We’ve past the halfway mark in 2023, which means expos and film festivals are making the headlines. Read about what was hot at Cannes, who did what at Cine Gear Expo LA and what to expect when Euro Cine Expo returns to Munich for its second outing!
JULY 2023 DEFINITIONMAGAZINE.COM
HOLDING ON TO POWER A selection of the finest batteries available
FILMING A SNOOKER PRODIGY CAMERA LISTINGS
Cine Gear LA Expo What went down in Tinseltown
THAT’S A WRAP! The big winners from Cannes Film Festival
Creating the fantastical lands of His Dark Materials from previs to postvis
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30 Lots of the Hollywood old guard were on La Croisette for Cannes in May. This 12-day event saw veteran actor Harrison Ford attend for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – we’re told it’s definitely his last outing as the archaeologist – while Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro turned out for Killers of the Flower Moon . Also, Euro Cine Expo is upon us. Read on to see what’s happening in Munich.
COVER IMAGE © MARVEL 2023
DUST TO DUST We learn about the work that went into Season 3 of the multiverse-spanning fantasy epic, His Dark Materials
H ow can it be the July edition Kingdom , you should head straight for our piece on its feature film finale – The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die . This cinematic climax is the final capstone to the BBC-turned-Netflix hit, based on the Bernard Cornwell books. Speaking of book adaptations, we have an interview with two of the key members behind the third and final series of His Dark Materials . Learn about the intricate skills needed in a production that brought life to the universes that flowed from the nib of Philip Pullman’s pen. already? Time flies when you’re having fun. If you are a fan of sweeping Saxon series The Last
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3. JULY 2023
ABSOLUTE UNIT Bebob’s B480cine is just one of a bumper crop of brilliant batteries found over on page 39
08 END OF THE REIGN
The Last Kingdom goes from series to film in Netflix’s Seven Kings Must Die . We get the low-down on a dramatic conclusion 16 EURO VISION Euro Cine Expo returns for its second year – and it’s going to be bigger and better 22 INDUSTRY BRIEFINGS That’s a wrap on Cannes Film Festival! Find all the big winners here. Plus MPTS sees record numbers, and other headlines 30 BRAVE NEW WORLD A novel approach to bringing fantasy epic His Dark Materials to the small screen 39 HOLDING ON TO POWER These high-octane battery units and power accessories are leading the charge in film sets and on location
70 LA STORY
Camera stabilisers come in all styles, shapes and sizes. Here’s a selection 53 CHILD’S PLAY Filming content for and featuring children – however talented – requires delicacy 62 SCREEN TIME We monitor the display tech landscape
Cine Gear LA Expo made a triumphant return to the Studios at Paramount 76 ALL AT SEA VFX director on Amazon’s The Rig tasked with creating eerie effects speaks out 87 CAMERA LISTINGS The best cameras on the market
5. JULY 2023
ON THE COVER. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 Defending the universe THE END OF THE GUARDIANS? J ames Gunn returned to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 , his final Marvel movie before heading up rival comic book for the Disney+ Star Wars spin-off series The Mandalorian . However, he later cited the sets as being too extensive to use the technology successfully. That October, Gunn acknowledged they were seemingly bigger than those in The Suicide Squad .
house DC Studios. The third and final instalment sees Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and Groot (Vin Diesel) return for the group’s final quest, to safeguard Rocket (Bradley Cooper) from malevolent entities that could tear them apart. Gunn initially said in February 2021 that the film would use Industrial Light & Magic’s Stagecraft (aka the volume), the virtual production technology designed
Gunn’s swansong was shot for the Imax programme and filmed using certified Imax digital cameras. This has allowed the entire movie to feature the exclusive Imax Expanded Aspect Ratio, which offers up to 26% more visual content from beginning to end. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now available to watch in cinemas
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URSA Mini Pro 12K is a revolution in digital film with a 12,288 x 6480 Super 35 sensor built into the award winning URSA Mini body. The combination of 80 megapixels, new color science and the flexibility of Blackmagic RAW makes working with 12K a reality. URSA Mini Pro 12K features an interchangeable PL mount, built in ND filters, dual CFast and UHS-II SD card recorders, USB-C expansion port and more. Digital Film in Extreme Resolution URSA Mini Pro 12K gives you the benefits of shooting with film including amazing detail, wide dynamic range and rich, full RGB color. Incredible definition around objects makes it ideal for working with green screen and VFX including compositing live action and CGI. Super sampling at 12K means you get better color and resolution at 8K as well as smooth antialiased edges. Cinematic 12K Super 35 Sensor The URSA Mini Pro 12K sensor has a resolution of 12,288 x 6480, 14 stops of dynamic range and a native ISO of 800. Featuring equal amounts of red, green and blue pixels, the sensor is optimized for images at multiple resolutions. You can shoot 12K at 60 fps or use in-sensor scaling to allow 8K or 4K RAW at up to 120 fps without cropping or changing your field of view.
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PRODUCTION. THE LAST KINGDOM
The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die aims to tie up all the loose ends posed by the conclusion of Season 5. However, making a film instead of a sixth series creates some battles End of the reign
WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Netflix
THE LAST KINGDOM PRODUCTION.
