 50mm at times due to the limited space within those planes.” In fact, one of the main benefits of using Cooke S4/i primes for Ruhe was their size. “I had to be very fast and versatile in tight places. I didn’t want to get stuck fighting minimal focus, and thanks to the S4/is, I didn’t,” he adds. While I used all of the lenses, the 32mm was my all-time favourite for close-ups inside the planes

38 Number of uncredited pilots from the ‘70s version

4 Number of available tracks to mix the original soundtrack

ABOVE Martin Ruhe with director/star of Catch-22, George Clooney

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REFERENCES To help understand the period, production designer David Gropman provided a lot of stills from Heller’s regiment to show the team what life in those camps was like, along with viewing historical newsreel footage. Then, during camera tests, stills were taken and placed into Photoshop to match the old postcard look of the era. Company 3, which would handle the digital intermediates, then created LUTs for the cameras to match the required looks. With more than 20 years of experience with Cooke lenses, Ruhe knew from the start that he wanted the S4/i primes. “I first grew attached to Cookes on commercials, and I shot The American with S4s as well as The Keeping Room , where I also used original Cooke Speed Panchros,” he says. “They are just beautiful in the way that they fall off, how they flare and the texture you get from them. This is especially important when shooting in digital, as the lenses give you a nice organic feel. There’s just something so beautiful about I first grew attached to Cookes on commercials and went on to shoot The American with them

ABOVE Martin Ruhe with his Arri Alexa Mini/Cooke S4/i camera and lens package

STANDOUT SCENE For Ruhe, one of the standout scenes from Catch-22 for the S4/i was in episode six. “I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there’s a scene in that episode that was entirely shot with the 32mm,” he explains. “It’s so close to the faces of the actors and so intimate, which I just love. You’ll have to see the scene to understand it, but every DOP out there will know what I’m talking about when they watch that episode. It just looks great.” CATCH 22 IS ON HULU IN THE US AND CHANNEL 4 IN THE UK.

the Cookes, and I go back to them time and time again. And the close-up with the 32mm is just the perfect tool.” For both the ground and aerial scenes, Ruhe went for a natural look. This was especially important on board the planes as he didn’t want them to be too perfectly lit. For ground interiors, a 120x75ft soft sail and grey screen was used with a 20K standing in for sunlight. “You want people to feel the heat of the day,” explains Ruhe. “We worked with hard contrast; blow out when inside the tent looking out. I think this looked quite natural, as I wanted to convey the feeling of heat.”

BELOW The shoot was perfect for Arri’s Alexa Mini’s small footprint

ABOVE A telescopic crane shot in Catch-22

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UP IN THE AIR How the Samsung Portable SSD X5 enabled professional drone pilot and drone camera operator, Lec Park, to transfer rushes as quickly as possible for an important job in Vietnam

changes. We’ve been on water the entire time we’ve been here. Flying the drone over water is always risky, and there was a need to have a drone available pretty much all the time. How we arranged it and what made the Samsung Portable SSD X5 so great was, when a craft landed, we had to get the footage off the cards as soon as possible. The portable drive was so quick at this.” Its Thunderbolt 3 interface is what makes the portable drive so fast. It works with Thunderbolt systems only, but is 25 times faster than a traditional hard drive. “We were using the Samsung Portable SSD X5 as a shuttle device and transferring, say, 100GB of Raw recording in seconds. I’ve not seen anything so fast before,” he adds. Park was busy flying the drone, while DIT Joe Jamieson transferred the footage.

IN THE PROFESSIONAL VIDEO WORLD, time is money. But let’s break that down. Many people use Samsung’s range of portable SSD drives, and there has always been a time advantage with these great drives. But maybe Lec Park’s experience is more extreme than most. Park is a pro drone pilot and camera operator who has just finished filming a TV series where footage was so highly valued, drones were sacrificed just to get the footage back safely. The series was based in Vietnam and featured almost continual airborne filming from many different types of boats – from canoes to larger rib boats. Park explains: “The conditions in Vietnam are a great test for equipment. It’s very hot, humid and sticky with huge storms around as well. If you blink, the weather

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“Even on the simplest jobs we would take advantage of the immense speed of this Samsung portable drive”

