Definition April 2021 - Web


gone. We didn’t have playback with that small crew, either. In circumstances like that, when the camera starts rolling, everyone becomes intensely focused.” He adds: “You also have to consider the similar costs when shooting digital. Large file storage isn’t free, and on projects with just a few rolls of film, like this one, that cost somewhat balances out. Film camera packages, like the Arri 416 I used, tend to be cheaper to rent.” Without playback, ensuring you’ve captured a perfect shot is a real challenge, and certainly a daunting prospect to many. So, where does attention lie? “It goes back to that added pressure and the heightened awareness that comes with it,” Ridgway says. “You must have faith in the skilled technicians on your set, but it certainly keeps you more decisive. It makes the results more interesting – at least in the sense that it’s organic.” However, when there’s a monitor, it can be tempting to rely on it. “When there isn’t one, you just have to capture the moments you’re given. Shots are set up in the same

e’re 20 years on from the dawn of digital cinematography in mainstream feature film.

Save for a few directors fighting to keep the old ways alive, it’s safe to say digital’s taken hold. On smaller projects, though, film never really went away – it even looks like there might be a resurgence on the cards. In the worlds of music videos, television advertisements and beyond, spools are being loaded and cameras are whirring away. But why? QUIET ON SET The limiting factor with any production is money. So, it may seem like a strange choice for smaller shoots, such as the music video for Arlo Parks’ Black Dog . “It is an extra cost in relation to that budget,” agrees DOP, Miles Ridgway. “But that makes you more economic with your shooting. We only had three 400ft rolls for Black Dog . Each records about ten minutes, so that’s not much in total. “It’s not that we’d have shot much more on digital – the project is still the project. There’s just an awareness that once it’s gone, it’s

ABOVE Ridgway and crew prepare the Arri 416 for a take while on location for the Arlo Parks Black Dog music video

way they always have been, but you don’t get to choose precisely how they look in quite the same way.” In the Black Dog video, there are no telltale signs of celluloid, save for a few snippets. No strong grain, a subtle colour palette and reasonable sharpness. With much of the appeal of film lying in its look – in stark contrast to more modern offerings – this nuanced approach is interesting. Ridgway explains: “The Kodak 250D allows for that – we wanted to avoid an overdone look, so we didn’t underexpose and push process, and we didn’t shoot at wide open apertures. We still made the most of the subtleties 16mm offers, like the slight softness and halation you get with highlights. For us, that look was certainly part of the draw, but the philosophy and energy it brings to set really is an important factor.” COMMERCIAL INSIGHT In the world of commercial advertising, things are no less


APR I L 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 15

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