09. JULY 2023
PRODUCTION. THE LAST KINGDOM
F or those who were disheartened by the absence of a sixth series of The Last Kingdom , rejoice. In Season 5, Uhtred’s profound odyssey comes full circle as he reaches the very place where it all began – his rightful inheritance, the ancestral land of Bebbanburg, which was snatched away from him many years ago by his duplicitous uncle Aelfric, and subsequently claimed by his callous cousin Wihtgar. However, instead of tying things up with a sixth season, it was decided to end the epic tale in a movie.
“The producers felt there was still one last great Uhtred tale to tell, so they got the gang back together,” explains Luke Bryant, cinematographer on The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die . “As this was likely to be Uhtred’s last journey, we tried to raise the stakes as much as possible, both narratively and aesthetically. I’d worked with producer Mat Chaplin previously and we’d wanted to work together again. Mat got me in for a chat with director Ed Bazalgette and we hit it off immediately. The script itself was based on the final few books of The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell.” Deciding on the right kit is usually a subjective exercise, but one key discussion was on how to remain true to the visual grammar of the TV show, while also broadening and deepening the palette of the film. For that reason, the team decided to shoot with large format anamorphic Cooke lenses, on the Alexa LF. “The wider aspect ratio of anamorphic gives us an epic canvas – a more cinematic
feel. Anamorphic lenses tend to flare more than spherical lenses and that really helps a show like The Last Kingdom , where that sense of having organic texture, a rootedness in the period of the Saxons, is key to our sense of time and place,” Bryant explains. “We always wanted a haziness to the image, like you’re seeing everything through the gauze of smoke and steam. You also get such painterly bokeh with the Cooke lenses, so even
“We always wanted a haziness to the image, like you’re seeing everything through the gauze of smoke and steam”
KEEPING CONSISTENT Luke Bryant DOP used the preceding TV series as a visual reference while adding a cinematic edge
IN THE MOMENT The final battle scene was made to feel more raw by gradually reducing the amount of filtration throughout the film
PRODUCTION. THE LAST KINGDOM
“It was a tricky balancing act, staying true to the visual DNA of the show while taking it to a level reflecting the demands of a feature film”
interesting image, so we were constantly using textiles to soften it, but with the remoteness of the location and the wind, we were fairly limited to the size of textile we could use. Our gaffer and electrical team did a brilliant job and we smoothed out any changes in the grade – I think we just about got away with it. “It was a tricky balancing act staying true to the visual DNA of the show while taking it to a level reflecting the demands of a feature film,” says Bryant, though he was happy with what the team achieved. “I’m also really proud of the way we balanced the cinematography of the battle scenes against the narrative scenes,” he continues. “You’re always looking for a sense of a narrative arc in a feature; you want the visual style to develop throughout the film as it mirrors the protagonist’s journey.” For example, during filming, Bryant gradually changed the filtration he
in a close-up with shallow depth-of-field, the way backgrounds are rendered is beautiful. I guess technically, anamorphic lenses are dual-node (where the light beams converge when going through the lens), whereas spherical lenses are single-node, and that gives anamorphic such a three-dimensional quality. We shot tests comparing the different formats and large format anamorphic blew us away.” HEAVY REIGN Good news on the tech front, but there was a major hurdle that presented itself – inclement weather. The final battle was shot over the course of eight days for the main unit, often with four cameras plus a drone, so maintaining lighting continuity over it all was tricky to say the least. “One day we had snow, wind, rain, sun and sleet all within a few hours,” Bryant recalls. “Obviously, front-lit sun is your enemy when you’re trying to create an
THE LAST KINGDOM PRODUCTION.
13. JULY 2023
THE LAST KINGDOM PRODUCTION.
LINING UP Shot on an Alexa LF with anamorphic Cooke lenses, the film has an even more cinematic bent than the already classy original series
LEARNING CURVE Although Bryant’s primary responsibility was aesthetic and creative, he discovered a huge amount about leadership. “We had challenging parameters within which to work, so staying positive, keeping the team motivated and keeping channels of communication clear was incredibly important,” he says. “During the main battle sequence, we had hundreds of people to coordinate in extreme weather conditions, so making sure that everyone knew exactly what their job was ended up being critical.” Watch The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die on Netflix
and I can’t actually tell where the set ends and the VFX begins!” Bryant exclaims. “Which is as it should be, making the world of the film more complete, more fully rounded. For some of the wide exterior digital matte paintings (mostly shots of towns from afar), we added a bit more film grain in the grade just to accentuate that sense of haze, to make the effect feel even more bedded in.” At one point in the film, Bryant and his team use a horse to provide a foreground wipe, letting them move from set to set. “If I remember correctly, it had been used in a previous series,” he states. “I learnt lots from watching the show; there’s some fantastic work by the preceding DOPs.”
was using, as well as the shutter angle, so by the time it got to the final battle scene there was zero filtration in the camera and he was using a 144° shutter. “This gave the battle scene imagery more bite, more immediacy and made it a more kinetically immersive experience for the audience,” Bryant explains. “Early on, we have a scene where we see the antagonist start to exert control, and I was pleased with how we lit him, using chiaroscuro with a high lighting ratio across the face, to suggest the hidden nature of his dark machinations.” One of the most impressive aspects of The Last Kingdom was its pre-existing sets: a huge, detailed world had been built over the last few years and series. On occasion, the production team looked to extend these sets or link a courtyard interior to an exterior, using a blue screen to expand the world. Needless to say, there’s a lot of VFX in the film – from digital matte paintings and crowd replication to removing signs of modern life and set extensions. “I thought the VFX was absolutely seamless. For the final Valhalla scene, the VFX team had to extend our main hall “I thought the VFX was seamless. I can’t actually tell where the set ends and the VFX begins!”
