GEAR | CELLULOI D
exactly how an image looks. “It comes down to weighing the many pros against that one con – and assuring them we are trusted professionals,” says Morris. to capture results you ordinarily wouldn’t with monitoring, and that focus is present in a way it isn’t elsewhere. I shot a documentary, Levante , with my Bolex H16 closed off in an underwater housing. We had no true idea of what we were getting, but the results were fantastic. That’s an extreme example of that process, but a successful one.” All the visual benefits described by Ridgway are there for Morris, too, but there are more. “You tend to get fast frame rates elsewhere for these smooth, clean shots, but film is almost always 24fps. That traditional touch can take you back to what film originally was – a dream world.” Considering the use of celluloid on short format and feature films, “I do agree that film allows you
complex. There’s a lot to consider and, as with any aspect of filmmaking, there’s no correct answer. “Every project requires its own unique tools,” confirms Spike Morris, a DOP who has worked on ad campaigns for the likes of Adidas, as well as creative music videos, including Moses Boyd’s Stranger Than Fiction . “I love the fast feedback loop of digital, with its ability to monitor and adapt, but celluloid is slower and more considered. “Adverts are a strange one in terms of budget, because the money they make is so indirect. Some brands offer a set budget and ask for something that really represents them – something they can be proud of. That could be an extremely sharp set of product shots, but sometimes the softer, more organic – even abstract – approach of film is best.” The lack of precise monitoring can also be a hard sell. It’s only natural for clients to want to see
Morris adds: “There’s also a strong association to those Hollywood classics. Narrative film is similar at any length and the slower approach fits very nicely.” It’s clear that this isn’t a ‘one or the other’ choice. Particularly in the world of short productions, film and digital are mutually beneficial tools. “We used a mix of footage in the Adidas Running commercial I shot. That’s a less narrative-driven approach, but for products like this, that mix is great for big energy and an eye-catching result. An eclectic look was the main focus, and this is one way of achieving that,” Morris says. “There was some VFX work done on the Stranger Than Fiction video, but it was handled quite similarly to digital. When using film, you also try to capture some of these stranger effects in-camera. In this case, the blown-out look was because we painted our performers in reflective paint and overexposed massively. Again, though, we were only able to do that thanks to extensive testing on digital.” So, with tools that could well be relics in a modern era, what’s the lasting draw, particularly outside the world of feature film? A distinctive look that tells a story? Certainly. Organic results that can sell an idea? Often. Perhaps what it all boils down to is very simple: more creative choice, using everything at our disposal, old and new.
ABOVE Shot for Adidas Running, this commercial was created with a mix of digital and film, using the Arri Alexa Mini and Bolex H16
16 DEF I N I T ION | APR I L 202 1
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