This issue takes a walk down memory lane, covering both Bond – which celebrated its 60th anniversary – and Blonde, a fictionalised account of Marilyn Monroe’s personal and public lives. We review new gear, from Red’s V-Raptor to PTZs, and list the top videocams currently on the market. Plus, catch the latest from CamerIMAGE, the future of the cloud, sci-fi filmmaking on a budget, and more.
NOVEMBER 2022 DEFINITIONMAGAZINE.COM
Blonde ambition The story behind Chayse Irvin’s visual rollercoaster Blonde
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MIND THE GAP How to get ahead of the curve with virtual production training
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FORECASTING THE FUTURE FOR CLOUD Premium 60 th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
Special effects guru Chris Corbould takes us behind the scenes as 007 hits 60
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B ond films have been a cinematic mainstay throughout my entire life. Although I am not quite as old as the franchise itself – too young for Connery, too old for Dalton – the Roger Moore films represent major milestones. The ski-lift scene from Moonraker still gives me white knuckles, while the desire to own the Lotus Esprit from For Your Eyes Only has never dissipated. I’m sure you have your own favourites. For these reasons and many more, I am delighted to have a 007 special in this issue, as we celebrate Bond’s 60th celluloid anniversary. Chris Corbould OBE, the man responsible for many of the most memorable scenes from 15 Bond outings, provides fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into how those jaw-dropping moments came about – the feature starts on page 006. Elsewhere in the issue, we look at two key sectors that have grown exponentially since the pandemic. We explore the latest developments in PTZ camera tech (page 48) – and the opportunities they create – plus how firms are plugging the virtual production skills gap (page 60). Well worth a read if you’re feeling behind the curve.
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ACTING EDITOR Robert Shepherd FEATURES WRITER Lee Renwick
DEPUTY CHIEF SUB EDITOR Matthew Winney SUB EDITORS Harriet Williams, Ben Gawne CONTRIBUTORS Katie Kasperson, Will Lawrence, Phil Rhodes
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3. NOVEMBER 2022
Industry 18 INDUSTRY BRIEFINGS With Camerimage just around the corner, meet the famous five who will be honoured at the event – plus Pinewood’s 007 stage opens 41 CLOUD FORECASTING What next for working in the cloud? Our experts discuss what’s coming up and how it affects you 60 MIND THE GAP As virtual production grows
apace, are you being left behind? We look at the training options that will keep you on track
Production 06 PREMIUM BOND
As 007 hits 60, we speak to Chris Corbould OBE, the man responsible for the visual effects on a whopping 15 Bond films. He selects his favourite scenes and explains how they were created Chayse Irvin’s Blonde is a complex mix of visual styles that unsettles and intrigues in equal measure. We discover all about his bold aesthetic choices
32 BLONDE AMBITION
54 SHOESTRING SCI-FI
Mikey Bharj made a film – and got it on Prime Video – for £3000. How is that even possible? Get Neon Tank ’s full story here
Gear 24 RED V-RAPTOR XL 8K VV Genetic engineering unleashes supersize cine camera. We look at the story behind the spec
48 ALL EYES ON PTZ s
Pandemic purple patch persists for PTZs! See what such skilful cameras can do for you
Regulars 71 CAMERA LISTINGS Pore over these top products 60
5. NOVEMBER 2022
PRODUCTION. 60 YEARS OF BOND
60 YEARS OF BOND PRODUCTION.
Bond turned 60 last month. To celebrate, Definition asked Chris Corbould OBE – the man responsible for visual effects on 15 of the movies – to select his favourite scenes WORDS. Will Lawrence IMAGES. 007 logo and related James Bond Indicia © 1962-2022 Danjaq and MGM. 007 logo and related James Bond trademarks are trademarks of Danjaq. All Rights Reserved. Special (effects) agent
F or Chris Corbould, it all began with rock ‘n’ roll. While still at school he secured work on Tommy , director Ken Russell’s 1975 satirical operetta based upon The Who’s 1969 rock-opera album about a “deaf, dumb and blind kid” who “sure plays a mean pinball”. Corbould was 15, just beginning to explore film: “I was really into rock music, especially The Who, and my uncle did special effects at the time,” he begins. “During my summer holidays he asked me to come down to the set of Tommy . My initial introduction through my favourite rock band opened up this whole world of explosions and hydraulic rigs.” The world has proved an abundant professional playground for Corbould, whose career now encompasses almost
“I was working for an SFX company at the time,” remembers Corbould, “and we were subcontracted to do ski poles that turned into guns. Then Moonraker (1979) was my first freelance job. That was a wonderful experience. I was 19 and had never been abroad, yet we were off to France, Venice, Argentina, Miami. “Then I got A View to a Kill (1985). John Richardson, the special effects supervisor, was a great mentor of mine, and he invited me to come and be part of a big sequence with the airship, which we fabricated out of steel and did the Golden Gate Bridge sequence.” Corbould has worked on every Bond film since, from The Living Daylights to No Time to Die , snatching several Guinness World Records on the way…
50 years and has included multimillion- pound blockbusters, ranging from the second and third Christopher Reeve Superman movies – through Alien 3 , I nterview with the Vampire and The Mummy to Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and Inception (for which he won an Academy Award in 2011) – as well as an X-Men movie and a pair of Star Wars films. He has also been honoured with an OBE. Yet, his most famous body of work comes with the James Bond film series. Corbould has worked on all of Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig’s 007 movies, although his first contact with the series came even earlier when he was still a teenager – courtesy of 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me , arguably Moore’s greatest Bond outing.
