All posts in Filmmaking

17 Posts

GIORGIA – VANITA’ AN ITALIAN COMEBACK

2017 has begun with an unexpected job for me, a music video shoot from one of the most renowned and beloved Italian singers: Giorgia. It was my first Italian job in many many years and I welcomed the experience. Upon reconnecting with its director, the Italian music video director Cosimo Alema’, I was asked to join him into this journey. Commissioned by Sony and produced by the director’s companies Borotalco, Bmovie Italia and 99.9 Films through Andrea Biscaro and Fulvio Compagnucci, the video features three separate storylines loosely referring to the song’s lyric interwoven with the artist’s brilliant playback delivery. It was a fun two days shoot, enlightened by the wonderful company of the singer, who’s real persona is all you would hope her to be. A real pleasure.

Cosimo distinctive signature style called for hand held camera with 45º shutter, fast paced editing and use of natural lighting when available. I tried my best to keep it simple while at the same time give justice to Giorgia’s beautiful features.

Shot on Red Dragon with Zeiss Super Speed primes.

 

BRIDGET JONES’S BABY

I consider myself very lucky to have been involved on this production, fist as additional cinematographer for VFX and later as C camera operator. Working with Andrew Dunn, ASC, BSC is great and his tremendous experience seems endless, he is terribly generous with his knowledge and kind but always able to get the best out of you. Amazing.

I have to thank B camera operator/second unit cinematographer Gerry Vasbenter for the opportunity, whose qualities are too many to mention.

Uncredited by still very much part of it.

Shot on Arri Alexa XT Plus, Panavision C-, T-Series, ATZ, AWZ2 and Angenieux Optimo Lenses.

A Universal Films Production

Directed by Sharon Maguire

Cinematography by Andrew Dunn

 

Vote THE RUN, web series pilot competition.

theRun

Here’s The Run, a pilot for a web series created and directed by the brilliant Mario Sainz, produced by Kate Marsden, photography by me.

The pilot is now in competition for The Raindance Web Series Pilot competition (to see click on title).

Please share and vote for us!

Shot on Red Epic with Zeiss Super Speed prime lenses (once again Panavision & Panalux have taken care of me in the best possible way, thank you).

Also a big thank you to all the people involved who helped me shoot this, you’ve been great and your effort have been invaluable!!

IERI SERA A CENA – SHORT FILM

“IERI SERA A CENA” (Yesterday’s dinner) is a short film written and directed by the young Cristiano Pedrocco, a first time director at the time of the shoot, who has a background in photography and who, later on, attended a film school’s cinematography course in Rome. Cristiano is now working as a filmmaker in Rome.

I met Cristiano through relatives and when he proposed the film to me, upon reading the script I was instantly hooked. I like uplifting stories, maybe it’s because I’m a child of the Eighties (b. 1979) and I grew up with films such as E.T. and Back To The Future, that this story resonated with me from the start.

Cristiano spent months preparing for the shoot and albeit a minimal budget he flashed out of his own pocket, he managed to have everything in place for the shoot. And it was well worth it, the film has won many National and International festivals since it was released a couple of years ago. Now that its festival run is over I can finally post it here. I will get a subtitled version in English soon as well, meanwhile, unless you speak Italian, have a look at the pictures!

It was shot on a Canon 5D with Zeiss Compact Prime 2 Lenses.

Enjoy!

OTRIVINE – STOP MESSING ABOUT

I shot this advert for Shaven Ape, directed by Ben Fogg – with whom is a pleasure to work.

Shot on Red Epic with Zeiss Distagon Prime lenses.

EUROPCAR + ARSENAL FC CAMPAIGN

Less than a couple of weeks ago I was lucky to be involved in shooting the Europcar and Arsenal FC partnership campaign. Here’s the full edit. I shot the Trudy Mertesacker bit (the bakery) without the headshot interview of Trudy and Per.

