DEFINITION - April 2020 - Web


I was shooting shots I wouldn’t dare to do if I was the only camera shooting the scene

of the corridor, to the destruction of the entire place.” All of this helped Ciupek to create the stylised “neo-noir meets graphic novel” look he had in mind, especially for the Skizm world. He explains: “It’s quite brave in regard to the saturation of the colours – I usually pushed the colour intensity to the limit, where the camera would nearly get in to clipping, as I really felt that this is how I would imagine a graphic world to be: super saturated and really dark.” ONE-SHOT FIGHT Originally, there was the idea to introduce the character Nix in a one-shot, three- minute sequence, where she takes down a coke den full of baddies. However, this was cut down by about 30 seconds in the edit. The scene starts with a fluid Steadicam shot viewing the quiet scene of the den, then the camera reaches the exit and someone flies through. The view then moves in reverse back to the starting point. “We spent quite a while designing this shot and the stunt rehearsals for it, as it has a lot of hidden cuts. We had the stunt supervisor who worked on Kingsman, who rehearsed his team endlessly,” says Ciupek. “Jason had a board of how the sequence would go, but then once you get the input from the stunt people, the whole thing develops from there. Over several weeks, the stunt team refined their choreography on their own stage, with a new version

lights, which were Astera LED tube lights. We had to do a full blackout of this place and rig it like it was a real stage. We had one main shooting area, which was basically the Skizm video control room with a 300m long corridor – great for entrance shots and showing the scale of the place.” As soon as Ciupek saw the set for the first time, he knew how he wanted to light it. “It was like an eighties or nineties set-up video studio design, so it was going to be lit in a combination of deep red and cyan blue primary-coloured lighting, which came from the Asteras. We had all the practical Astera tube lights on an iPad control, so we could dial in the final colours. Another reference for me were the warm inky blacks and yellowish lighting of Fallen Angels , which was shot by Chris Doyle in the nineties.” He continues: “We also had around ten HMI lights on rostrums, which had filtration and were iris adjustable. I could basically create shafts of lights with those, and I also had two massive Mole Beams more for ambient lighting. We had different lighting set-ups ready, so we could move over to different scenes on the stage quite quickly; it only took about five minutes to swap over the look of a scene dramatically – from maybe the cool Blade Runner blue

camera is totally synchronised and does the same spin as he does – it’s very intense. “The grip crew came up with dozens of body rigs and different set-ups so we could rig a camera to Daniel’s body. Obviously, we had gimbals, but wouldn’t go gimbal all the time and I wouldn’t go Steadicam all the time – sometimes, I thought something else was better. Also, I did an interesting thing that I adopted from the early days of working with Anthony Dod Mantle, where I had the idea to mix unusual camera set-ups. “Basically, A camera did the boarded shots on Steadicam, I roamed around and did a handheld set-up of the same scene in a more of a kind of documentary way, more immersed in the emotions of Daniel. Then the editors cut from a super-clean front shot into a shaky profile shot, it was very unusual way of feeling the tension more – it worked very well this combination. As I felt that the Steadicam always did the safe set-up, I was shooting shots that I wouldn’t dare to do if I was the only camera shooting the scene.” SKIZM’S LAIR Guns Akimbo was shot half in Auckland, although the film is set in America, so it is strange seeing the traffic on the wrong side of the road. The other half was shot in Munich, Bavaria, where an abandoned paper factory served as the HQ of Skizm. “It had around 80% of the texture and look before we even started,” says Ciupek. “We only had 40 shooting days and no real second unit (just a few pick-up units), so we were under loads of pressure to work fast. I spent some time with my gaffer, Chris Böck, to convert this huge factory building in to a stage where you could have computer-controlled

BELOW Auckland doubled as a US city – spot the traffic on the wrong side of the road for America

24 DEF I N I T ION | APR I L 2020

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