007. NOVEMBER 2022
PRODUCTION. 60 YEARS OF BOND
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (1987) Timothy Dalton’s first movie saw Bond use his ‘winterised’ Aston Martin to escape with Kara Milovy through the Czech mountains – and various gadgets and weapons come into play. “One of the perks of the jobs is working with these cars, and specifically the films I do, we get involved a lot with cars,” says Corbould.
with ice lakes when a film crew gets there, it wasn’t frozen. We sat there for three weeks waiting for the ice to freeze. “When we got on the lake it was quite eerie driving on ice, it creaks and groans and cracks. It’s unnerving. But once you’ve got used to it, it’s a fantastic place to drive. We were in charge of the vehicles used to take the cars to the set on the other side of the lake. We’d hare across the lake at 140mph, knowing that even if you lost it you weren’t going to crash into anything. It was a wonderful period of my life.”
“This was an interesting one, starting off doing the modifications on the car – the skis that come out, the rockets that emerge from the front. We tested it and took it out to Weissensee in Austria to an ice lake there and, as usually happens
QUARTERMASTER Corbould is the Q of SFX, but isn’t afraid of a little field work
The second Brosnan movie showcased an enormous explosion during its pre-title sequence, which unfolds at a terrorist arms bazaar. “Before Spectre , that was probably the biggest explosion I’d done,” claims Corbould. “It was the size of a football pitch. It was the first sequence we shot on the film and there was a lot involved: vehicles being blown over, the big explosion with lots of rigs, and we had to shoot it fairly quickly.” Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
MAN OF MYSTERY The 007 films have taken Corbould all over the world – from tropical to freezing climes
60 YEARS OF BOND PRODUCTION.
LICENCE TO KILL (1989)
had a wire. We were firing the rocket down the line, and as the truck went up on its side, it was my second-in- command’s cue to pull the wire tight. We’ve got this tanker coming towards us and he was screaming, ‘Fire it, Chris! Fire it!’ Eventually, I let it go, he dropped the wire and we got out the way, but it was a close thing!”
at one stage, and we weren’t too sure how much the stunt guy could do. As it happened, the driver was a master. They just used a little ramp and could drive on one side for miles. “There’s also a moment where a rocket goes underneath. That was a bizarre experience. I was standing there and one of my guys behind me
Dalton’s second and final movie saw Bond tackle the drug lord Franz Sanchez’s smuggling enterprise, wreaking havoc with his convoy of tankers carrying cocaine, at one stage driving a tanker on one set of wheels. “I spent eight months in Mexico, with four months near the border in Mexicali,” notes Corbould. “My job started with sourcing all the tankers and tractor units. We got nine or ten, with six or seven Kenworths, and had to make them all look the same. Then we got into the rig; one tanker goes along on its side
“This tanker was coming towards us and he was screaming, ‘Fire it, Chris! Fire it!’”
09. NOVEMBER 2022
PRODUCTION. 60 YEARS OF BOND
GoldenEye (1995) The Brosnan Bond debut saw Corbould take on his first senior position on the franchise, as special effects supervisor. One memorable scene sees 007 commandeer a tank and drive it through the streets of St Petersburg. “There hadn’t been a Bond film for six years and there had been some huge special effects movies,” says Corbould. “We had to make sure Bond was still relevant. “I knew that just doing things big doesn’t really work any more; look at superhero movies and everything blowing up on a huge scale. Different is important. A good example is the tank chase, which was really distinct. A tank chase in an urban environment, I think we really got it right with that. Part of the job I love now is thinking about what we can do that’s different. “The tank sequence evolved out of an idea of mine, and it was my job to buy them. I had to get two Russian tanks in England. When we came to travel, the agent said there was a problem at the border: one was still live! We had to weld bits here and there to make it safe.”
SHAKEN AND STIRRED High-flying scenes built from the ground up in the 2008 film
QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008)
his crippled plane into a dizzying climb, which was filmed in a special rig. “We built this little rig that you can see,” he says. “The whole thing is fabricated; it’s not a real aircraft body and could revolve around inside.”
The second Daniel Craig film was a direct sequel, picking up where Casino Royale left off. As Bond tracks the villain Dominic Greene, he acquires a DC-3 in Bolivia and heads into the desert with Camille. When a jet and chopper attack them, Bond forces
The World Is Not Enough (1999) This MI6 outing featured a huge set piece at a caviar factory on the Caspian Sea, involving Bond’s BMW Z8, which is eventually sawn in half by a helicopter wielding a huge timber-cutting saw. “I never felt the Z3 was a Bond car. But here we had the Z8. I’ve not seen one on the road – I think they only built 5000 of them – but it was a frightening performance car. “A car gets cut in half by a helicopter fitted with huge saws. They built the whole set at Pinewood Studios and we had to fly this helicopter, which – for obvious reasons – couldn’t be real. So, we got what was the biggest tower crane in Europe. “Then, we could fly the helicopter on wires underneath it. It was all computerised controls and we were cutting up the walkways, the caviar house and, eventually, the car. It was tricky. We had to cut a channel through the car because the blades on the helicopter, though they look menacing, couldn’t cut butter.”
DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002)
guys maximum traction, and so had to make modifications to the front ends of both cars. I argued against the invisible Aston Martin. I think we pushed the boundaries a little with that one, but it’s in there! “It was based on real technology being developed at the time, funnily enough, where something in the distance would have cameras and projectors. It was designed to camouflage something a few hundreds yards away.”