Directed by the brilliant Ben Fogg

Produced by the lovely Jade Fitton for Shaven Ape

Shot on Red Scarlet with Canon EF zoom lenses.

 

CURSE OF MESOPOTAMIA MAKING OF

Here’s a funny making of video of the first half of CoM.

CURSE OF MESOPOTAMIA SECOND TEASER

Some time have passed now from when we had to flee Erbil in Kurdistan Iraq for fear of being caught in between Isis advance and the US air strikes, meanwhile our director, Lauand Omar, has been busy tweaking the script in Istanbul first and then editing complete scenes as well as a second teaser of the film to show potential investors and fans alike. Here’s a link to the teaser, I hope you enjoy. Peace!

Shot on Arri Alexa with Zeiss Superspeed Primes.

CURSE OF MESOPOTAMIA FIRST TEASER

Here’s the first teaser for Curse of Mesopotamia, a horror/fantasy feature film I’ve been shooting this summer in Erbil, (Kurdistan) Iraq.

We shot 50% of the movie but had to go due to the war that was looming over us. We’ll reprise production at the beginning of  the winter.

Produced by Visual K Production and written and directed by Lauand Omar.

Shot on Arri Alexa in 2K Apple ProRes 4444 with Arri Superspeed prime lenses.

Check the film’s FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/curseofmesopotamia

ALEXA 400 ISO RATING

I’ve been recently called to shoot a horror/fantasy movie in the Middle East. After many discussions and considerations we ended up choosing to shoot in with an Alexa (Plus HS Classic, with a 16:9 sensor) in 2K Apple ProRes 4444. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Alexa and its dynamic range, as well as its gentle roll off on the shoulder of the curve as well as its incredible handling of underexposure, but in this case the script required so many low key lighting scenarios that it was simply impossible to do it with a Red Epic for instance, even in its latest Dragon iteration. I’d say the Sony F65 (and the F55 maybe too) may have been able to handle that but there was also to consider the amount of data we were going to later have to ingest and since the region we were in wasn’t the easiest place to find professional hard drives’ suppliers we decided that the Alexa would also help streamline our workflow and it did.

Before principal photography began I organised a simple set-up for costume, make-up/hair and lighting test. I tested various lenses, exposures, filters and ISO rating. I decided to go for a 1/4 ProMist on the lens for the “period scenes” (half the film was set 600BC, the rest nowadays) to take a little bit of the digital edge off. If I had to find one thing I don’t like about the Alexa is that sometimes it feels a little bit too sharp – in fact I also decided to use a set of the old and trustworthy Zeiss Superspeed Prime lenses, which gave the image a more vintage look but also had the speed but not the cleaniness of say the Zeiss Master Primes for example.

The Alexa performed well with the various set-ups but upon rating it 400 ISO, moving the dynamic range towards the bottom of the curve gave that extra crispness to the shadows that was quite striking to be honest. It really allowed a 4+ stop underexposure to look clean and noise free. The setting basically add one stop to the already striking low light capturing capabilities of the German camera. This has allowed me to play with low light levels as well as to push the underexposed zones of the image without ever looking muddy. The feel is almost that of an added third dimension to an area of exposure that sometimes can look really flat. It benefited me by also allowing me not worry too much if I had an area I could not for some reason bring as up exposure wise as I would have wanted. I would then bring it up during grading without it ever adding noticeable noise.

For daylight scenes I would always go back to its standard 800 ISO rating though.

The 400 ISO rating can be a double edge sword only when you’re playing with too little light overall. The setting obviously forces you to open one stop on the lens so that has to be kept in mind. If with the light available your stop is T2 at 800 ISO then at 400 you’ll have T1.3 and that to me is way too extreme as base stop (although I would use it if that was the only way to bring a shot home).

In conclusion as long as lighting is not an issue, for a contrasty low-key lighting approach 400 ISO on the Alexa is a good trick of the trade.