Alexa Mini + Cooke Varotal 18-100

Director: Joe Shaw + Sosa Owen
Producer: Femi Anderson
1st AD: Otis Dominique

Steadicam: Jake Whitehouse
1st AC: Raúl Menéndez
2nd AC: Milo Brown
Camera Trainee: Klára Rychtarčiková

Gaffer: Hélio Ribeiro
Spark: Ana Krkljus
Spark: Rob Shears

Art Director: Jaclyn Pappalardo
Art Dept Assist: Laura Little

Grade: Thomas Mangham (The Mill)

Camera kindly supplied by Arri
Lighting kindly supplied by Panalux

The treatment Sosa & Joe’s outlined in their directorial debut was one that instantly appealed to me. A mysterious narrative dotted with subtle motifs to build on, all painted within a dreamlike world, told through a handful of developing shots.

There were a lot of hooks to build on but one thing was for sure - this script deserved to be set in a surreal world. Sosa & Joe were welcoming to ideas that occurred to me when coming back to them with my interpretation of the brief, and after a great first few meetings discussing our visions we started to hone in on a colourised, warm aesthetic.

I thought long and hard about colour contrast, keen not to have too much, and ended up using HMI’s with 1/4 CTS coming in through untented windows, with the camera white balanced 7000k to make for a warm ambient with a slightly warmer key. It was a lot of lighting through windows and Hélio, Ana and Rob worked tirelessly on a cold January day that even started snowing as the sun began to set! Really happy with the lighting on this and couldn’t have asked for more.

Using a Cooke Varotal 18-100 to achieve the directing duo’s zoom shots was a decision that happened early on and Raúl, Milo and Klára in the camera dept did a superb job of getting the huge lens on and off the Steadicam, tripod and slider throughout the shoot. On the day Jake Whitehouse beautifully operated the tracking shots, capturing one-ers that were good enough for us to cancel other angles we had planned for that scene. Subtle remote zooms on the Steadi were great fun and I think add a nice touch.

One of the challenging parts to the project was somehow squeezing in a way to capture the ‘floating’ blackout scenes in the same one day location shoot. Lofty Get Out references were being sent back and forth but the reality was that we would never be able to create anything as convincing without a studio. We ended up blacking out the sofa scene whilst we shot downstairs and later reusing the space as our black void, underexposing the characters and carefully flagging off as much light as we could off the blacks surrounding them. Not ideal but it worked!

Thomas Mangham at the Mill was a pleasure to collaborate with on this one developing a beautiful grade, full of richness and dark tones which works towards our original goal of layering the script in as much abstraction as possible.

Learn more about Collard via an I-D writeup for the project; “a well-lit glide around a beautiful home” ✨

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