AERIAL INNOVATIONS HEAVIER LIFTS, MULTI-ARRAYS AND FPV DRONES P26
£5.49/$13.99 November 2020
SPEED WITHOUT COMPROMISE The cine zooms on our
radar, with new glass from Arri and Fujinon The colour theory behind Ratched, Netflix’s new thriller Green scream
CUTIES | CAMERIMAGE | DPA CORE MIC | REMOTE PRODUCTION G-TECHNOLOGY ARMORLOCK | SCHITT’S CREEK EMMY SPECIAL
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We take you through the final episode of Netflix’s Ratched, frame by frame WELCOME
EDITORIAL Editorial director Roger Payne Deputy editor Chelsea Fearnley firstname.lastname@example.org
CHELSEA FEARNLEY DEPUTY EDITOR Chelsea Fearnley I have noticed that two things happen when you live through a period of rapid change and uncertainty: there’s a surge of artistic creativity and there’s the underdogs who come into their own. We witness the rise of cinema zooms, as virus precautions gobble up precious production hours and DOPs look for lens solutions that can provide speed without compromise. We spotlight the artists who are being recognised for their work, with exclusive interviews from cinematographers presenting at this year’s Camerimage and a behind- the-scenes peek at Schitt’s Creek , the comedy show that received a glowing send-off at this year’s Emmy Awards. Our shoot stories cover the productions that made headlines for their controversial images and subject matter, and our aerial special takes a sky dive into the key players helping the industry get back off the ground.
Content writer Lee Renwick Chief sub editor Beth Fletcher Sub editor Elisha Young Junior sub editor Jack Nason
Contributors Tom Anderson, Adam Duckworth, Adam Garstone, Phil Rhodes, Emily Williamson ADVERTISING Group ad manager Sam Scott-Smith 01223 499457 email@example.com Key accounts Ed Grundy 01223 499463 firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGN Design director Andy Jennings Designers Lucy Woolcomb, Man-Wai Wong & Emily Lancaster Ad production Man-Wai Wong PUBLISHING Managing directors Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck
REGUL ARS 04 TITLE SEQUENCE CONTENTS
TECHNOLOGY 26 GETTING OFF THE GROUND
MEDIA PARTNERS & SUPPORTERS OF
Behind the scenes of one of the big winners at the Emmy Awards, Schitt’s Creek .
Our annual aerial special includes plenty of innovation, with heavier lifts, multi-arrays and FPV drones. 34 SPEED WITHOUT COMPROMISE? We’re spoilt for choice with zooms from Cooke, Leitz and Zeiss, including new ones from Arri and Fujinon.
54 CAMERA LISTINGS
Our unique camera listings, with expert advice on how to put your kit together. PRODUCT ION A frame by frame of the eerie season finale, featuring ample nods to Hitchcock’s colour theory and POV shots.
42 GOING THE DISTANCE
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Sony’s Rialto gets the spotlight in our guide on how to shoot your production remotely.
46 DPA CORE MICRO SHOTGUN A review of this tiny shotgun mic delivers undistorted natural sound, even from yelling actors. 48 G-TECHNOLOGY ARMORLOCK The new SSD from G-Technology proves to be as safe as it is sexy, with biometric security to keep rushes secure.
Shooting from the hip on the Alexa Mini for the controversial Netflix film about a girl’s dance troop.
COVER IMAGE Ratched ©Netflix 2020
What’s on at this year’s festival, with exclusive interviews from cinematographers and the event’s hosts.
Definition is published monthly by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used
without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Definition is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Definition that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Prices quoted in sterling, euros and US dollars are street prices, without tax, where available or converted using the exchange rate on the day the magazine went to press.
NOVEMBER 2020 | DEF I N I T ION 03
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MAKING HISTORY Actor/producer/writer/director Daniel Levy (centre-right) directs his on-screen mother, Catherine O’Hara (left), in the final series of Schitt’s Creek , which was filmed on location in Goodwood, Ontario, using a single camera set-up. The series won in all seven comedy categories at this year’s 72nd Emmy Awards, picking up statuettes for best lead actor, best lead actress and best comedy. It was a clean sweep for the show, and a historic one at that – breaking a slew of records by becoming the first comedy to win in all four main acting awards and also the most-awarded comedy in a single year. The final series, alongside a behind-the-scenes documentary titled Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell , dropped ahead of schedule on Netflix last month.
