A cinematic makeover with Blackmagic Design


TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
With the announcement of Blackmagic Cinema Camera at NAB 2012, Mark Linnhoff, a France based cinematographer, began to see the future of filmmaking in a new light. “Finally, an affordable acquisition tool that doesn’t compromise on image quality,” he recalled.
When I got the camera, I carried out some tests with a series of Carl Zeiss ZF.2 and Nikkor AI-S lenses. The image quality was stunning,” said Linnhoff. “I was so impressed with how sharp the image was, the level of detail in both the shadows and the highlights and the great colors and skin tones. Truly cinematic.”
Linnhoff had for sometime wanted to shoot a narrative music video. Armed with his Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF, he approached 22 year old dubstep producer and friend, Broad Rush, about a possible collaboration. After some discussion, the pair settled on the idea of Linnhoff producing and directing a music video for “Don’t Stop.”
Greater Latitude and Control
It took several weeks from the initial concept to find a suitable location [the baths of Soultzbach] and to assemble the cast. Conditions during the two day shoot couldn’t have been better according to Linnhoff. “It was cold, wet and cloudy during the shoot. Perfect weather really for creating the oppressive atmosphere I wanted. It even helped to get the actors in the right mood,” he revealed.
The narrative tells the story of a young man trying in vain to escape from his insane family. “I wanted to create a feeling of insanity and imprisonment, devoid of any life,” said Linnhoff. “To achieve that, I required the story, its characters and the location to all work as one.”
According to Linnhoff, when rigging Blackmagic Cinema Camera, there are plenty of options available using third party accessories. “I chose to use the Bebob shoulder rig. Lens wise we filmed using a mixture of Carl Zeiss CP.2, Tokina and Nikkor AI-S lenses, while a TV Logic Monitor was used for scopes.”
The music video was shot in RAW allowing Linnhoff to fully exploit the camera’s 13 stops of dynamic range. “Blackmagic Cinema Camera is an amazing tool, much more precise and flexible than DSLRs I've worked with in the past thanks to its high dynamic range, high bit depth and RAW shooting capabilities. The latter makes a big difference during post, as you have so much more control and latitude,” he said.
According to Linnhoff, some parts of “Don't Stop” had been written down and fixed in advance. However, he willingly improvised on many of the sequences, as it added more expression to the storyline. Linnhoff knew that the technical possibilities of Blackmagic’s Cinema Camera and the tools in post, including DaVinci Resolve color correction , are well suited to this particular way of working.
Situated in a valley and surrounded by high trees, the light was constantly diffuse and soft. Because of that, we didn’t need much in the way of artificial lighting, just some reflectors indoors, several Fresnels and a Kino Flo. The makeup artist also did a great job of adding fine details to the characters’ faces. I knew shooting RAW would allow more precise adjustments during the grade in Resolve, such as scars and circles around the eyes,” he said.
Creativity Knows No Boundaries
Prior to beginning the shoot, Linnhoff spent some time considering the grading process. Before the arrival of his camera, Linnhoff spent several weeks familiarizing himself with DaVinci Resolve Lite using online video tutorials. This, according to Linnhoff, is an important step for anyone not familiar with a RAW workflow.
Knowing what was possible through Resolve allowed Linnhoff to make certain judgement calls during the shoot, in particular, around the lighting of specific scenes. The second scene was especially difficult to light well he revealed, particularly the girl who stood in front of a mirror. Short on time and lacking space for setting up lights, Linnhoff underexposed the shot knowing he could correct it in Resolve.
We had a dolly moving back with a strong counter light coming from the window. We were in a rush and decided to get her a bit underexposed. I could easily heighten the exposition of the girl’s area by tracking her and adding a matte. When the boy crossed her in the foreground, I simply added a mask to cancel the correction on the girl’s area,” he said.
During the grade, Linnhoff made fine adjustments by setting his exposure, contrast and RGB balance. “I didn't add much saturation to the original look, and my goal was to track and showcase my characters using mattes and adding sharpness to some specific details, including facial details. I could easily desaturate some colors in specific areas,” he said.
I'm still impressed to see how well the tracking feature works in Resolve, even for fast movements. I find the software very complete and intuitive. To get the full Resolve license with the camera is great.
Owning a tool like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera pushes me to go further and be more creative,” explained Linnhoff. “The freedom and independence I now have means my creativity knows no boundaries.”

