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

Index

The workflow

Concerned about the volume of data, we considered filming only in HD (also possible with the F65), since an HD output for the DCP would suffice for a movie like ours - it’s not an action flick, anyway. However, we did film up to 4K on some occasions because we wanted to retain as much information as possible for later colour grading and possible visual effects.

While this meant A LOT OF hard drives, the F65 workflow manages to save on other ends: First of all, it doesn’t require an expensive DIT on set, such as for other cameras; the data wrangler can be a smart, trustworthy assistant, since importing the files is pretty straight forward as soon as the appropriate settings are in place, as is any further processing of the material, both for HD, as well as for 2K or 4K.

 

LVNA_BS_06.jpg

 

The workflow is simple for HD. A Quicktime plug-in can be downloaded from the Sony website which makes it possible to view the videos immediately. When shooting in 12bit HD, the image gets converted down from 8K to HD, thereby decreasing grain in low light situations, required in some scenes of our film. We edited on Final Cut Pro 7, which worked well, since the clips are compatible and can be edited directly.

For 2K and 4K shots, the workflow is a bit more complicated and requires raw computing power. Via the F65 RAW VIEWER, the footage is first converted into DPX, after which it can be converted by a number of professional softwares. We used Da Vinci Resolve for the colour grading, which will work with the footage natively. The colour grading was particularly rewarding because all the information in the data allows you to move into any direction you may want to go, even for the simple HD material. In general, the F65 material is pleasant to work with, despite the huge amounts of data produced.

Final words

Using a high-end camera of any kind will put a strain on the budget. In our case, it was possible due to the goodwill of our DOP and the equipment rental, offering us a special deal. In the end, the greatness of a movie depends on many factors, and while the choice of camera is important, it cannot guarantee the movie’s success, or even it being any good at all. But if you do decide to make room in the budget for a high-end camera, then the F65 is a good choice also for smaller independent films.

We completed “La Vie Nous Appartient” just a few weeks ago, and it looks great! This may of course be somewhat subjective, but we are nevertheless very proud, and also feel reassured by festival responses so far. At the end of November we had the honour of premiering at the Gijón International Film Festival in Spain, next to an amazing selection of films. We screened in front of large adult and teen audiences, both of which received us with thundering applause and great reviews. A truly humbling experience!

 

Watch part 1 of the Behind The Scenes video after the break



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