NOVEMBER 2020 | DEF I N I T ION 05
FRAME BY FRAME | RATCHED
DOP Simon Dennis talks colour theory, Hitchcock and shooting his favourite episode of Ratched
WORDS CHELSEA FEARNLEY / P I CTURES NETFL I X
06 DEF I N I T ION | NOVEMBER 2020
FRAME BY FRAME | RATCHED E very Ryan Murphy project is visually delightful, with the costumes and sets as intricately thought out as the storylines. And yet with Ratched – an origin story for nurse Mildred Ratched, the villain from author Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Milos Forman’s film adaptation with the same name – Murphy outdoes himself, showcasing an electrifying colour palette that manifests a dazzlingly gruesome story. “Green is a signifying colour, used throughout the show’s costumes and sets to express the characters’ shared feelings of lust, envy and greed for power,” says Ratched ’s DOP, Simon Dennis. Mildred and head nurse Betsy Bucket wear blue-green, long-sleeved, belted dresses, while the trainee nurses don short-sleeved styles, with pale green aprons over the top. Hues of green can also be found on the plush exterior of wealthy heiress Lenore Osgood’s home, which masks the insidious plans taking place inside its walls. Similarly, the fluorescent green curtains in Mildred’s motel room work as a backdrop to the schemes that she concocts there. In certain scenes, flashes of green light take over the frame. It’s a jarring effect, but a powerful display of the characters becoming overwhelmed by their feelings. We first see this in episode 1, when Mildred goes to the hospital for a prospective job interview and accidentally walks in on a trainee nurse in the most unorthodox position with a patient. She walks away. Her movement is distorted, and the frame turns green. She’s feeling lust, envy and greed for power all at once, and we later learn that she used what she saw as leverage to get the job. Flashes of red light are used to similar effect, but they represent “love, a loss of command over one’s reality and the presence of danger”, explains Dennis. Head doctor, Dr Hanover, is often drenched in red lighting whenever he gets high, conveying a loss of control over his professional façade. Interestingly, these light changes were done in camera: “We pre-rigged the set practicals to change from ‘white’ light to red or green, so the
Green is a signifying colour, used throughout the show’s costumes and sets
suffocating wounded soldiers with a pillow is how McMurphy [Jack Nicholson’s character] is murdered in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest . These subtle touches are fresh and bold but respect the ultimate destination of the original story.” EPISODE EIGHT The series finale, episode 8, was Dennis’ favourite to shoot, filmed on a Red Helium with Arri Ultra Primes. It opens with a touching moment between Mildred and her lover Gwendolyn, whose hidden affair gave the show “heart” against the “twisted, deranged and bizarrely colour-coded world that we had created,” according to Dennis. “We leaned into their closeted relationship with more coverage that ‘connects’ them in some way. Even the tiny gestures they make – for example, when the camera boomed
actors were able to react to the light and the feelings it evoked in the moment. Colour shifts done in post-production would have looked too gimmicky,” says Dennis. Greens and reds were very famously used by Hitchcock in his films’ settings to express the emotions of the characters. “ Vertigo , in particular, was Ryan Murphy’s foremost reference for the series,” explains Dennis. Ratched also lends itself to other classic horror and noir films from that era, with a grandiose setting for a hospital that is much like Stanley Kubrick’s Overlook Hotel in The Shining . “Being an origin story to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – which is one of my favourites – Forman’s film was referenced, and I always had that in mind when thinking about the greater picture,” he says. “Ryan Murphy would often plant homages to the film. For example, Mildred
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RATCHED | FRAME BY FRAME
down to catch them secretly holding hands during a dance sequence in episode 5 – these are touches that lift it above the psychodrama, and why I feel the show was the hit it was,” he says. Throughout the episode, there are flashbacks and flashforwards. When Mildred informs Betsy about her plans to euthanise her brother, Edmund, the frame alternately cuts to a forecast of how it would happen. “Lots and lots of discussions were needed to blend those important sequences. They were very carefully planned – especially in later scenes, where split screens and sliding panels were used to show passing elements, such as a car or an actor in motion,” says Dennis. The marionette show, used as a way to fill in the holes of Mildred’s past, cutting to moments from Mildred and Edmund’s disturbed
Camera angles often captured the characters’ points of view
childhood, required meticulous framing on set. “We had to be mindful of the staging of the puppets and the actors, matching their eyelines so that the sequence would flow,” explains Dennis. “I actually called Tristan Oliver, the amazing stop-motion DOP of Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs , to get insight into the photography of scaled puppets so that they integrate well with the live action. He was so helpful, and it was an honour to speak with him.” Camera angles often captured the characters’ points of view, with steady
NOVEMBER 2020 | DEF I N I T ION 09
FRAME BY FRAME | RATCHED