The first 007 film of the new millennium, and Brosnan’s final jaunt, witnessed the franchise rekindle its relationship with Aston Martin. Bond’s Vanquish – complete with cloaking device – battled a gadget-laden Jaguar XKR on a frozen lake. “We had loads of fun with these vehicles when director Lee Tamahori decided he wanted the car battle on an ice lake. “We wanted four-wheel- drive versions to give the stunt
PRODUCTION. 60 YEARS OF BOND
LEITER FLUID Creating big bangs has always been a bedrock of Corbould’s work, with spectacular results
line, which was a bit hairy. If he got the dialogue wrong, there was no going back. Another interesting fact: there was about 8000L of fuel and 33kg of high explosives. Part of the deal was that we had to destroy everything we didn’t use. So after that explosion, we went round the corner and let off 165kg – and twice as much fuel. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t put it in the background.”
As the film builds towards its climax, Bond and Madeleine escape Blofeld’s desert lair, blowing it to pieces. The explosion earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records (a feat Corbould eclipsed in No Time to Die ). “I remember when Eon put in for it, I thought, ‘Oh no! I’m going to get calls from effects people all over the world saying they’d done one bigger,’” says Corbould, “we only got one! “It was interesting, out in the desert. The great thing was there were no windows in sight and no neighbours! We could make lots of noise. It involved new tech for us. In all, there were over 200 pyro charges, in a system where each detonator was programmed through one wire and you chose when they went off. “We went round the corner and let off 165kg of high explosives – and twice as much fuel”
“Usually, you’d have 200 wires. The downside was, once you pressed the button, there was a three-second delay between each explosion, when all the mini computers are talking. It’s safe because either they all go or none do. You don’t get that embarrassing situation where only some go. “The problem is that we had to push the button halfway through Daniel’s
ONE SHOT Careful planning is key to pulling off the intricate pyro set pieces – once started, there’s no turning back!
PRODUCTION. 60 YEARS OF BOND
Skyfall (2012) The first of director Sam Mendes’ two Bond features, Corbould shouldered some second unit director duties, working on the attack at Skyfall Lodge. “The helicopter approach, the strafing of the house, all culminating in the building going up and the blowing up of the Aston Martin. “We had more discussion about blowing up the car than almost anything else on the film! There was some real emotion about that. The car we destroyed was a Porsche with some DB panels mounted on the side. The Porsche was the closest shape we could get to the Aston Martin. It’s cut at the split second that the explosion takes place, so you’d be lucky to see it. The construction team built a miniature of the house and we mounted a helicopter on a track going into the building. “I was the tube driver in that film! Sam had an actor play the driver and I was filming. We did about ten takes and Sam said, ‘This is isn’t working; you have to be the train driver.’ I thought he was joking and it would appear in the outtakes or something, so for the first couple I did really silly faces. Then I thought I’d better do a proper take just in case. Sure enough, it’s in the film. If you blink you’ll miss it, but I am there.”
“We had more discussion about blowing up the car than almost anything”
LET THE SKY FALL The team brought the roof down on a miniature version of Bond’s ancestral home
60 YEARS OF BOND PRODUCTION.
15. NOVEMBER 2022
PRODUCTION. 60 YEARS OF BOND
CASINO ROYALE (2006)
great feat of engineering; the entire thing weighed about 120 tonnes and was controlled off a laptop. “We had fun one day when producer Barbara Broccoli brought some studio execs around set. We were the only people there. She took them up to the top and we pressed the button. The water erupted and the building started sinking. I think one person didn’t find it all that amusing, but most of them liked it.”
Daniel Craig’s debut featured a dramatic climax involving Bond’s new-found love, Vesper, and a collapsing villa in Venice. “We did this in two parts,” explains Corbould, “with the third-scale model for the exterior. Then we had a full-size version, which was an interior four-storey building. “We built this on a huge gimbal and the whole building had the ability to tilt 15° on either axis, then sink 20 feet into a tank of water. It was a
60 YEARS OF BOND PRODUCTION.
ON THE MONEY(PENNY) Daniel Craig proved a dab hand at stunt driving in No Time to Die
GOING DOWN The famous, tragic end to Casino Royale was made possible with huge Venetian sets
No Time to Die (2021) The pre-title sequence to Craig’s final movie has the DB5 enjoy its biggest action set piece since its debut in Goldfinger, rattling through the labyrinthine streets of the ancient Italian city Matera. “Originally, we had a big exit from where it crashed through a wall and went onto the rooftops, then burst through the roof and through rooms, and finally out the other end onto the road,” describes Corbould, “but we scaled it down a little bit. “We had a total of ten Aston Martins out there – two real ones, and two where we built a driving pod on the top, so we could get Dan inside with a British Rallycross champion driving him on the roof. Plus, we had two cars that were kitted out with all the gadgets, and then four out-and-out stunt cars that were fully roll-caged with fire extinguishers and all the stunt safety modifications. “The climax of the scene was the DB5 racing through the streets. He ends at a square and suddenly it’s T-boned by a Range Rover. Bond does this 360 and strafes the walls, then when he sees the villains diving for cover, he hits another switch and the smokescreen comes out. Daniel Craig actually did the doughnut himself. He floored it and drove, put it into a doughnut and did a complete 360 three or four times.”