Tags: iss078 | blackmagic cinema camera | case study | mark linnhoff | carl zeiss | cp.2 | tonika | tv logic monitor | bebob shoulder rig | shooting | broad rush | music video | shoot | dont stop | filming | on set | Mark Linnhoff
Contributing Author Mark Linnhoff

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • BeSteady on the Production Gear stand at BVE 2014

    BeSteady on the Production Gear stand at BVE 2014

  • Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

    Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

  • Featured Clip: Geoff Boyle comments on NAB 2012

    Featured Clip: Geoff Boyle comments on NAB 2012

  • Carl Zeiss on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Carl Zeiss on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Real Life Kit at ProVideo2011

    Real Life Kit at ProVideo2011

  • KitPlus filming rig used at NAB 2017

    KitPlus filming rig used at NAB 2017

  • KitPlus filming rig used at BVE 2017

    KitPlus filming rig used at BVE 2017

  • Filming kit review from NAB

    Filming kit review from NAB

  • Polecam Antelope Pico at IBC 2014

    Polecam Antelope Pico at IBC 2014

  • DJI Innovations at BVE 2013

    DJI Innovations at BVE 2013


Related Shows
  • JOBY GorillaPod Vlogging Kit reviewed

    JOBY GorillaPod Vlogging Kit reviewed


Articles
Cloud integration: The only way is up
Francois Vaillant

In 2017 we saw the introduction of SMPTE 2110 and since then, the transition to IP has emerged as a priority for broadcasters looking to streamline their operations, decrease their footprint and effectively integrate with an industry in a rapid state of flux. A 2020 survey by Devoncroft found that almost 20% of broadcasters had already deployed SMPTE 2110, and over 25% were planning to do so. Then came the pandemic, precipitating the need for on-the-fly collaboration and accelerating the transition to remote, virtual and cloud production.

Tags: dejero | smpte 2110 | dazzl | streaming | Francois Vaillant
Contributing Author Francois Vaillant Click to read
The Cloud - a measured approach
Ciaran Doran

With the buzz of ‘cloud’ everywhere in our industry it would be natural to think that cloud is the only game in town. Isn’t it time to step back and consider very carefully how, or whether, you make that journey to the cloud?

Tags: cloud | rohde and schwarz | rohde | schwarz | Ciaran Doran
Contributing Author Ciaran Doran Click to read
Meeting the specification
Chris Smeeton

A good technical specification will detail precisely what is required, from the equipment to the cables connecting it. Many specifications will give  particular manufacturers and model numbers. On many occasions, this makes tendering simple and gives vendors a secure and fair way to bid.

Tags: CPR specification | argosy cable | fire safe cable | eu standard cable | chris smeeton | Chris Smeeton
Contributing Author Chris Smeeton Click to read
Avid and Rohde & Schwarz
Ciaran Doran

Rohde & Schwarz is the perfect ingest partner to build flexible workflows with Avid.

Tags: Rohde and Schwarz | avid | spycernode | editing | asset management | venice | Ciaran Doran
Contributing Author Ciaran Doran Click to read
Sennheiser MKE 400 hands on review and test
KitPlus

Sennheiser have just released two products aimed at simplifying audio on the move, the MKE400 shotgun microphone and the XS Lav Mic, in this review we’re looking at the MKE400.

Tags: sennheiser mke400 | sennheiser mke 400 | sennheiser mke 400 quality | best microphones for youtube | mic for youtube videos | sennheiser mke 400 hands on | microphone review | iphone videography | microphones | sound for video | camera microphone | microphone for iphone | microphone for youtube | video microphone | shotgun mics | smartphone microphone | vlogging mic | best microphone for video | shotgun microphone review | mke 400 | sennheiser mke 400 hands on review | sennheiser mke 400 test | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read