movements that, again, gesture back to Hitchcock. “Hitchcock’s POV shots are always solid, almost mechanical – not the style we see today with handhelds,” explains Dennis. “I pushed for dolly moves, which were done on Chapman/Leonard Hustlers and PeeWee MkIVs, because a POV should not be a shaky experience. It should be precise and motivated, much like real life and how we, as individuals, see the world.” Perhaps the mightiest POV sequence is captured when Edmund breaks out of the hospital jail. As he exits through its security gates, he locks eyes with Mildred, who is just driving in. The camera captures Mildred’s POV, of Edmund looking smug, almost vengeful, then pans back to Edmund’s POV, showing a concerned Mildred. “I love that sequence,” says Dennis. “It’s Hitchcock all the way. Even the music cue at the crucial moment when they lock eyes is so Bernard Herrmann [the composer]. “The cutting pattern of this scene – using her POV to draw the viewer in and then switching to the POV of Edmund to take us out – creates a lovely balance between the characters that makes them equal in importance and coverage – and this was key for the sequence that follows, the 15-minute finale set in Mexico 1950.” MEXICO 1950 The story jumps forward three years, with Mildred having left the hospital and started
LEFT Sharon Stone plays the character Lenore Osgood in Ratched
When I came on board, for episode 5, I often felt like the show was a strange, deranged dream a new life with Gwendolyn in Mexico. After waking from a nightmare where Edmund kills her, Mildred is sitting with Gwendolyn at a patio restaurant, when they discover that seven nurses had been murdered in Chicago the night before. Suddenly, her brother calls. He warns Mildred that he’s out to get her, but she replies that he better be afraid because she’s also coming for him. This shows why creating a balance between the siblings was so important. The nightmare feels more real than the reality, and the reality, of her getting that
RATCHED IS CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX episode 5, I often felt like the show was a strange, deranged dream. Obviously, it wasn’t, but that feeling helped me shoot this key sequence.” phone call, dreamlike. “The director, Daniel Minahan, and I had to work hard to block out every movement in advance to create this deception of reality. We visited the location the weekend before shooting and played out the action of each character to see how we could manipulate the increasing and decreasing tension,” says Dennis. He adds: “The morning shoot at the patio restaurant took longer than expected and the sun was setting in on us. But rather than this working to our disadvantage, we ended up with something that felt like Vertigo : lots of golds, greens, tension, POVs, shadows and mystery. We’re proud of that outcome. When I came on board, for
10 DEF I N I T ION | NOVEMBER 2020
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ATEM Mini is a whole television studio, miniaturized down into an easy to use solution for creating live multi camera television shows. Simply connect up to4HDMI cameras, computers and evenmicrophones. Then push the buttons on the panel to switch video sources just like a professional broadcaster! You can even add titles, picture in picture overlays and mix audio! Then live stream to Zoom, Skype or YouTube! Create Training and Educational Videos ATEM Mini includes everything you need. All the buttons are positioned on the front panel so it’s very easy to learn. ATEM Software Control is also included for accessing more advanced features! The 4 HDMI inputs allow connecting cameras and computers, plus the USB output works like a webcam for Zoom or Skype. The multiview even allows all cameras to be viewed on a single monitor! Use Professional Video Effects ATEM Mini is really a professional broadcast switcher used by television stations. This means it has professional ef fects such as a DVE for picture in picture ef fects, commonly used for commentating over a computer slide show. There are titles for presenter names, wipe ef fects for transitioning between sources and a green screen keyer for replacing backgrounds with graphics!
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PRODUCTION | CUT I ES
ACUTE CONTROVERSY Maïmouna Doucouré’s Cuties has been the subject of
much attention since its release, for better or worse. We talk to DOP Yann Maritaud, to find out more about the unflinching approach to the film’s visuals
WORDS LEE RENWI CK / P I CTURES NETFL I X & ALLOC I NÉ
W hen Cuties hit the festival “evocative” and “culturally significant”, and Doucouré claimed a Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival for her efforts. In the months since, though, the film and its creators have been subject to a torrent of abuse as it found itself at the heart of a Twittersphere controversy. Now, in stark contrast to critics’ reviews, ordinary viewers – or perhaps not viewers at all – have shown their disdain to the circuit earlier this year, reviews were overwhelmingly positive, with critics calling it “bold”,
greatest possible degree. Cuties has a collective viewer rating of just 2.8/10 on IMDb and, if you Google the film, the top-voted tags include ‘disturbing’, ‘gross’ and ‘cringeworthy’. The story follows Amy, a pre-teen Senegalese immigrant living in a devoutly Muslim household, daughter to a distant father and a downtrodden mother. At the time of her burgeoning adulthood, she meets a brash and energetic dance troupe made up of girls. Though they’re her own age, their cultural backgrounds couldn’t be further from Amy’s. And so,
ABOVE Jonathan A behind-the-scenes shot of the crew working on Cuties
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CUT I ES | PRODUCTION
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CUT I ES | PRODUCTION