15. JULY 2023
INDUSTRY. EURO CINE PREVIEW
The inaugural Euro Cine Expo 2022 proved a hit with the international crowd, so it’s coming back bigger and better WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Various Euro vision
I ntroducing a new event to what some might call an already-saturated market is always a challenge. However, that wasn’t the case for Euro Cine Expo when it premiered last year. Dedicated to the technology and creativity of cinematography, Motorworld in Munich welcomed over 100 exhibitors and nearly 2000 visitors from all four corners of the globe – and it’s gearing up for a return. Rob Saunders, event director, said he was always confident that the inaugural Euro Cine Expo would be a success. “We have a lighting workshop hosted by James Friend ASC BSC”
“However, the large international attendance is probably what surprised us most,” he remarks. “This is an area we are now looking to grow. We’re excited for another great year.” The 2023 event will take place across five different spaces at Motorworld together with outdoor exhibits. Each space has its own unique environment which will aid in showcasing the different technologies on display. There will also be more exhibits, with two full days of seminars and workshops. “We have two dedicated lighting workshops, one hosted by Astera LED and an Aputure Flex event hosted by Academy Award winner James Friend ASC BSC and Harlon Haveland,” Saunders adds. “Band Pro and BVK will be hosting an HDR workshop. In addition,
we have a virtual production showcase hosted by Teltec. Our seminars will feature topics such as green productions and sustainability, virtual production, inclusion and parity, panels with leading cinematographers, presentations from Imago Technical committee and more.” Following on from the success of last year’s event, Saunders is positive if a little pragmatic about its future growth. “It’s important for us to establish Euro Cine Expo in the international calendar,” he states. “However, we do intend to develop and grow certain aspects of the event while maintaining its focus.” Euro Cine Expo will run from 30 June to 1 July at Motorworld in Munich
VIDENDUM BOOTH 2-009
In partnership with Teltec, Videndum Production Solutions will be showing the latest products from Litepanels, Quasar Science, Anton Bauer and OConnor. Highlights include Litepanels’ Gemini 2x1 Hard, ultra-bright RGBWW LED panels, Quasar Science’s Rainbow 2 and Double Rainbow LED tubes and Anton Bauer’s next-generation block battery system – VCLX NM2. Its VP stage will also incorporate image-based lighting (IBL) technology, allowing studios to immerse actors in the story by synchronising with LED walls and AR/VR/XR graphics. videndum.com
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND After last year’s success, Euro Cine Expo is returning to Motorworld Munich
EURO CINE PREVIEW INDUSTRY.
WHAT’S ON AT EURO CINE EXPO 2023?
Astera BOOTH 5-020
Astera will be showcasing its latest innovation: the new Fresnel Range. Bridging a significant gap in the LED-based fresnel market, the introduction of the compact PlutoFresnel and larger LeoFresnel offer all the benefits of LED technology, such as lower power consumption, higher output strength, precise colour control, lightweight design and flexible installation. The PlutoFresnel achieves the equivalent of a 300W tungsten fresnel while drawing only 80W, and the LeoFresnel achieves a 1000W equivalent using only 250W. Both lights offer beam angles ranging from 15° to 60° without any colour fringing, enabling use in various creative contexts – from stage lighting to film and documentary production. Moreover, the removable fresnel lens allows the LED base to be utilised in even more diverse applications. Designed under the mantra ‘fresnels made portable’, PlutoFresnel and LeoFresnel – weighing just 4.5kg and 14kg respectively – can be easily transported and installed in challenging environments. Additionally, they’re the first fresnel lights in the market with built-in batteries, providing two to three hours of maximum-brightness runtime. For locations with limited power access, the lights can be combined with Astera’s Runtime Extender and Seamless Runtime technology. With a range of mounting options, including a quick- release detachable YokeBase, removable handle and Airline Track mounting, lighting pros have complete creative freedom in terms of logistics and technical control. astera-led.com
HIGH ON THE AGENDA Some of the industry’s most innovative companies are exhibiting in Munich
APUTURE BOOTH 5-040
Visit lighting manufacturer Aputure to get a taste of the latest innovations in professional LED lighting. The Aputure team stands ready to answer your questions and will offer hands-on experience with fixtures such as the LS 1200d Pro, Nova P600c, the MT Pro and MC Pro practical lights – and maybe even a new powerhouse that is promised to challenge the competition on a whole new level. Make sure to stop by if you work in the field of cinematic lighting, because you don’t want to miss this. aputure.com
Bebob BOOTH 5-039
Munich-based battery manufacturer Bebob is launching the new B480cine, the most powerful B-Mount battery on the market to date. In addition to an industry-wide unique capacity of 475Wh and a maximum load capacity of 20A (continuous current), the newcomer also offers 14.4/28.8v dual- voltage capability and 450W continuous power output – as is the case with the complete Bebob B-Mount portfolio. This makes the B480cine an ideal power supply for particularly power-hungry 12v and 24v equipment on-set – easily replacing additional large and clunky on-ground batteries, especially for 24v accessories. bebob.de/en
17. JULY 2023
EURO CINE PREVIEW INDUSTRY.