“The portable drive was not as susceptible to heat and humidity as a spinning disc. It’s an impressive piece of kit,” Park says. AIRBORNE AGAIN Moving boats and launching drones are not very compatible, so Park handheld takeoff and landing on the river. “We’ve been on every type of boat, but always travelling. It was mostly rough water and very risky. The kit isn’t as important as the footage in this scenario. Sometimes, it was 50/50 whether we’d get the craft back,” recalls Park. “You’re moving along the water at 60km/h and the situation is crazy; having such a fast way to get footage backed up in such a situation is priceless. Squalls would blow in so quickly. You’d see them coming, but they’d be on you quickly and you’re still flying a drone! I just didn’t want to have to ditch a drone, because we were getting such good material. I was thinking at one point of smashing the drone into the ground so we could save the footage,” he admits. The Samsung Portable SSD X5 allowed Park to

concentrate on swapping out batteries and cards to get the drone airborne again. This was a quick process, and by the time he had done it, the portable drive had transferred 100GB to the production laptop. “Ironically, because our backup was so quick, it was the older types of storage we had to wait for. It was great for us to have something so advanced, quick and ready faster than normal,” Park enthuses. SAFE STORAGE Park also mentioned the Samsung Portable SSD X5 was great to use, because of its form factor and self-powering. “It could be put in a pocket or passed on to someone else without worrying about damaging it.” This is because the Samsung portable drive features a shock-resistant internal frame and rugged metal housing that can withstand drops of up to two metres. It’s also compact, making it an ideal portable storage for content creators on the go. “We were hand-catching the drones 90% of the time and still travelling at maybe 35km/h. Once the craft was safe, it was a matter of getting it under cover, pulling the media out of the aircraft and passing that to Joe, who was the DIT in the boat,” explains Park. “Joe was backing up the precious footage via the Samsung Portable SSD X5 as quickly as he could. I think he put the whole day on the 1TB portable drive. The fast drive allowed us to focus on slower cameras as ours was done so quickly,” he says. Away from the excitement of this type of job, Park is amazed at how fast this drive worked. “Even on the simplest jobs we would take advantage of the immense speed of this Samsung portable drive. At the end of shooting, editorial might want copies of different cards with certain footage on them. That might take around 45 minutes to transfer using slow, spinning disk drives. “I would happily give a Samsung Portable SSD X5 to them or another department and let them copy the footage themselves. You’re making your own life easier and they are getting a faster than normal transfer,” Park points out.

IMAGES When on location, Lec Park and his team relied on the speed of the Samsung Portable SSD X5 to back up footage in fast-paced situations


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A FISH OUT OF WATER Rob Lowe heads to Boston (but not the one you’d expect) to fight crime and face past demons


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W ild Bill is ITV’s new drama, which stars Rob Lowe as the new chief constable of the East Lincolnshire Police. Yes, you read that correctly. He plays Bill Hixon, a former high-flying Miami cop, who’s just moved to the UK with his 14-year-old daughter for reasons we, the viewers, don’t initially know. The series opens with Lowe in a smart tux and battered Volvo as he chases a carful of villains across a cabbage field. They escape, while he lingers to throw cabbages and yell at the sky. It then cuts to one week earlier where we find out how he got there: a double entendre for viewers at home also wanting to know how the Emmy award- winning West Wing actor ended up on a British TV production. However, displacing Lowe from America and putting him in Brexit Britain, and specifically in Boston, Lincolnshire, allowed the series writers to tell stories

BELOW DOP Baz Irvine on-set. To capture the location’s moodiness, he used a ‘heightened realism’ style

that were more left field and unexpected. You see, Boston is a socially complex part of the UK; it had the highest Leave vote in 2016 and has the highest murder rate per capita. Historically, it also has the largest immigrant population, because of its vegetable picking opportunities. These are all facts that are disclosed in the first episode, by the way – we’re not that knowledgeable about the second largest county in the UK (another fact). Second-block DOP, Baz Irvine ISC tells us: “You have to buy into the idea that Rob Lowe’s character was brought to this place as a policeman who needed to get control of these social issues. I think in one form or another, this story has been around for a while, but the scriptwriters, Dudi Appleton and Jim Keeble, have cleverly pushed it towards Boston to give it a Brexit backdrop. Otherwise, it could’ve just gone into a whimsy ‘Rob Lowe heads east’ type drama.”

For the look of Wild Bill, FX’s Fargo was referenced, combining the real and personal with surrealism

IMAGES West Wing actor Rob Lowe waking up in Lincolnshire with the backdrop of Brexit Britain, all captured with Sony’s Venice camera

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To achieve that sense of location, Irvine used wide-angle Zeiss Supreme lenses