our lead finds herself with a choice: have the traditional role of women thrust upon her like her mother, or discover a new and radical type of womanhood with the help of her new friends. Just mentioning ‘pre-teen’ and ‘womanhood’ together is enough to ring alarm bells for some – and so we find our controversy. Doubtless, these are difficult waters to navigate. Some argue that difficult real-world ideas like the sexualisation of young girls are impossible to explore fully in art without showing them as they truly are, while others argue that to do so is gratuitous and only serves to feed the issue. Having written the script with heavy influence drawn from her own experiences as a girl, Doucouré is as qualified as any to tackle the issue, and evidently, she opted for the direct approach. But, with outraged surface readings and huge degrees of reductivism surrounding the film, much of its nuance is lost. So perhaps, at least here, the more poignant question is not why the film was made in such a manner, but how . To find answers, we talked to the film’s director of photography, Yann Maritaud. thematically, but also visually. As Maritaud explains, these two elements were not at all disconnected. “From the earliest prep, one of the most important things for Maïmouna and me was to tell Amy’s story from her point of view. We worked hard not to have an adult eye on the story, but to have the viewer put themselves in the shoes of this pre-teenager for an hour and a half.” UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL Cuties is an extremely intimate film, ABOVE DOP Yann Maritaud shot Cuties using the Alexa Mini, because it’s lightweight, functional and the LCD was useful for shooting at hip height
We wanted a very organic way of filming, staying as close to Amy’s feelings as possible
girls, but in others we intrude and trespass on moments we feel we simply shouldn’t see as adults. Despite the challenging feelings these latter scenes invoke, they were a critical part of the film’s exploration. Perhaps only in looking at the larger whole can we approve or disapprove. “The camera never lets go of Amy’s viewpoint through her life experiences,” Maritaud says. “Some experiences are still very childish, and some push her too abruptly and prematurely into an adult posture that appears disturbing. It’s precisely by always keeping this same closeness that certain scenes, because of their content, are received very differently. “Overall, for me, there was something instinctive in the way I shot the film – in choosing a point of view at the beginning and not letting go of it under any pretext.” Taking a brief moment to address criticisms of the film, Maritaud deliberates. “My position is very clear: the purpose of
It’s true, Amy is very rarely subject to an adult’s gaze – viewer not included. In line with this, we often find ourselves in unique frames. Early in the film, when Amy hides under her mother’s bed, for example. Here, we’re offered only an extreme close-up of Amy’s face and her point of view of her mother’s feet as she stifles tears down the phone. Throughout, the camerawork treads a fine line; we’re not aware of the camera in a direct sense, but there’s a pervading feeling of being very close to the bone. “We wanted a very organic way of filming, staying as close to Amy’s feelings and emotions as possible,” Maritaud explains. “So, we decided to make the whole film with handheld camera, positioned at the height of the teenagers’ eyes. We wanted to show only the things that Amy can see or imagine.” Where this takes us as viewers differs greatly from scene to scene. At times, we share a nostalgic childhood joy with the
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PRODUCTION | CUT I ES
IMAGES Various stills from Cuties, including Fathia Youssouf as the main character, Amy (top right), and Maïmouna Gueye as Mariam, Amy’s mother (bottom right)
reliable, so I chose the Alexa Mini. We often had to have the camera at hip height, so I found the LCD very handy, and it meant I could avoid adding too many accessories.” When it came to lens selection, Maritaud opted for something altogether less modern. “I’m often very concerned when I’m shooting digitally that I must reduce the too-surgical, too-defined aspect of digital cameras, as it’s just not to my taste,” he says. I am aware that we are dealing with very disturbing realities in our society “In general, I find the oldest optics I can and I diffuse them even more with filters to achieve a more pleasant texture. In this case, we went for the Zeiss Super Speed Mark I lenses and a Mitchell Diffusion Filter. We tested at least ten different sets of lenses, but it was these that caught our attention. Beyond their soft texture, they are optics that have a very particular rendering with triangular bokeh. This strange feeling distorts reality a little bit, and we found it added to a fairy-tale aspect of the film that we subtly introduced throughout.” “There are two universes in this movie,” Maritaud explains, as conversation moves on to lighting. For the viewer, this
these controversial scenes is to display how these little girls see themselves. The visuals in the film reflect the image the children intend to convey through social media and in front of their audience at the competition. “Still, I am aware that we are dealing with very disturbing realities in our society, and that this is a very delicate and emotional subject.” SHAPING THE LOOK With Maritaud’s distinct vision in mind, next came the matter of finding the right kit for the job. “The choice of the camera was easy, because I knew that we were going to spend long hours every day with the camera on my shoulder to give Maïmouna the possibility to work on very long takes and improvisations with her actors,” he explains. “I needed a lightweight and functional camera, but also something robust and
much is clear. The two locations we watch Amy navigate – her home and the world outside of that – are representative of the two possible lives she may eventually lead. “Amy goes out of her home environment to seek refuge, so the exteriors had to be bright and attractive. Though, with all the improvisation by the girls, we ended up with a 360° shooting axes, so I couldn’t do a lot of things. We relied on the light of the sun, then we shaped the look during colour grading.” He continues: “In her home, I had to create a more oppressive atmosphere that closed in as the film progressed. With my gaffer, Cyril Bossard, we thought about lighting as much as possible from the outside so that the set would be a completely free playground for the actors. For this, we didn’t use anything too extravagant. We had some HMIs, like the Arri M40, which were bounced with large light boxes placed outside the building.” Ultimately, what we’re left with is a complex work, bound to challenge and divide viewers. Inarguably, it’s intentional and unwavering in the message it carries. Sharing his final thoughts on Cuties , Maritaud considers the end result. “I find the film well accomplished. We did it to raise awareness of an important subject of society, and in that, I think it’s successful,” he concludes. CUTIES IS CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX WORLDWIDE