VOCAS BOOTH 4-011
Atomos BOOTH 4-003
Among its most popular accessories for cameras like the Sony Cinema Line and Arri Alexa 35, Vocas is showcasing the newly developed USBP set for the Red Komodo-X. Also on the booth is CaseCart: the ultimate fusion of a hard case and production cart, offering storage for a fully rigged camera or drone set-up. vocas.com
Atomos will focus on enabling camera- to-cloud (C2C) workflows with the Connect range of network-enabled monitor/recorders. C2C is one of the fastest-growing technologies in video production. It speeds up content creation by reducing time between production and post-production, as there’s no need to offload, copy, process and ship large files. New for the show will be C2C integration with Sony Ci Media and a first look at Atomos Edit, a browser-based, collaborative video editor. Both are part of Atomos Cloud Studio – a suite of services that augment the capabilities of Atomos products, empowering filmmakers with tools for collaboration and review, editing, live production and streaming. The Sumo, a 19in 4K monitor-recorder-switcher, and the Shogun Studio 2, an eight- channel monitor-recorder-switcher, will also be on show. atomos.com
Creamsource BOOTH 5-002
Creamsource will demonstrate its portfolio of best-in-class lighting solutions, including the flagship Vortex Series, SpaceX and Micro fixtures. On display will be a blindingly impressive array of Vortex8 lights, rigged together by the new LNX mounting system. The arrival of LNX introduces a streamlined way for rigging gaffers to connect multiple Vortex fixtures. With a series of purpose-built clamps and pins, rigging and cabling is faster and – most importantly – safer for operators and anyone under the rig. Use as many units as you like – the only real limit is your ability to support the rig. Creamsource will also demo the latest firmware upgrades for the Vortex series. Now fully supported with CRMX2, with additional control via DMX, users can get more creative with effects. Reduced-Zone DMX modes allow you to operate the light with two or four pixels in split, bars and grid configurations. creamsource.com
Betteries BOOTH 5-002
At the Betteries booth will be the new DC Dock 2000. This DC-DC converter works seamlessly with Betteries’ modular, mobile and connected Betterpacks, which are made of upcycled batteries from electric vehicles. The DC Dock 2000 is not only the most powerful and efficient DC power source on the market, but also the most sustainable and environmentally friendly solution. betteries.com
ZEISS BOOTH 1-006
Zeiss will show off its latest optical and VFX tech including high-end cine lenses. One such product is the wide- angle 15mm T1.8, which completes the 14-lens Supreme Prime set. zeiss.co.uk
CORE SWX BOOTH 5-045
Core SWX will display its new Renegade Series of power stations at Euro Cine Expo. They’re the culmination of years of R&D to deliver high-capacity lithium-based power solutions with incredible versatility for cinema and lighting. The Renegade series features three models: Renegade, Renegade XL and Renegade XL 48. The Renegade is a 777Wh, LifePO4 power station delivering 15, 28 and 48v simultaneously up to 1200W. The XL models are 1376Wh, lithium-ion power stations. The XL can also deliver 15, 28 or 48v, making it a versatile power source for cinema equipment. For a lighting-focused option, the XL 48 variant has you covered with dual 48v, 15A outputs. coreswx.com
19. JULY 2023
INDUSTRY. EURO CINE PREVIEW
Hawk-Woods BOOTH 2-027
CMOTION BOOTH 1-005
Cmotion will display the Mainstation MST1, which is the first ultra-compact, high-power device of its kind that takes any commonly used power source on-set and provides all required output ranges – simultaneously – up to 1000W. It’s also a three-bay simultaneous charger for industry-standard batteries. Five independent inputs, six always-on, high-power outputs plus a three-bay charger in the smallest form factor the industry has ever seen. cmotion.eu
Hawk-Woods will showcase its Mini X-Boxx floor battery. This compact and lightweight battery box offers impressive features and capabilities, while the design is smaller and lighter than its predecessors and competitors, making it highly portable without compromising power capacity or performance. Despite its compact size, it packs an impressive punch with a power capacity of 880Wh. One of the standout features of the Mini X-Boxx is the refined graphic display, allowing users to monitor their power usage with ease. It provides essential information like remaining runtime, battery voltage and an accurate charging status. hawkwoods.co.uk
Aspectra BOOTH 1-002
Find out about the Mini PAGlink Cinergy Battery – a forthcoming addition to PAG’s range. It enables Mini PAGlink batteries to be connected in series so they can power high-voltage cameras like the Arri Alexa 35. The 99Wh, 14.8v Cinergy Battery makes use of optical sensors and pattern labels. aspectra.nl
Tiffen International BOOTH 2-003
See the all-new Steadicam Zephyr and Aero sleds, which feature a totally new version of the Volt stabiliser. This adds pan-axis stabilisation to tilt and roll. Previously, the Volt could only fit on larger rigs, but these new sleds have had the stabiliser specifically integrated into their design. tiffen.com
LATEST AND GREATEST This year, there will be five different exhibition halls as well as an outdoor space
Deity Microphones BOOTH 5-040 Learn about the Theos
AMARAN BOOTH 5-040