17. NOVEMBER 2022
Industry briefings The latest news, views and hot tips from the world of video production
ENERGACAMERIMAGE HONOURS FIVE AHEAD OF 2022 FESTIVAL
accolades include multiple Grammy nominations, MTV Video Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards and BET Awards. Ottinger takes the laurels for avant- garde achievements in film. Her surrealist work spans themes of memory, loneliness and existentialism. EnergaCamerimage will be screening four of her films – Ticket of No Return (1979), Prater (2007), Under Snow (2011) and Paris Calligrammes (2020) – in addition to presenting her award. Burberry picks up the Camerimage award for achievements in the field of music videos. His career began with lighting live performances, moving to the US on INXS’s world tour. From there, he transitioned to music videos, working with artists from a range of genres including Guns N’ Roses, Celine Dion and the Weeknd. He says of cinematography: “The imagery must connect the audience emotionally to the story being told.” Finally, Burum is the recipient of the EnergaCamerimage 2022 lifetime achievement award. A UCLA graduate, his early projects include Little House on the Prairie and PBS’s Cosmos . As a cinematographer, he regularly collaborated with Francis Ford Coppola,
The international film festival EnergaCamerimage takes place next month, celebrating achievements in cinematography. In advance of the full programme being released, the organisers have confirmed five cinematographers and directors set to receive accolades during the 2022 event: Alex Gibney, Hype Williams, Ulrike Ottinger, Vance Burberry and Stephen H Burum. Gibney’s award is for outstanding achievements in documentary filmmaking. His notable works centre around social and cultural events, as chronicled in Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) and The Crime of the Century (2021). Gibney has also produced biographies on Steve Jobs, Frank Sinatra and Lance Armstrong, directed TV episodes and contributed to journalistic publications. Williams, a director and photographer who mainly works on music videos, advertising campaigns and fashion magazines, will receive the award for achievements in the field of music videos for a director. He has collaborated with some of the biggest names in hip-hop, including Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, 2Pac, the Notorious BIG and Jay-Z. His previous
Awards in cinematography and direction cover documentaries, feature films, music videos and television series
HIGH PRAISE The EnergaCamerimage Golden Frog is a prestigious accolade for cinematographers
CELEBRATING 60 Pinewood Studios offers a tribute to its original Bond, Sean Connery
From Pinewood with Love
It has been 60 years since Dr No hit cinemas, marking Sean Connery’s 007 debut. Pinewood Studios – the franchise’s central filming location – celebrated this milestone by opening The Sean Connery Stage, an 18,000 sq ft homage to the actor. Sean’s granddaughter, Saskia, attended Pinewood’s private event to officially open the stage. Connery’s co-star Martine Beswick ( From Russia with Love ), director John Glen and Bond girls Madeline Smith ( Live and Let Die ), Caroline Munro ( The Spy Who Loved Me ), Maryam d’Abo ( The Living Daylights ) and Carole Ashby ( A View to Kill ) also attended. Sir Sean Connery (1930-2020) played James Bond in seven films between 1962 and 1983. Of the 25 official Bond films, 23 were shot at Pinewood, with all lead actors passing through the premises. Pinewood Studios also displayed two cars – the Aston Martin DB5 and the Rolls-Royce Phantom III – which first appeared in Goldfinger (1964). The DB5, driven by Connery’s Bond, is a replica of
the original, whereas the Phantom, driven by Goldfinger, is the vehicle actually used in the film. The Sean Connery Stage is one of four Bond-specific stages at Pinewood, located at the studio’s entrance on the corner of Goldfinger Avenue. Corporate affairs director Andrew M Smith said the stage will aid in “remembering our heritage, honouring Sir Sean Connery and our long relationship with the James Bond films while, at the same time, celebrating development and looking to the future.” pinewoodgroup.com
STEPHEN H BURUM
FANTASTIC FIVE From documentaries to the avant-garde, it’s top honours for this quintet
Danny DeVito and Brian De Palma. At the 65th Academy Awards, he was nominated for best cinematography with the film Hoffa . Stephen’s other notable works include Apocalypse Now (1979), St Elmo’s Fire (1985), The Untouchables (1987) and Mission: Impossible (1996). Taking place in Toruń, Poland, EnergaCamerimage recognises films’ ‘visual, aesthetic and technical values’. As well as overarching industry success, judges consider submissions in eight competition categories: Main, Polish Films, Film and Art School Etudes, Documentary, Debuts, TV Series, Music Videos and European Funds in Focus. The main competition awards the Golden Frog, with recent winners including Robbie Ryan ( C’mon C’mon ) and Joshua James Richards ( Nomadland ). The Perfect Number , shot by Piotr Niemyjski, is one of this year’s contenders. The festival runs from 12-19 November 2022 and includes screenings, seminars and workshops. Entry cards are available now and can be booked online via the website. Most events require additional reservations. The full programme will be released towards the end of October. camerimage.pl
BOND-NANZA The private event was studded with stars from the franchise’s illustrious history, including Bond girls from through the ages – and a replica of the original Aston Martin DB5
19. NOVEMBER 2022
MADE SAFE The LNX rigging system prioritises safety on-set, for quick and secure lighting set-ups
THE LNX EFFECT
Creamsource’s LNX (pronounced Lynx) is a new rigging system, complementing its Vortex series LED fixtures. Designed to bring consistency and cohesion to a historically disordered aspect of lighting, LNX aims to simplify rigging and cabling with a series of purpose-built clamps and pins. LNX enables crews to quickly assemble uniform, aligned arrays of Vortex fixtures with minimal gaps between units. Additionally, multiple latches and auto-locking features ensure operators’ safety and protect those under the rig at all times. Made to withstand heavy usage, high vibration levels, wind loading and relocation, LNX strives for reliable rigging. creamsource.com
Megapixel goes to Hollywood