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ADVERTI SEMENT FEATURE | G -TECHNOLOGY
SPEEDY AND SAFE! G-Technology’s range of SSD hard drives not only brings new levels of speed for the latest cameras, but security, too
waiting for the DIT to download the footage from cameras,” says G-Technology’s Ruben Dennewaldt. “Having very fast drives that download much quicker are a huge saving in time, which, of course, means money.” For quick, robust drives, G-Technology has the answer with its range of solutions that use flash-based SSD inside. Compared to traditional mechanical HDD drives, these have no moving parts, so are less vulnerable to impacts or vibration, and they are silent, smaller and significantly faster. And with capacity of SSD-based drives increasing all the time at more affordable prices, having a full SSD-based workflow from location to edit is a very real prospect. Many of the world’s top cinematographers trust G-Technology’s safe and speedy storage solutions –
With the never-ending rush towards even better video quality, 4K is the new norm, while 6K, 8K and even 12K are already here. Mix in Raw video files, ProRes in all its flavours (including 12-bit Raw), 4:2:2 10-bit recording, All-Intra codecs and sensors that only seem to get bigger with each generation of cameras; it adds up to a huge increase in data that all needs to be ingested, stored safely and accessed at speed with total reliability. Losing any of the footage would be a disaster, with a real, immediate financial impact and pretty much irreparable damage to reputations. That’s why storing a backup of your data on-set is a crucial part of workflow, and the need for hard drives that are designed for location work. With the cost of large productions increasing, time is crucial and expensive, so the speed of ingesting footage from multiple
IMAGE G-Technology offers a range of SSD drives to suit a range of budgets and speed requirements
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18 DEF I N I T ION | NOVEMBER 2020
G -TECHNOLOGY | ADVERTI SEMENT FEATURE
“Storing a backup of your data on-set is a crucial part of every professional’s workflow”
ABOVE The G-Technology ArmorLock SSD uses an app to unlock its contents, making it more easy and convenient to use than remembering passwords. As it’s an SSD, it has no moving parts, making it less vulnerable to impacts or vibration And, of course, the drive is fast, with a read and write speed of 1000MB/s**, and has the crush, drop and IP67 dust and water resistance G-Technology is well-known for. Showing a total commitment to working filmmakers, G-Technology now also offers its unique G-SPEED Shuttle transportable RAID storage system with Thunderbolt 3 technology. This four-bay system is a compact and transportable design, so you can edit multicamera footage – from fast frame rates to HDR and even Raw – in real time on-location or back in the studio. Available in 8TB, 16TB and 32TB sizes from £4685.99 (RRP), it offers transfer rates up to 2800MB/s** and the largest productions can even daisy-chain five additional devices thanks to the dual Thunderbolt 3 ports. With RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and 50 built in, it *OS compatibility for ArmorLock: Mac 10.1.2+ Windows 10 +. **As used for transfer rate or interface, megabyte per second (MB/s) = one million bytes per second. Performance will vary depending on hardware and software components and configurations. ***On a carpeted concrete floor. is a versatile and flexible storage solution for the most discerning productions who have a high demand for speed and security. G-Technology provides all-around solutions for easy-to-use, high-performance and high-grade secure storage solutions.
is part of Western Digital, which is one of the very few to not only manufacture the drive itself and the internal controller, but also have a huge team of engineers to develop the firmware for a fully optimised, integrated solution. This huge investment in technology has allowed G-Technology to offer the revolutionary new ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD portable drive with next-generation security and simplicity specifically for the media industry. Digital assets are the lifeblood of the creative industries, so protecting this critical content has become crucial in portable storage devices. But filmmakers need to be able to capture, preserve and access their data at scale and at speed, and not just rely on passwords to access files. “The ArmorLock Security Platform makes things easy and convenient, as instead of using passwords, it relies on the fingerprint or face-recognition technology everyone has nowadays to unlock their smartphone,” says Dennewaldt. Currently available on Apple iOS with Android coming soon, the first product to use this advanced technology is the new G-Technology ArmorLock encrypted NVMe SSD in a 2TB size for £559.99 (RRP). With the free ArmorLock app, users can unlock the device with their phones. The ArmorLock mobile and desktop apps can also configure and manage multiple drives and users to control who has access. This is really important for workflows that require safe shipping of content between physical locations, as remote users can be authorised before sharing the drives using a range of popular messaging and email services.