Pass by to learn about the Amaran 150c and 300c: Amaran’s first ever full-colour 150W and 300W point-source LED lights, combining RGBWW full-colour control, optical and soft-light, Bowens-mount versatility, integrated controls and – most importantly – high-quality light output. In combination with the Amaran Spotlight SE (Amaran’s first projection lens modifier), users can elevate the performance of their 150c and 300c lights. The compact optical modifier for Bowens-mount point-source fixtures (up to 300W) transforms your light into a powerful spotlight that can extend the reach of your illumination and produce an even, shapeable output using its built-in shutters, different lens options, 15 M-size gobos and optional iris accessory. aputure.com
Digital Wireless mic system, which uses a wide-band UHF spectrum rather than the crowded 2.4GHz band. Frequencies span between 550-960MHz. It also features swappable frequency ranges based on your phone’s GPS/firmware update. deitymic.com
Industry briefings FRENCH CONNECTION
Justine Triet becomes third female director to win the Palme d’Or, while A-listers turn out on the Côte d’Azur
French mystery-thriller Anatomie d’une Chute ( Anatomy of a Fall ) just claimed the Palme d’Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival. Director Justine Triet clinched the much-heralded top prize for her gripping courtroom drama revolving around a writer accused of murdering her husband. She is the third female director to win since the award’s inception in 1955. The thriller stars Sandra Hüller, who also appears in winner of the Grand Prix, The Zone of Interest . On accepting, Triet verbally attacked the French government for its handling of the pension protests. “These protests were... repressed in a shocking way,” she said in
her speech, after being presented with the award by veteran movie star Jane Fonda. The Grand Prix, the second- highest prize, went to British director Jonathan Glazer for the aforementioned The Zone of Interest . Loosely based on the late Martin Amis novel of the same name, the wartime film portrays a Nazi family living next to Auschwitz. Meanwhile, Japan’s Kōji Yakusho secured the best actor award for his portrayal of a middle- aged man from Tokyo who cleans toilets in Perfect Days ; and Turkey’s Merve Dizdar secured best actress for About Dry Grasses . Elsewhere, Vietnamese-French filmmaker Tran Anh Hùng was named best director for The Pot-au- Feu , which features Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel and is set in a 19th-century Loire Valley chateau. “She is the third female director to win the award since its inception in 1955”
There were also awards for the old guard: Michael Douglas was handed an honorary Palme d’Or (akin to a lifetime achievement award), as well as a teary-eyed Harrison Ford, just before the world premiere of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny . Some of the other big names spotted on La Croisette over the 12 days included Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Quentin Tarantino and Sean Penn.
ONLY THE BEST Anatomie d’une Chute won out over some fierce competition
Shift 4 Cine opens brand-new London facility
Rental house Shift 4 has opened an innovative cinematography unit next to its London broadcast division, housing a highly experienced team, top- of-the-range cinema gear and a stylish and adaptable facility. The unit is designed to help DOPs, directors and producers build the visual grammar for their projects. Users can choose from a selection of lenses,
test in the multipurpose Look Development Studio, customise aesthetics in the adjoining Grading Suite, consult with the Special Optical Projects team to optimise glass for a truly bespoke image, as well as prep in the Cine Space complete with all of its state-of-the-art production tools. For more details, visit shift-4.com/Shift4Cine
SHOOTING RANGE Shift 4’s new unit helps DOPs hone in on a specific look
List of 2023 Cannes Film Festival winners PALME D’OR Anatomy of a Fall | Justine Triet GRAND PRIX The Zone of Interest | Jonathan Glazer JURY PRIZE Fallen Leaves | Aki Kaurismäki BEST DIRECTOR Tran Anh Hùng | The Pot-Au-Feu BEST SCREENPLAY Yuji Sakamoto | Monster BEST ACTRESS Merve Dizdar | About Dry Grasses BEST ACTOR Kōji Yakusho | Perfect Days HONORARY PALME D’OR Michael Douglas Harrison Ford CAMERA D’OR FOR BEST FIRST FILM The Yellow Cocoon Shell | Pham Thiên Ân SHORT FILM PALME D’OR 27 | Flóra Anna Buda PRIX UN CERTAIN REGARD How to Have Sex | Molly Manning Walker
INDIANA JONESING Harrison Ford was commended with an honorary Palme d’Or ahead of his latest outing
23. JULY 2023
NO BOOKING NEEDED Visit Pinewood Studios to learn all about exciting new media production techniques
SONY OPENS VP CENTRE AT PINEWOOD STUDIOS
Sony has launched a virtual production space at its Pinewood Digital Media Production Centre (DMPC), bringing together cinematography experts, cutting- edge equipment and training. The always- open space is perfect for everyone, from
directors to actors, providing access to Sony’s Cinema Line and CineAlta cameras, Crystal LED screens, virtual production toolset and professional monitors. With no appointments necessary, visitors can walk in and seek specialist opinions, training and testing services from the industry’s experts. The 60 sq m facility also features partner products like Ncam’s tracking software and the Sony Crystal LED B-series video wall, which creates a fantastic visual experience. Sony has partnered with Lux Machina to develop this innovative facility, making it a must-visit location for anyone looking to improve their virtual production technology know-how.