sets. Speakers will review creative considerations for assembling the on-set virtual production environment, including choices around cameras, lenses, lighting, camera tracking and monitoring. Each will also address technical decisions that can influence the final aesthetic, such as LED volume architecture, pixel pitch, colour space and more. The SMPTE Media Technology Summit takes place from 24-27 October at Loews Hollywood Hotel, 1755 N Highland Ave, Hollywood, California, 90028. summit.smpte.org
Megapixel VR is taking part in the forthcoming SMPTE Summit in Hollywood. Jeremy Hochman, Megapixel’s founder, will moderate a panel discussion on 24 October entitled ‘Leveraging the technical opportunities while navigating potential obstacles during the image capture process on an LED volume stage’. The discussion will cover how to ensure success on a virtual production. Industry leaders will walk attendees through the practical preparations, such as important differences between in-camera visual effects and green screens or traditional
AT THE SUMMIT Jeremy Hochman will be moderating a talk on successfully running a virtual production
21. NOVEMBER 2022
ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE. MPB
USED TO SUCCESS
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WHETHER LOOKING TO rent or buy from new, cinema kit can be tough to source right now. There are many reasons for the scarcity, from the semiconductor shortage in manufacturing, to the supply chain problems caused by Brexit and the pandemic. But wondering about the cause isn’t going to get you the gear you need. To rise above the problems and keep working, many are focusing on other sources. One route is to look at the used market. MPB is the world’s biggest buyer and seller of pre-loved cameras and lenses, catering for cinema, high-end production equipment and stills gear. If you’re looking to buy in the second-hand market, that’s where our money would be. In fact, a brief glance at MPB’s online catalogue immediately reveals a wide selection of stock, with bodies from the likes of Arri, Blackmagic, Canon and Red, and fleets of PL, Canon, Sigma, Fujinon
As a DOP, you’re familiar with gathering gear from different sources. Renting, buying and borrowing are standard, but have you considered the benefits of buying used? MPB is ready and raring to help…
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carefully priced based on make, model, condition and market, so there are masses of options. With new stock added daily, rest assured if the right camera or lens isn’t in stock now, it soon will be. For instance, at the time of going to press, MPB had a selection of Canon CN-E 30-105mm T2.8L in PL fit, ranging from £6199 in ‘Excellent’ condition to £4189 in ‘Well Used’ condition – both with the standard six-month warranty. Diving a little deeper into those ratings, the scale runs through Like New, Excellent, Good, Well Used and Heavily Used. ‘Like New’ means exactly that; the kit shows no signs of use and comes with its original packaging and accessories. ‘Excellent’ has only surface-level cosmetic wear, with performance unaffected – and that’s where you’ll find the majority of MPB’s stock. Kit rated as ‘Good’ has more noticeable wear, but nothing that impairs image quality or handling. ‘Well Used’ shows some more significant scuffs and scratches – signs of
use like chipped paint, dust and occasionally missing port covers or stiffness in lens rings. Finally, ‘Heavily Used’ means lots of scratches and some minor loss of functions, but nothing that impacts the essential usability of the gear. Reality check. As you’re no doubt aware, ‘used’ doesn’t mean ‘free’, and the price of professional cinema kit does not plummet as soon as it changes hands. That said, there are some real bargains to be had on mpb.com, and we’ve outlined some on these very pages. The upside is that – certainly in the current kit-starved market – you’ll suffer less depreciation. Also, remember that the kit you invest in doesn’t need to sit unused in a cupboard while you’re not working with it. Many production teams and solo cinematographers rent out cameras and lenses, so while making a saving, you could also end up turning a significant profit. You could buy a used Red DSMC2 Dragon-X 5K for £8000 in Excellent used condition from MPB, and rent it for £180 a day. That concept also chimes with one of MPB’s biggest drivers: sustainability. Sharing, renting and generally keeping cameras and lenses in use for longer is a big part of what makes them tick. Remember, too, that many clients are looking for green credentials when choosing filmmakers. Used kit is also more affordable for those starting out, so by going through MPB, you’re giving everyone a hand, along with the planet.
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23. NOVEMBER 2022
GEAR REVIEW. RED V-RAPTOR XL 8K VV
Red introduces an XL version of its flagship V-Raptor 8K VV, for those who want a bigger solution
WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Red
R ed Digital Cinema was founded in 2005 by Jim its debut in 2007. When it was released, the groundbreaking, but now obsolete, camera captured up to 120fps at 2K resolution and 60fps at 4K resolution. The company has since evolved to become one of the most prominent, respected and august camera manufacturers in the world. Walking around Red’s London premises, it’s easy to see why. The walls are adorned with posters of the award-winning films and TV series shot with its cameras: My Octopus Teacher , The Irishman , Squid Game and The Queen’s Gambit , to name just a few. Now, in 2022, Red has upped the ante again, with the introduction of the V-Raptor XL. This new model Jannard, with its first camera – the Red One – making is an upgrade on the existing V-Raptor 8K VV and offers all the same functionality as its stablemate, plus a little bit more. GOING LARGE The USP for the XL is the fact it has additional features to make it more conducive to studios working on
large productions. Red previously had the DSMC2 range, as well as a Ranger that complemented it. The Ranger was to the DSMC2 what the XL is to the V-Raptor. In image capture and frame rate terms, it’s virtually identical apart from one major difference: the XL has built- in ND filters. Nevertheless, the XL does have some extra features not available in the original V-Raptor. It has additional I/Os and takes 24v power, but will still handle 12v and 14v batteries, too. This means, when you attach a lower-voltage battery, all the additional auxiliary power is just disabled. With more auxiliary power, there are more SDIs, which means you can have more monitors connecting to the camera at one time. A built-in Ambient Lockit module ensures the camera is capable of wirelessly syncing timecode and genlock – plus sync over PTP is possible – and there is a noticeable difference in weight.