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MORE INFORMATION: g-technology.com
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PRODUCTION | CAMER IMAGE
LET THE FESTIVAL COMMENCE! IN SPITE OF THIS YEAR’S OBVIOUS CHALLENGES, ENERGACAMERIMAGE 2020 BOLDLY GOES AHEAD. HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
WORDS LEE RENWI CK / P I CTURES UN I VERSAL
D espite this year’s complications, the team behind Camerimage festival believes the show must go on! Naturally, visitor safety is paramount, and the team has worked hard to adapt. “When the festival began in the early 90s, we were very much in our niche, but as it grew, we started to invite directors, costume designers, editors, production designers and performers. While the festival is still focused on cinematography, it’s really evolved,” says Kazik Suwała, programme supervisor. “It’s certainly a celebration of image, but on all possible levels, from the technology, to the artistic creation and beyond. “It’s also a great exchange because the young cinematographers are coming here to meet their masters, and the masters are coming here to seek inspiration from the passion of the young people.” Last year, 800 cinematographers from 60 countries were present, and almost 1000 students from 150 schools. “It’s wonderful,” says Marek Żydowicz, the festival’s director. “We also had some big names from the industry here to support us last year. Quentin Tarantino came, Darren Aronofsky came, and we had Edward Norton and Danny DeVito, too. We were very pleased to see them all.” Naturally, there are changes this year. Taking place between 14-21 November, the
“Marek has managed to convince the city mayor and the deputy prime minister of Poland to find the money in the budget to build a new venue, the European Film Centre Camerimage,” explains Suwała. “We were aiming to secure $150million to construct it and, just a few days ago, it was confirmed that the full sum is there! The centre will be built by the end of 2025.” Suwała himself has stepped up his involvement in the festival and has become the CEO of the European Film Centre Camerimage institution. It looks as though big things are on the horizon. “The centre won’t just be for the festival,” Żydowicz concludes. “It’ll be open year-round, showing and promoting cultural cinema. We also see it as a hub to connect Poland and the best of film production from all over the globe.” WHAT’S ON Despite all the excitement surrounding the funding, it would be amiss to overlook this year’s exciting screenings. There are many promising contenders across Camerimage’s numerous categories, but we reach out to a chosen few to get some insight from the creatives directly.
IMAGES The festival’s live content will go ahead as planned, albeit with Covid-19 regulations added
screenings will be less densely packed and there will be fewer international visitors. Though in-person offerings are still vital, and new virtual access has been organised. “Visitors will have five screens available to view films, including the many great titles in our main competition – we’re very excited about those. Right now, in Poland, cinemas are reduced to 50% capacity, so that’s what we’ll be implementing here, too,” Suwała explains. “Elsewhere, we are going to take all the necessary measurements and follow all regulations in order to keep our visitors safe. We’ll still have as much of our usual live content as possible, including Q&As, seminars and workshops.” For those not able to attend physically, the team will maintain online connections so, according to Żydowicz, “people can still comment on the films and engage with seminar speakers”. Among a few big changes, there’s been some big news. Just last year, Camerimage returned to its original home city, Toruń, and for good reason, as it turns out.
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CAMER IMAGE | PRODUCTION
The film Poppie Nongena follows the story of a Xhosa mother and the endless hardships she faces in perilous 1970s South Africa. Vicci Turpin, a veteran of the camera department, took on the role of DOP. “ Poppie is my second feature film as a cinematographer and I was overjoyed to be acknowledged with a Silwerskerm award for my work,” Turpin says. “My biggest challenges were the harsh South African sunlight and contrasting conditions. I like a very natural style of lighting and wanted a realistic look with subtle artistic detail. Inside, I often kept the sunlight balanced with black silks and scrims, then used a lot of hidden lights – often in the ceilings. “For much of the shoot, I used a custom-built Tilta Armor Man rig as we wanted a medium between handheld and steadicam. I realised I needed some good weight on there, so we settled on the Arri Alexa XT and used that with a set of lovely, fast Arri Master Prime lenses. “During the final sequence, I had to run for long takes through all these houses on location, following closely behind the lead actress. Luckily, we knew each other well and I was super fit from using the camera rig, by then!” Turpin enthuses.
Nick Thomas shot The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw , a period piece that offers drama and horror in equal measure. “Thomas Robert Lee, the director, had a very clear image of the film and we had four months to prep together. My approach to the overall look of the film was to create a natural world, but dark and moody, with a vintage look and a modern twist,” Thomas says. “It seemed that every day we had at least one stunt or challenging performance to overcome,” he continues. “The period was another issue because characters wouldn’t have had access to power. Every scene had to be lit from a natural or practical source.” As ever, securing the right kit for the job was essential. “I chose the Arri Alexa Mini, primarily for the look, but also for its compact size and versatility,” Thomas reveals. “Meeting our visual goal was the main deciding factor when it came to lens choice, and I love to shoot anamorphic for the painterly textures of the bokeh. “We secured six Cooke Anamorphic /i SF lenses as well as an Angenieux 50-500mm HR zoom. The additional character of the special flares was wonderful and the Angenieux matched the look of the Cookes well. This allowed us to capture some huge vintage-inspired zoom shots.”