PIXOTOPE LAUNCHES VP APP FOR EDUCATION
Pixotope has unveiled an app providing access to AR, virtual studio tools and workflows for students. Available as part of the Pixotope Education Program, the Pixotope Pocket app enables aspiring professionals to create powerful, immersive content anywhere using a PC and a smartphone running the latest iOS. Unlike traditional AR and VS, Pixotope Pocket eliminates need for a professional camera and hardware. Users can shoot footage with a phone camera while the app takes care of camera tracking, combining device motion tracking, camera scene capture and advanced scene processing. The University of Gloucestershire, a partner of the Pixotope Education Program, helped bring the app to market by having its digital media students test the service and provide feedback.
MPTS welcomes record visitors
The Media Production and Technology Show (MPTS) attracted a record-breaking 10,000+ visitors from 47 countries to London’s Olympia from 10 to 11 May. It featured over 100 live sessions and more than 300 speakers across six theatres, such as Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight CBE. The huge event showcased the UK’s technical and creative excellence. A keynote session from Epic Games on virtual production drew a crowd, while the theatre hosted a case study of HBO’s House of the Dragon and insights from Pixotope, Absen and Disguise. Meanwhile, audio and post-production stages hosted panels from Picture Shop and Framestore.
CREATIVITY ON SHOW Massive numbers filled the audience this year, with speakers from across the industry sharing their visions
25. JULY 2023
RED UNVEILS KOMODO-X 6K
Red has introduced the Komodo-X digital cinema camera featuring a cutting-edge sensor, bridging the gap between the Komodo series and higher-end Raptor. The camera will launch as a limited- edition ST model initially, followed by the production version. It boasts a new 6K Super 35 image sensor, the same size as the original Komodo 6K Super 35 global shutter sensor, improving shadow quality, colour depth and supporting double the frame rates, including 6K/80p and 4K/120p options. “We are excited to welcome the Komodo-X into the new line-up of Red cameras, joining the original Komodo and the rest of the DSMC3 family,” said Red president Jarred Land. “With its global shutter, increased frame rates and improved audio and power infrastructure, the Komodo-X is our new all- round workhorse, filling our line-up between the 6K Komodo and mighty 8K V-Raptor.” The new system also has an integrated micro V-Lock power plate, reinforced RF “Global shutter, increased frame rates and improved power infrastructure”
NEXT GENERATION Plugging the gap, the Komodo-X 6K nestles between the 6K Komodo and 8K V-Raptor
lens mount and supports the direct-mounted DSMC3 7 Touch LCD, freeing up the 12G SDI port for other monitoring purposes. With integrated USB-C and built-in Wi-Fi, there are multiple options to remotely control the camera, as well as in-camera cloud uploading functionality. It also supports frame-accurate PTP synchronisation or tri- level genlock sensor sync with the ability to offset on the fly to support multicamera LED volume productions.
Ghost appoints Hargreaves as VFX supervisor
Hargreaves previously worked for DNEG and MPC, and recently received an HPA Award nomination in outstanding visual effects for Prehistoric Planet . Other credits include working on Bafta Award nominee Emerald City , the multiple-award-winning series Outlander as well as the popular crime drama Death in Paradise .
“We’re thrilled to have Andy join Ghost VFX at our London studio,” said company president Patrick Davenport. “He knows how to get the very best from artists and support them in the process. His experience and accolades make him a trusted partner to filmmakers and a great addition to our expanding global team.”
Ghost VFX, Streamland Media’s visual effects division, has just named Andy Hargreaves as VFX supervisor at its London studio. The new appointment has over 20 years of experience across commercials, films and episodics including Prehistoric Planet , The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and Marvel’s Inhumans .
TALENT INBOUND Hargreaves previously supervised the VFX for Prehistoric Planet, which received much acclaim
DIGITAL INNOVATION Decades of experience has culminated in a creative collaboration between software and equipment
CROATIAN MOCAP STUDIO ONE OF THE FIRST TO DEPLOY VICON’S VALKYRIE AND SHŌGUN
across an impressive field of view, and tailored towards demanding applications including full-body and high-resolution finger performance capture, virtual production and in-camera VFX (ICVFX) for AAA films and games.