While it’s tempting to call the V-Raptor the XL’s predecessor, Red says the two cameras are very much ‘side by side’ – the bigger version does not diminish the smaller camera. IN THE FRAME One of the key advantages the XL has over other cameras on the market is frame rates. It has 8K resolution and can shoot up to 120fps at 8K. As you crop
BIG BEAST The new V-Raptor XL is a hefty piece of kit, with lots of added extras to please fans of the original
RED V-RAPTOR XL 8K VV GEAR REVIEW.
Specifications SENSOR TYPE V-Raptor 8K VV 35.4-megapixel CMOS SENSOR SIZE 40.96x21.60mm (diagonal: 46.31mm) EFFECTIVE PIXELS 8192x4320 DC POWER INPUT 19.5-34v via four-pin 2B DC-IN
POWER OUTPUTS Regulated 12v outputs:
2x P-TAP connectors (3A combined), 1x rear two-pin 0B (3A), 1x rear two-pin 0B (1.5A), 1x front two-pin 0B (1A), regulated 24v connectors DYNAMIC RANGE 17+ stops MOUNT TYPE Interchangeable lens mount, included V-Raptor XL PL mount. Optional V-Raptor XL locking Canon EF mount. Physically compatible with DSMC lens mounts, but no electronic communication or control AUDIO Integrated dual-channel digital mono microphones, uncompressed, 24-bit 48kHz. Integrated dual- channel mic/line/+48v input via five-pin audio port, uncompressed, 24-bit 48kHz BUILT-IN ND Motorised clear and precision-controlled electronic ND filter. Electronic ND minimum density 2 stops, maximum density 7 stops. Electronic ND selectable increments of 1/3 stops, 1/4 stops and 1 stop REMOTE CONTROL Wi-Fi for camera control via interchangeable dual band (2.4GHz/5GHz) antenna mounted to a female RP-SMA connector. Genlock, timecode-in, GPIO and Ctrl (RS-232) via the integrated nine-pin EXT port RECORDING Up to 800MB/s using Red or other qualified CFexpress media cards COLOUR MANAGEMENT Image processing pipeline 2 (IPP2). Supports 33x33x33 3D LUTs and import of CDLs AUTOFOCUS Contrast and phase detection BATTERY TYPE Dual-voltage 14/26v V-Lock or Gold Mount interface CONSTRUCTION Aluminium alloy WEIGHT 3.6kg
“A built-in Ambient Lockit module ensures the camera is capable of wirelessly syncing timecode and genlock”
25. NOVEMBER 2022
GEAR REVIEW. RED V-RAPTOR XL 8K VV
Frame rates Dive into the detail – here are all the frame rates/resolutions available on the V-Raptor XL
REDCODE RAW MAX FRAME RATES
120fps at 8K 17:9 (8192x4320), 150fps at 8K 2.4:1 (8192x3456) 140fps at 7K 17:9 (7168x3780), 175fps at 7K 2.4:1 (7168x3024) 160fps at 6K 17:9 (6144x3240), 200fps at 6K 2.4:1 (6144x2592) 192fps at 5K 17:9 (5120x2700), 240fps at 5K 2.4:1 (5120x2160) 240fps at 4K 17:9 (4096x2160), 300fps at 4K 2.4:1 (4096x1728) 320fps at 3K 17:9 (3072x1620), 400fps at 3K 2.4:1 (3072x1296) 480fps at 2K 17:9 (2048x1080), 600fps at 2K 2.4:1 (2048x864) PLAYBACK FRAME RATES (PROJECT TIME BASE) 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60fps, all resolutions Redcode HQ, MQ and LQ at 8K 17:9 (8192x4320) up to 60fps; Redcode LQ at 8K 17:9 (8192x4320) up to 120fps; Redcode HQ, MQ and LQ at 6K 17:9 (6144x3240) up to 96fps; Redcode MQ and LQ at 6K 17:9 (6144x3240) up to 160fps; BEST AVAILABLE REDCODE SETTINGS Redcode HQ, MQ and LQ at 4K 17:9 (4096x2160) up to 240fps; Redcode HQ, MQ and LQ at 2K 17:9 (2048x1080) up to 480fps REDCODE RAW ACQUISITION FORMATS 8K 17:9 (8192x4320), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 1:1 and Anamorphic 2x, 1.8x, 1.6x, 1.5x, 1.3x, 1.25x; 7K 17:9 (7168x3780), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 1:1 and Anamorphic 2x, 1.8x, 1.6x; 6K 17:9 (6144x3240), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 1:1 and Anamorphic 1.5x, 1.3x, 1.25x; 5K 17:9 (5120x2700), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 1:1; 4K 17:9 (4096x2160), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 1:1; 3K 17:9 (3072x1620), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 1:1; 2K 17:9 (2048x1080), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 1:1
down the sensor and reduce the resolution, you can start to increase those frame rates – at 2K it can shoot 600fps. Who’s using it? Difficult to say. The XL’s arrival was announced as recently as the spring, and it only started shipping in early October. There are also NDAs that preclude Red from revealing specifically where its latest bit of kit is being deployed, and by whom. However, the company says most orders are coming from rental houses, who have been waiting patiently for some time. When Red announced the V-Raptor, it told everyone there would be a studio-configuration version to follow. That meant a lot of rental companies were holding out for the XL. It’s certainly being used widely in commercials, films and high-end TV production. One famous filmmaker who will undoubtedly use the XL is Zack “It’s an amazing studio camera. With technology like this, there are no excuses left – now it’s on you”
Snyder, who is already an advocate of Red’s technology. The director behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Dawn of the Dead is shooting his latest film with the V-Raptor sensor. However, he managed to get an early look at the new XL and is already very excited because it has ‘everything we need’ for making movies. “We already knew the V-Raptor sensor produces great images, but with the added features that come with
PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING With orders shipped in October, we await the first round of films from this camera
GEAR REVIEW. RED V-RAPTOR XL 8K VV
the XL, we’re even more excited,” Snyder says. “The internal ND system has an amazing benefit to our production methodology. We’re shooting wide open all the time, so that is just vital. The XL is an amazing studio camera. With technology like this, there are no excuses left – now it’s on you.” WHAT’S IN A NAME? The dictionary definition of the word raptor is a bird of prey. A more informal explanation is ‘a dromaeosaurid dinosaur, especially a velociraptor or utahraptor’. It remains a mystery where Red got the name from, but sticking with
animal terminology, the camera is certainly a bigger beast than its smaller relation. Not only does it contain the flagship V-Raptor 8K VV + 6K Super 35 multiformat sensor inside its significantly larger body, but it weighs 3.6kg (with PL mount) versus the 1.8kg V-Raptor. In terms of image capture, frame rates and anamorphic modes, the XL and V-Raptor are identical. The V-Raptor is the cut-down version of the XL. If you need to use something that’s a bit smaller on a handheld gimbal – or even a drone – you’d use the V-Raptor for that. If you are not so limited by size and weight, for example, then
“If you are not so limited by size and weight, for example, then the V-Raptor would be the one to choose”
RED V-RAPTOR XL 8K VV GEAR REVIEW.
the V-Raptor XL would be the one to choose. If you’re in the market for an XL, the stand-alone camera system available will set you back a tidy £44,520. For the pre-bundled, ready-to-shoot production pack, that comes in higher at £56,220. The latter includes the camera, batteries, 2TB cards and reader, onboard monitor, top handle, rod brackets, plus other bits that help integrate the camera into a production environment.
Accessories If you opt for the production pack at £56,220, there are lots of robust, purpose-built accessories that complement the XL. Red says it worked closely with some industry heavyweights, including Angelbird, Core SWX and Creative Solutions to produce the equipment in the box. The riser plate connects to the camera’s base and allows standard 15mm and 19mm studio baseplates to be attached. There are 1/4in-20 and 3/8in-16 mounting points for additional configurations. Designed by Angelbird, the 2TB AV Pro CFexpress 2.0 Type B memory card offers protection from overheating, operates with a reduced-power draw and helps to guarantee high-bit-rate captures. Also included are top and bottom 15mm LWS rod support brackets. The former securely attaches to the front of the camera, providing two rod mounting points that allow for different shooting configurations, like mounting an EVF or FIZ gears. Meanwhile, the bottom bracket attaches to the base of the XL or, optionally, to the riser plate, while then providing two 15mm rod mounting points. It allows for different shooting configurations, such as mounting a matte box. Other key accessories include the compact DSMC3 Red five-pin to dual XLR, which can provide 48v phantom power with mic and line input.
PIECE IT TOGETHER For ease, the production pack is a good choice, although most of the kit is available separately
29. NOVEMBER 2022
ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE. XEEN
TEAMWORK A full complement of XEEN CF Cine Primes provides versatility
“FOR US, THE aim is to bring filmmaking to the next level,” begins Robin Maeter, fresh from a unique short documentary shoot. His subject, Jolina Thormann, makes for a compelling watch on a number of levels. At once a skilled athlete and highly charged character, the film provides insight into her journey towards becoming Germany’s top Ninja Warrior competitor. “We try to make projects more cinematic than others might,” Maeter continues. “I actually come from a parkour background, myself. At that time, there was a focus around showcasing tricks on YouTube. After a while, the videos were not really about the tricks, but the story and cinematography. I became more interested in better camera equipment, improved technique and new lenses, all to make our short sampler films look more like movies. We still try to bring out the cinematic side of documentary today.” The desire is evident when viewing CREW10’s work. Though short, the film digs deep into Thormann’s narrative, both in her own words and visually. “We love to support people following their dreams. This brilliant young woman’s vision is to become one of the best ninja athletes – and she’s putting all her passion into that. We love to showcase interesting characters,” says Maeter. “Jolina isn’t extremely extroverted, but step by step, we started going deeper into discussion to access her real emotions about risks, opportunities and aspirations. We had to make sure she was comfortable
THE HERO LENS CREW10’s Robin Maeter documents a young ninja prospect in big-screen, action-drama style, with the XEEN CF Cine Prime lens set
FOCUS TIME For Maeter, such a variety of focal lengths, coupled with the curated look of the set, was a big draw
XEEN ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE.