NOVEMBER 2020 | DEF I N I T ION 21
PRODUCTION | CAMER IMAGE
Aurélien Marra photographed Two of Us , which depicts the challenges of elderly Nina and Madeleine’s secret relationship. Marra himself describes the film “more as a thriller”. He says: “We wished to show how one’s anxieties can warp reality. Visual elements like lighting needed to create a feeling of unease and were suggestive of a strained happiness, in spite of Nina and Madeleine’s apparent lightness. The schedule was tight, as they always are nowadays. “We didn’t have much time to improvise, and I believe our solid preparation is what allowed us to meet our goals,” Marra explains. On the camera front, Marra opted to use the Sony Venice. “I was convinced after seeing some tests at the AFC’s Micro Salon – they instantly revealed the camera’s range of possibilities. “As for lenses, we chose the Bausch & Lomb Super Baltars rehoused by True Lens Services, mainly for their beautiful round bokeh and our enthusiasm for the 25mm lens, which we felt had to be our main focal length. “The movie’s overall look was outside of a definite timeframe. I didn’t choose the lenses for some romantic notion of depicting timelessness. My interest mainly focused on their ability to offer different looks by varying aperture – that’s a creative freedom I enjoy,” he concludes.
The film Helene , shot by Rauno Ronkainen, is based on the life of Finnish painter, Helene Schjerfbeck. According to Ronkainen: “The film was made not as a biography, but rather as a dramatic snapshot of a moment in Helene’s life, during which time she fell desperately in love with a younger man who couldn’t reciprocate her feelings. “She is struggling with romantic desperation and doubt, but she’s also locked into her need to create as well as the anxious process of painting,” says Ronkainen, shedding some more light. “This was something I deeply wanted to express in my images to show how an artist sees and experiences the world around her. Her sense of colour, composition, balance and detail – all this made me want to create a filmic world, seen through her eyes. “I wanted to create something unique,” he continues. “We tested techniques and equipment and discussed lighting and colour, all relating to Schjerfbeck’s paintings.” A good artist knows his tools, and Ronkainen is no different. “We used the Sony Venice with a set of Cooke Anamorphics,” he tells us. “Their characteristics allowed me to create a ‘keyhole’, like seeing into the past. “The lenses in particular created a somewhat distorted image with the iris wide open. This let us show not how things were, but how they felt. This element of imagination, or dreaming, or memory, was vital to the film.”
ENERGACAMERIMAGE FESTIVAL 2020 TAKES PLACE BETWEEN 14-21 NOVEMBER.
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ADVERTI SEMENT FEATURE | SAMSUNG
THE FUTURE OF STORAGE Video editor Eleanor Catherine Smart gets her hands on the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch to see if it can keep up with her fast-paced workflow
Being a professional freelance video editor can take you many places. For Eleanor Catherine Smart, it’s taken her from feature films, to some of the UK’s biggest television channels, to high-end commercial work. As well as editing, Smart is a proficient VFX artist, working on compositing, paint and roto, motion graphics and more. With such a broad skillset and packed schedule, she needs kit that can keep up with a host of demands. With that in mind, she gave the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch a try during a recent commercial project, but did it meet her high standards? SETTING THE PACE “Primarily, I used the drive to ingest footage after shoots and to move around some exports,” Smart explains. “I also used it to work from, though, because I was really interested to see how it would stand
up in terms of performance when dealing with the demands of working with editing software and visual effects programs. “I usually work off a server at the moment, because I’m doing most of my working remotely, but in my more typical work life, I do mostly use drives,” explains Smart. “Compared to anything I’ve used before, I found the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch incomparably fast. I’ve been genuinely surprised.” At its best, the portable drive can perform at a stupendously fast read speed of 1,050MB/s and a write speed of 1,000MB/s, thanks to its USB 3.2 Gen2 technology. But even in less than ideal conditions, the portable drive sets a high bar indeed. “I used the drive to back up some files and it only took me ten minutes to copy across 250GB of 4K footage,” Smart enthuses. “That’s a whole day’s worth of high res footage backed up and secure in minutes. This level of speed was a massive time saver and ultimately it just let me get on with the edit sooner.” Smart adds: “I also needed to transcode that same 250GB of 4K footage from ProRes down to H.264, and from 4K down to HD, so it would be easier to work with. I transcoded it straight off the drive and that was amazingly fast, too. “I was actually so surprised by the speed that I did an experiment, doing the same transcode with the same footage using one of the other drives I use daily – I
found, here, the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch was three times faster!” There are simply so many uses for such outstanding performance, especially in the world of freelance where time is money. For Smart, one of the most memorable experiences took place on set. “On the shoot I’ve been working at recently, they’ve been using CFast cards in a professional digital film camera, because they’re waiting on the SSD recorder to arrive. The footage is filling those cards really fast, because they just aren’t built with a capacity like an SSD has,” says Smart. “I decided to take the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch to set and use it to empty all the CFast cards. Because I could just get the data ingestion done so quickly and get the cards back to the operators, they were able to keep going and the entire shoot wasn’t held up because of it.” In Smart’s case, she was using 1TB, but 2TB is available and 500GB if less capacity is needed. AT YOUR FINGERTIPS Of course, there are many features of a portable SSD that are just as important as speed to a lot of users. For many