ABOVE The Zeiss Supreme 65mm became Irvine’s go-to close-up lens

THE CABBAGE PATCH Lincolnshire has a fairly distinct geography, and brassica are native to the county; for all the non-horticulturists out there, a genus of leafy green vegetables, including broccoli and cabbage. Irvine says, “I was stunned when I went up there. It feels more different to me than any other county in the country. It’s got this edge-of-Europe feel to it because it has these big epic flat landscapes and strong winds coming in from the North Sea.” For the look of Wild Bill , FX’s Fargo was often referenced, as it was a series that combined real and personal tales with a surrealism that tied into the location of the show. “I can’t think of a series that I’ve watched in the last five or six years with a stronger sense of identity than Fargo . When you’re watching it, you feel as if you’re in the Minnesota landscape, and we wanted to capture that impression in Wild Bill .” To achieve that sense of location, and image of the characters within that location, Irvine used wide-angle Zeiss Supreme lenses. He says, “I got these lenses fresh out of the case and I used the 29mm, 35mm, 50mm and 65mm to shoot the whole series

on. The 65mm was still a prototype during the production of Wild Bill but I really loved that lens, and Sundeep Reddy, who is the tech specialist at Zeiss UK, went above and beyond his normal call of duty to make sure that I could have it.” Irvine continues, “it became my go- to close up lens and I even managed to swindle a second set for the B camera. I was operating the A camera, but I wanted the B camera to be more than just a B camera on set, I wanted it to have the freedom to hit different times of the day. In a way, I wanted its operator, Ben Chads, who is a long-term collaborator of mine, to be on a stealth black ops mission, where he could take his own call times to get the dusk and the dawn shots.” Irvine describes Wild Bill as having an artistry that allowed the moodiness and bleakness of the characters, setting and storyline to penetrate through a truly cinematic image. He calls this “heightened realism” and it’s a style that he says would not have been achievable without the Zeiss Supreme lenses, together with the Sony

ABOVE Baz Irvine with the Sony Venice shooting package

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Our DIT shot the Venice up at 6K, a higher resolution than we needed, but it was great to take advantage of the whole sensor

IMAGES Shooting at Christmas coincided with the largest snowfall of the year, but a Games of Thrones gaffer came to the rescue

ability to rate it at 2500 ISO and shoot day exteriors as the light was about to go.” LET IT SNOW Running out of light was always going to be an issue as shooting took place at either side of Christmas. Snowfall, however, well, that’s just bad luck. There is a day scene in episode four, where Lowe’s character is having a confrontation with another character in a barn. You wouldn’t know it when you see it, but shooting that scene occurred after sunset and coincided with the largest snowfall of this year. “The gaffer on board was Tom Gates, he had just come off of Game of Thrones and he’s a true artist, he’s got a great eye,” says

Irvine. “I knew we were going to have to create daylight beyond the day, but I didn’t expect the snowfall. We rigged up a SkyLite daylight balloon and dropped it into the barn set, this gave me the ability to extend the day, but we had to do a bit of work in VFX to clean up the snow. It created quite an extraordinary look though.” Irvine tries to be quite brave with making the decision to shoot using natural light: “You have to work out how you’re going to use it. For instance, there is a scene where Lowe and his colleagues find an abandoned car in the middle of a rural road. It was a classic tracking shot of five cops walking in a row as they approached the car, but they were all clad in black

Venice. “Our DIT, Peter Marsden, shot the Sony Venice up at 6K, which was a higher resolution than we needed, but it was great to take advantage of the whole sensor – and actually, the decision to shoot on the Venice at 6K with the Supreme lenses created a large format filmic image which, for me, was the biggest photographic decision that left an imprint on the series. “I hadn’t worked with the Sony Venice before using it to shoot Wild Bill ,” continues Irvine. “So I went into filming slightly blind,” he says. Fortunately, he ended up loving the camera. “It’s ergonomic and it’s got a great interface that I found really user-friendly. It also has a native ISO, and this gave me the

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In the Definition Tech Innovation Awards 2019, Sony won for codecs with X-OCN, which is the main codec used on the Venice camera. Raw recording – when treated and graded properly – makes the best images, but it also comes with some hefty logistical issues. The main ones being file size, cost and time. With Sony’s X-OCN codec, a lot of these issues have changed. X-OCN (eXtended tonal range Original Camera Negative) uses the 16-bit precision, but it moderates the bit rates. This, in turn, means you get much smaller file sizes than typical camera Raw, giving you fantastic tonal expression, longer record times, faster file transfers and hopefully saving you money in post-production. One TB of 4K X-OCN at 24fps can record up to 168 minutes, compared with 130 minutes for 1TB of Sony Raw. Like Raw, X-OCN doesn’t bake in your exposure index, colour space, LUTs, gamma etc. It captures these parameters as monitoring settings and is totally non-destructive, meaning you have amazing control and much better flexibility in post-production. There are two flavours of X-OCN: the first being standard (ST) and the second, light (LT). X-OCN ST has 40% longer recording time and approximately 30% shorter file transfer time than Sony Raw. The advantages for X-OCN LT are greater still, with 136% longer recording time and roughly 59% shorter file transfer.