enough to bring that side of her personality into the video.” Of course, the distinctive cinematic look is an amalgamation of multiple parts. Right alongside lighting, many would rank lens choice among the most important. For Maeter, there’s no choice but XEEN. OPTIMUM PRIMES “We were working in dim lighting,” he explains. “We had just a few spotlights and some additional sources in the background. The image quality of the CF lenses was still amazing. Skin tones were super nice. We chose a camera which handles complexions really well, but wanted a set of lenses with a deeply natural look. There’s a pleasing clarity to the XEENs.” Maeter’s varied cinematography was achieved primarily through a diverse mixture of focal lengths, shifting between action-packed athletic sequences and gripping, character-driven drama. “We were pretty surprised about the different looks the focal lengths provided. The 24mm T1.5 is completely distinct to the 16mm T2.6, and the 85mm T1.5 is totally
“Wider lenses were perfect for action-driven moments, though we intercut longer focal lengths”
cinema lenses. We did have a follow focus, operated manually, but we also stayed at faster apertures for a cinematic shallow depth-of-field – and to ensure we didn’t get any noise from the camera sensor.” With exceptionally fast apertures from the longest to shortest CF lens, CREW10 faced quite the challenge. “Thankfully, the XEENs have a super-nice focus ring. Plus, they are consistently spaced across all models, meaning we didn’t have to adjust the rig every time we switched optics,” Maeter adds. A PERSONAL VIEW The different perspective of the 85mm was used to thoughtful creative effect, with the team seizing its longer reach to create a distinctive spectatorial feeling. “At times, the camera was far away from Jolina, even though she still filled the frame. We wanted it to look like she was on her own, concentrating on what she does.” With such an affinity for the XEEN CF glass, choosing a favourite is no easy task for Maeter. Only thanks to his preferential eye for action, one prevails – almost. “I like extremely wide-angle frames, so I suppose I’d choose the 16mm. Even this wide, the lens doesn’t distort faces, and so many subjects look incredible. But I’d always have to combine that with other perspectives. It’s a personal view of filmmaking, but I like to have a lot of choices, to make sure the opportunity to make something different is always there.” With the XEEN CF Cine Prime range, any filmmaker will find no less.
separate from the 50mm T1.5, even when capturing comparable subject matter. But still, even if you alter between the widest and longest lenses, it doesn’t look like you are switching sets entirely. It’s a unified, cinematic look. “Wider lenses were perfect for action- driven moments, though we intercut longer focal lengths for added interactivity and pace. Without that, you capture too much of an overview and see what’s coming next too clearly. Thankfully, we had an accurate storyboard. Our producer and DOP had discussed which shots required certain focal lengths. There wasn’t a need to try everything and see what worked. Each lens fulfils such a specific demand. “Keeping Jolina in sharp focus during explosive movements was one of our greatest challenges,” Maeter recalls. “Generally, you don’t autofocus with
ACTION WOMAN Vibrant skin tones and stunning clarity from the XEENs brought Thormann’s story to life
31. NOVEMBER 2022
Chayse Irvin’s Blonde cinematography paints a fragmented fiction of history’s most famed actress – wilfully disruptive and emotionally charged in equal measure
WORDS. Lee Renwick IMAGES. Netflix
T here are a few cinematic codes by which most abide. With each new film comes fresh visual delights, and while pictures are as varied as the narratives they depict, one thing is almost guaranteed: consistency. Spectators possess a wonderful ability to settle into the strangest cinematographic grooves, provided it continues to deliver as expected until the final frame flits by. It’s a comfortable experience that Chayse Irvin denies throughout the entirety of Blonde . From scene to scene, images shift in a way untethered to time, story or aesthetic – anchored more so than anything by an intoxicating performance from Ana de Armas. Andrew Dominik’s most talked about film to date has been the subject of both criticism and great adulation. But, for those capable of overlooking questions of art versus taste, one thing is undeniable. If, as Roland Barthes quoted, “What had not yet ever been seen is devoured by the eyes,” then Blonde is a veritable feast. “When I heard about this particular story, I was very excited. It’s based on a book, which deviates from fact and combines a lot of characters into a single metaphorical individual. It pushes the psychological experience Marilyn Monroe may have been going through to the point of hyperbole. I sensed that it desired a visual structure which worked outside of conventions,” begins Irvin. “I have, in the past, felt more connected to a visual language that was a bit more
observational. It gave spectators more licence over how they viewed it, whereas this film tries to show a point of view very literally. That point of view could be expressed in a fragmented and distorted way. It didn’t have to adhere to notions of logic. In fact, it was much more emotionally driven.” Between combinations of aspect ratios, sensor formats, lenses and choices between colour or monochrome, we see an endless array of looks. In moments, they are typically complementary to the subject matter. In others, they appear random and psychologically jarring. Irvin’s process is unique to the degree of being impossible to emulate. “I didn’t know exactly where ideas would be applied. Andrew had a better sense of that, because he could always view the film from a wider perspective than I could,” Irvin explains. “I feel it’s very much the responsibility of a DOP to capture the moment. A director sees a structure and tries to create meaning at different intervals. “Instead, I would present visual ideas in moments of inspiration. If I saw something during the blocking that was connected with a particular emotion, I could sense a certain cinematic device I’d developed could be applied here to support that theme.” It’s not the first time Irvin has approached cinematography in this way, but previously it was little more than a visual experiment. Here, on a much
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