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SAMSUNG | ADVERTI SEMENT FEATURE
IMAGES While editing from her at-home work station, sturdy security is a necessity, so Smart was relieved the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch came with fingerprint technology
“Compared to anything I’ve used before, I found the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch just incomparably fast”
freelancers or other users working remotely, security ranks highly on that list. For the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch, that comes in the form of secure AES 256-bit encryption, with the options of fingerprint and password unlocking. There’s much to be said for this, as Smart explains. “I hadn’t used a fingerprint drive before, but I found it made so much sense,” she says. “So much of our personal technology is unlocked with fingerprints nowadays, like our phones, so I found it really familiar, quick and easy. “With such reliable encryption, when I’m working on something for a client in my edit suite rather than in their building, they can be assured their footage is secure. And having the password protection option meant I didn’t have to register everyone’s fingerprint, which is good, because I often work with a lot of people, though you can register up to four fingerprints if required. I was able to hand the client the drive and give them the password, then they could do what they needed and pass it back. It was literally no trouble.” With storage devices, there’s not just the matter of cyber security to consider, but physical security, too. On this front,
thick. They also have all these extra cables to plug in for power etc. It’s just easy not having all of that.” In the box, you’ll find USB Type C-to-C and Type C-to-A cables for added convenience and greater compatibility. The Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch can be used with PC, Mac, Android devices, gaming consoles and more, making it the perfect tool to fit in with even the most unusual of workflows. But what was Smart’s final verdict? “The Samsung portable drive takes all the right steps towards more efficient working,” she concludes. “It’s secure. It’s fast. It’s small enough to fit in my pocket. It takes away the hassle of data transfer.”
the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch offers protection from falls of up to 2m, though if the worst should happen, the drive is backed by a three-year warranty. “I’ve seen people drop drives,” Smart says, “and your heart drops for a minute, wondering have you lost everything on there? So, it’s really reassuring to know that the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch has got that shock resistance.” Despite such an impressive set of features, the portable drive doesn’t sacrifice on looks or size – it’s literally palm-sized. During her time with it, Smart was certainly a fan. “It does look really sleek and smart, but personally I found its size was the best physical feature. It made it easy to transport,” she says. “Put some of the drives I usually work with next to the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch and I’d say they’re at least four times as large and at least four times as
MORE INFORMATION: samsung.com/uk/memory-storage
NOVEMBER 2020 | DEF I N I T ION 25
TECHNOLOGY | AER I AL
Our annual aerial special includes plenty of innovation and determination from key players GETTING OFF THE GROUND
WORDS CHELSEA FEARNLEY / P I CTURES VAR I OUS
RIGHT Flying Picture’s Ultra drone stands proud with the Libra L7 remote head attached
n our industry, it seems aerial companies have
been the first to get productions off the
ground. Due to the very nature of their operations, whereby they take to the skies to capture images, they are socially distanced from the production crew below. When things took a downward turn in the UK and, like most businesses, aerial companies were reduced to staying indoors, their efforts were heavily focused on R&D, preparing for the future and fine-tuning gear. BIGGER DEMANDS, BIGGER DRONES Flying Pictures unveiled its powerful new drone, the Ultra, back in July, though, unbeknown to most, this drone was actually ready in February. “Lockdown gave us additional time to refine it,” says the company’s chief pilot, Daniel Rose. “The CAA requires a technical assessment of all drones capable of flying anything over 20kg, and the Ultra has a payload of up to 60kg, so it took quite some time to assess! We also didn’t want to launch the drone without officially being able to use it, which is what we often see when companies bring out new gear.”
The Ultra is capable of carrying some of the heaviest camera and lens packages around, such as a three- camera Alexa Mini multi-array, with Zeiss CP.3 lenses and a full RTMotion Lens Control System, or an Arriflex 435 film camera, fitted with a 400ft mag and the Cooke 35-140mm Anamorphic/i zoom. It’s also the only drone capable and approved to fly the industry standard Libra L7 remote head. Rose says: “We wanted to create a drone that’s future-proof, one that’s able to do multicamera arrays to match the industry’s increasing demands for visual effects, and that can also accommodate heavy film cameras, because they’ve started to come back into vogue.”
Multi-arrays provide an extremely wide field of view at a remarkable resolution, which is beneficial for VFX departments creating 360° images, such as the sky. Emma Boswell, who is co- founder of aerial film specialist The Helicopter Girls, explains: “Until recently, three- and six-camera arrays have been very much the territory of helicopter companies. Our partner company, Marzano Films, owns the Eclipse XLHD helicopter multi-camera array, and John Marzano is one of the few aerial DOPs with specialist knowledge of array systems. Now these things are possible with drones, which is an exciting development for the work we are able to do together.”
“WE WANTED TO CREATE A DRONE THAT’S ABLE TO DO MULTICAMERA ARRAYS”
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