space and is now fully equipped with 24 Vicon Valkyrie 26-megapixel cameras for its growing client list across the gaming and film industries. “Built on nearly four decades of Vicon expertise, the capabilities and
Digital Kinetics, a new motion capture studio based in Croatia, has become one of the first studios in the world to utilise Vicon’s top-of-the-line Valkyrie cameras along with the well-established Shōgun software platform. Delivered by GPEM, a specialist motion capture company and Vicon distributor based in Italy, the combination of Valkyrie and Shōgun has enabled the creation of a truly world-leading motion capture stage at the Digital Kinetics Zagreb base. Designed to deliver the best motion capture and virtual production services, this is available to local and international entertainment companies. The Digital Kinetics motion capture stage boasts a total of 300 sq m studio
robustness of the combined Valkyrie and Shōgun system are designed to help studios of any size optimise capture and processing for maximum- quality results,” said Andy Ray, sales director at Vicon. “It’s fantastic to see an up-and- coming studio go live with their Valkyrie-enabled system.” The VK26 is the flagship of the Valkyrie range, offering 26-megapixel resolution
BFI funds industry players Berkshire Skills Cluster has received £600,000 in funding over three years from the British Film Institute (BFI), to help film and TV production become more accessible and train new crew. Resource Productions CIC, Shinfield Studios and the University of Reading joined forces to create the cluster, addressing acute shortages in the industry. The scheme will create opportunities
for underrepresented groups and offer support for over-50s jobseekers, building a greater local skills base and providing effective development. Shinfield Studios is set to become one of the largest state-of- the-art production facilities in the UK, already attracting high- profile productions.
PRODUCTION. HIS DARK MATERIALS
PERFECTING THE PROCESS In Season 3, artvis was employed to conceptualise designs early on, achieving quality and remarkable detail
Brave new world HIS DARK MATERIALS PRODUCTION.
In the grand and enchanting fantasy genre, there exists a story of epic proportions that’s captivated our imaginations and transcended the bounds of reality – here’s how His Dark Materials was adapted for TV
WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Bad Wolf/BBC/HBO &
Painting Practice/Bad Wolf
S et in a seemingly parallel universe to our own, where magic and science intertwine, His Dark Materials follows the adventures of a young and fearless girl, Lyra Belacqua/Silvertongue. Accompanied by her animal companion, Pantalaimon (Pan), she journeys through a world where humans possess animal-like spirits known as daemons and sentient armoured bears roam the lands. Together, they explore concepts such as self-discovery, identity, morality and authority. If you want to know more, read the books. For everyone else, there’s His Dark Materials on HBO and BBC One, created for the platforms by Bad Wolf. Considered a big hit by fans and critics for its intricate worldbuilding, elaborate storyline, richly drawn characters and compelling themes, the series features stunning visuals, remarkable performances by its cast and moments of sheer emotional intensity that keep viewers engaged and invested in the story.
“Considered a hit for its intricate worldbuilding, elaborate story and richly drawn characters”
31. JULY 2023
PRODUCTION. HIS DARK MATERIALS
In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking Philip Pullman had television in mind when he wrote the books, such is the richness of the imagery that emanates from the nib of his pen. For Season 3, Painting Practice was again charged with building the world so many have grown to know and love. Erica McEwan, His Dark Materials graphics art director & postvis supervisor, and Painting Practice creative director, explains how the team was in a groove by the third season, and had developed a shorthand with lead creatives Jane Tranter and Dan McCulloch. “Our approach is the same: a holistic design overview,” she discloses. “For each series, we always came on board with His Dark Materials production designer & executive producer, and Painting Practice co-founder, Joel Collins, before the scripts were finished very early in pre-prep. We worked with Joel to start teasing out ideas, and concepting huge environments like Lord Asriel’s Republic or The Clouded Mountain, and figuring out tricky designs like the Intention Craft – Asriel’s aircraft powered by the intention of the controller and their daemon.” These ideas would often be woven into the scripts and the team would find itself developing them further during previs and shoot. “We start working hand in
PAGE TO SCREEN Mulefa creature concept (top) and final image (above), showing the intricate detail achieved
hand with the production art department as these ideas become set builds,” McEwan continues. “We then continued to extend these sets and environments during postvis, using our early concept work, completing the design circle and handing it over to VFX for completion.” That remained the approach throughout, but the tools for visualisation and virtual pre-production became more refined and efficient in the third series. “We began artvis a lot more in Season 3 – the mulefa world, for example, was always going to be a huge challenge for everyone. So we started to build out an idea for this world early on in an Unreal Level,” says McEwan. “We had endless scope to play with the storytelling through design and tone because it was so early in the process. Using Unreal this way allowed us to step inside the world and create some epic cinematic sizzles that didn’t feel too far off the end product, almost 18 months later. It became an invaluable discussion tool with the showrunners. Artvis has proven to be an incredible help to build out story, tone
“We start working hand in hand with the production art department as these ideas become set builds”
BEFORE AND AFTER The Intention Craft battle previs (left) and in the final shot (right) – an example of the process for creating incredible visuals
HIS DARK MATERIALS PRODUCTION.