GFM’s GF-8 crane is unique because it can be broken down in to different lengths with ease

Similarly, a GFM GF-8 crane was used in episode four to capture a murder scene that was discovered in the woods. The crane is unique, because it can be broken down into different lengths with ease; and this offered a versatility that enabled Irvine and the crew to crane down on the actors betwixt the trees in ample time. “It’s making that decision: what kit is going to serve us best? Don’t obstruct the filming process by coming up with an idea that is impossible to realise at the time. Think about what will work.” Irvine, however, prefers to shoot handheld and he painted this image of Ben Chads and himself going rogue, camera in tow, as they trekked through the wilderness – all this talk of forests and woodlands has distracted us from the fact that Wild Bill was set in Lincolnshire, not the Amazon. He says, “I’m not the sort of person to put an easy rig on, so with some of the action or more heightened and emotional scenes, Ben and I would just put the cameras straight on to our shoulders and dive in there to get the essence of the scene.” He explains that this would not have been possible without the trusting relationship between the director John Hardwick, first AD Alex Streeter and himself: “We blocked the scenes and, in the past, I’ve had directors ask ‘right, what

uniform and the sun was shining directly into my lens.” Irvine continues: “My TV Logic F-7H monitor was indicating that I was so far off one way in the highlights and so far off the other way in the shadows. Usually, I would protect the highlights and hope that the low lights would look after themselves, but it was so contrasty that I thought: this camera is either going to deliver in its dynamic range or it isn’t – and actually, it looks so filmic. The lenses had a lovely roll off in the whites and, when I sat down with the DIT, I thought, ‘this is amazing, I’ve got the detail’. “It’s just the reality of filming,” he adds. “You have to assess what you can achieve and when you’re shooting in the winter with a lot of exteriors, you have to think about how you’re going to get the most out of the day.” This philosophy applied to how Irvine moved the camera, partly because of the winter shoot but also because of the surroundings. “So much of the series was set around farmyards, on the edges of fields and in forests, that we didn’t have time to lay track. I would always look at where we needed to protect the integrity of movement, but occasionally Steadicam was necessary to capture the day,” he explains.

ABOVE Sebastian Leske, European product manager of News & Cinematography at Sony, with his Definition Tech Innovation Award

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shooting at 6K, the resolution is incredible, so we very subtly added some grain to break it up. I’m also not a fan of deep blacks, so I like to push a grey or a milkiness back into the shadows.” Irvine finishes: “I pushed some quite offbeat colours into the exteriors. For instance, I shot one scene in a council estate at night where I added a blend of greens and reds to give it a sense of uneasiness and also to accentuate the feeling of mixed fluorescent, tungsten and mercury lighting. I didn’t want it to feel like there were a lot of modern LEDs everywhere, I wanted it to be more timeless – and that’s what we got.” When you’re shooting at 6K, the resolution is incredible, so we subtly added some grain

IMAGES The edginess that Irvine wanted from the show’s dark scenes was protected in the grade

in the shadow. I could see that everyone thought it was a bit too edgy, but I just went for it and it looked great.” Irvine’s hankering for a slightly edgier image also came through in the grade: “I wanted to protect the darkness of the dark scenes and luckily I was able to. There can be a tendency to raise overall brightness as a default, despite the fact that there was initial support for a darker, more contrasty image. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case with Wild Bill .” The grade was done on Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve at Goldcrest, by multi award-winning colourist, Jet Omoshebi. She’s also a friend of Irvine’s and they shared a partiality towards the final look of the series. He explains, “we wanted to keep it quite filmic and natural. When you’re

are the shots?’ and it’s not constructive to stand there, in front of everybody, and list off the shots. Streeter was great, though, he supported my preference of being able to get stuck into a scene and start shooting to find out what it needs.” FRESH OUT OF HOLLYWOOD If you have watched the series, you will know that Lowe plays a modern cop with modern tools: well, algorithms. They crop up a lot over the hour. Even if you don’t include the algorithm that crafted his matchlessly chiselled face. “Before shooting had even started, I thought a lot about how to show Rob as this character who is completely out of his comfort zone, but that happens with the writing. The mistake comes when you try to force it and accentuate it more. We didn’t really have to do anything with him because he looked like what we all expected, he looked like a Hollywood star and that fitted his character.” In his office at the police station, Lowe’s character – Bill Hixon – is surrounded by numbers and calculations on screens at either side of him to create the image of a man who has hidden his true self behind the technology his whole life, and who – when brought to this new place – is forced to open up. “He’s a number cruncher and that doesn’t quite fit into the British cop aesthetic, so he’s forced out of his office to work on location and become a detective. It’s the mystery of place, the characters, the unusual accent; these are all factors that bring out a new side to him.” Irvine would sometimes create shadows on Lowe’s face because – referring back to that Hollywood chiselled-ness – “he’s got a great face to work with and it helped emphasise the mood of certain scenes. For instance, in episode four, Lowe’s character is sitting at a bar in a working man’s club, and I wanted to use a somewhat bluer light and a toplight to get his eyes


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