26 Oct 2019

What's it like using a top-end camera (the Sony F65) on a low-budget indie film?

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F65 in La Vie Nous Appartient F65 in La Vie Nous Appartient Penny Lane/Alex lee


Replay - Although a few years old now, this article highlights the challenges of using a high end camera on low budget shoots: Unlike the vast majority of  independent films, we decided to film “La Vie Nous Appartient” with a high-end camera - in this case, the Sony F65. This might have seemed a somewhat daunting task, considering our more than low budget, and our choice to film all by hand in a rocky terrain. But it was important to us to give our sensitive story the quality it deserved

By the Penny Lane Team


The movie

“La Vie Nous Appartient” is a psychological drama about two students, Sarah and Philip, who after meeting online develop a tragic plan to end their lives. They decide to meet and hike into the mountains where they would jump off a cliff together. The film follows them on their journey as they share their stories, thoughts and struggles and find that perhaps neither of them is quite as alone as they had thought.

Filmed in the forests and mountains of the Lower Austrian Alps, “La Vie Nous Appartient” is a probing, but also lighthearted film. Through an up-close view of two individuals, played by the upcoming French actors Alix Bénézech and Florent Arnoult, it looks into enduring issues about family, depression and fulfilment, while also touching upon the unique issues of growing up in the modern world.



Choice of camera

We knew from previous collaborations with the director, Alex K. Lee, that he places strong importance on the look of his films, with a particular emphasis on cinematic camera work. Alex is adamant about the significance of a strong visual implementation, also when story and dialog could easily stand on their own, as was the case in “La Vie Nous Appartient”.

Alex chose a narrative style for this film that is neither documentary nor action-heavy. The mood is dreamy and aesthetic, with a strong focus on the two main characters, but also featuring the breathtaking scenery, which becomes a separate character in the film. Contrary to his usual affinity for dramatic camera movements and quick cuts, Alex chose a deliberately simple camera - hand-held, but steady, allowing the viewer to intimately witness the emotions and perceived reality of the protagonists. The light setting is correspondingly soft and cinematic, but with contrast, almost exclusively using only natural light. The high resolution and special light intensity of the Sony F65, and the cinematic look of the Cooke Movie Lenses make it possible to implement Alex’s vision for Sarah and Philip’s story.




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