TENSIONS RISING Behind the scenes of Season 3 episode 2 – King Ogunwe and Lord Asriel planning war
On top of Joel Collins’ epic design and large-scale build on the Bad Wolf Studios backlot in Cardiff, the entire city and surrounding landscape needed a functioning CG asset from the outset. This was built throughout the prep and production phase, bridging both art department and VFX with a working design that could provide virtual set recces, detailed previs for set pieces, postvis shots and CG establishers. “It became a detailed turnover to
and design while the scripts were still being written. It was great to see some of that shine through to the finished piece.” PARTNERS IN ART Painting Practice partnered with VFX house Framestore for a number of key shots. Russell Dodgson, the latter’s VFX supervisor, would always begin during prep and ramp up as the team moved into previs and techvis. “We worked alongside Russell and his team to ensure that design intentions could be achieved in VFX,” McEwan says. “Season 2’s Cittàgazze – a city in another world, which acts as a gateway to parallel universes, becoming a major setting as Lyra and Will discover windows to other worlds – is probably the jewel in the crown of that collaboration.”
VISUAL STORYTELLING Erica McEwan, Joel Collins and Dan May from Painting Practice (left to right)
33. JULY 2023
HIS DARK MATERIALS PRODUCTION.
UNREAL Mulefa resemble elephants with large trunks and diamond-framed skeletons and can be found in the mulefa world, based on real-world locations in Spain
Framestore containing not only the CG assets, but a huge package of concepts, references, 3D models and postvis shots – providing a strong design guide for the final pixel work they undertook,” McEwan states. “It’s at this stage during postvis and while the edit is locking that our collaboration with Framestore is at its height. For all seasons, we worked with Joel and Russell to get the VFX design approved by the showrunners before final pixel work starts.” PAN-DEMIC PROBLEM The breathtaking visuals and richly detailed worldbuilding make it a feast for the senses. To achieve this, the team painstakingly crafted every detail to create a fantastical, believable world. Try doing that in the height of a pandemic. “Lockdown arrived at the end of the Season 2 shoot, so we spent a good few months figuring out how to finish that and work through the postvis for the series,” recalls Dan May, His Dark Materials series VFX art director & previs supervisor, as well as Painting Practice “The team painstakingly crafted every detail to create a fantastical, believable world”
co-founder. “Once that was in a good place, we needed to work out what we could do next – production companies and governments were still working out how to get back to work. Rather than furlough our team, we tasked half of our crew with concepting Season 3 and half on improving workflows and technology.” A lot of this was based around Unreal Engine and collaborative non-linear workflows. May says the team ‘had a lot of fun and slightly mad experiments creating multiplayer environments’ that teams of artists could work together
MODEL-MAKING Handmade representations were used to create believable scenes, including the Golden Monkey (above)
35. JULY 2023
HIS DARK MATERIALS PRODUCTION.
on pushing the render quality for previs and postvis. “These brand-new tools and processes had lots of exciting potential, but they were also quite buggy and time consuming as everyone was learning on the job,” he adds. “The challenge was in deciding what to integrate into production – or leave out next time. Once production mayhem kicks in, it’s very easy to revert to old work practices!” As May describes, when His Dark Materials was mid-production, everyone was talking about virtual production. But for his team, it felt slightly too early and out of reach, especially since most of the VFX spend needed to go on creatures. “It could have potentially been used for the epic Clouded Mountain scenes, but we lacked the prep time to build out all the assets in time for the shoot, as the concept of this world was in flux for some time,” he explains. “We used a lot of virtual pre-production on Season 3, as a lot of the R&D we had done in lockdown led to the discovery of VR scouting and creating what we now like to call artvis. This is, effectively, a more conceptual previs that doesn’t have to be a sequence per se, but more of a selection of cool (moving) immersive shots, selling
the world to the showrunners and the creative and production teams.” May says he is most proud of the mulefa world sequences, in which Mary discovers the enormous wheel-trees and the mulefa themselves. He was also able to put a lot of what the team learnt in lockdown to the test. “I created the tree designs using Gravity Sketch in VR, we built a nice set in Unreal Engine showing what was physically built and what could be VFX. We used photogrammetry and drone data to create the mulefa world locations, based on the real-world locations in Spain,” he adds. “We created artvis, concepts, previs and the postvis with all the lockdown skills we were able to develop – which I hope shows to great effect in the final episodes! It’s been an incredible journey!” Watch His Dark Materials on BBC iPlayer in the UK and Max in the US
FLYING RIGHT The evolution of the Intention Craft imagery, reaching the high levels of realism seen in the series
SPACE AND TIME The Clouded Mountain, Season 3 episode 7, included one of the trickiest effects sequences for the team to deal with
37. JULY 2023
ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE. CORE SWX
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“Renegade XL provides unparalleled flexibility and efficiency with the SFQ40 rapid charger”
the optional SFQ40 rapid charger, which can charge one Renegade XL in an astonishing 2.5 hours – a new industry benchmark. The Renegade XL’s new dynamic colour OLED display provides the same run-
time LCD as the Renegade and Maverick with additional functions and battery status. As aux outputs are always a welcomed inclusion, the Renegade XL is complemented by two P-Tap ports and a USB 5v which can power mobile devices and double as a firmware update port. One P-Tap port supports Voltbridge Mesh for cloud fleet battery management. All three models are the same size and footprint as their nickel metal hydride cousin, the Maverick, fitting in most dolly compartments and legacy shipping cases. Just like with the Maverick, units are highly serviceable to boost up-time and minimise downtime for maximum ROI.
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