The First Musketeer


Neil Oseman TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Neil Oseman
Issue 91 - July 2014

Based on The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, The First Musketeer is a brand new take on this famous adventure. Written and directed by Harriet Sams, director of photography Neil Oseman takes us behind the lens of this new gritty six part mini drama shot on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

Set in the South of France, The First Musketeer is an origin story which explores the early lives of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, many years before they meet DArtagnan, reveals Neil. One of the reasons Harriet chose to film here, aside from the stunning locations, is the richness of colour you get from the natural light. A lot of films in the UK favour very cold colours, that come from our grey skies and generally poor weather, and often produce a washed-out, urban effect. This was something Harriet wanted to avoid.

When I initially got a hold of the script, I skipped over the scene headings, something I have always done when reading any script for the first time. What struck me first was just how much was going on in the shadows, figuratively that is. I felt large parts of the script really lent themselves to being shot at night, explains Neil. It was only after rereading the script that I realised many of those scenes were actually set during the day. I spoke with Harriet and after some discussion we agreed that the story could be made even better by moving certain scenes from day to night.

Our decision to film on the 2.5K Blackmagic Cinema Camera was taken about a week before the production team travelled, according to Neil. Having taken the decision to do more filming at night, we felt that the cameras 13 stops of dynamic range would really come in to its own during post.

For example, in one shot two of the cast are stood close together in an embrace. Milady de Winters face is lit entirely by bounce from Athos white shirt, which the Blackmagic Cinema Camera was sensitive enough to pick up. Had we filmed on a camera with less dynamic range, we would need to have put in a reflector or a little Kino Flo to achieve the same result. When I sat in on the grade with Encore Post colorist Will Coker, there was just so much extra detail in there to play around with.
In another scene, there is an archway that Milady de Winter has to walk under and she was going into complete darkness. We wanted to see a little bit of something, so I put in a Kino Flo on the floor, added a lot of diffuser on it and we were just able to bring her slightly out of the shadows without it really looking like shed been lit at all. It was just enough that she didnt look like a complete silhouette. And that was a subtlety that we couldnt have achieved had we been using a DSLR.

After arriving on location, we had a day to familiarise ourselves and get the camera rigged up. Harriet had wanted to shoot RAW, however after some initial testing, our DIT did the math and we quickly realised this would be too cost prohibitive, so we opted to shoot in ProRes. Working on micro-budget productions like this you have to decide which battles you are going to fight. And in this instance our priority had to be investing in a good lighting setup, especially with the series relying so heavily on candlelight.

That meant getting creative, explains Neil. We had to fake all of our candlelight by using these mock candles made up of real wax and a flickering LED. At times these werent sufficient so wed also have to set up Dedos or hide 100 Watt bubbles behind props such as candle arbors. We then had our colourist massage those shots in instances where the light was too bright to ensure it looked as natural as possible.

When prepping for night scenes, there was an element of trial and error when it came to rigging up our lighting. Setting up during the day meant we had to imagine what it would look like once the sun went down. Had we shot with a DSLR, you might have found that everything was in the right place, but one was too hot while another was too dark. This would have been difficult to correct for in post. However, filming on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera meant that I knew we could turn them all on and that everything would be in the right range to get an exposure that was workable.

www.firstmusketeer.com


Tags: iss091 | musketeer | blackmagic design | Neil Oseman
Contributing Author Neil Oseman

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
  • Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019: New Atem Mini

    Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019: New Atem Mini

  • Blackmagic Design 2500NIT HDR Video Assist 126 with BRAW Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019

    Blackmagic Design 2500NIT HDR Video Assist 126 with BRAW Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

    Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Design Ultimatte at IBC 2017

    Blackmagic Design Ultimatte at IBC 2017

  • Blackmagic Design Resolve 14, ATEM, URSA Mini PRo and more from IBC 2017

    Blackmagic Design Resolve 14, ATEM, URSA Mini PRo and more from IBC 2017

  • ATEM TV Studio Pro HD from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

    ATEM TV Studio Pro HD from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

  • Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

    Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

  • Blackmagic Design at IBC 2016

    Blackmagic Design at IBC 2016

  • Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

    Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

    Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

  • Blackmagic Design at NAB 2012

    Blackmagic Design at NAB 2012

  • Blackmagic ATEM Constellation 8k at NAB 2019

    Blackmagic ATEM Constellation 8k at NAB 2019

  • Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 16 at NAB 2019

    Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 16 at NAB 2019

  • Blackmagic introduces Blackmagic RAW (BRAW) at IBC 2018

    Blackmagic introduces Blackmagic RAW (BRAW) at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic Davinci Resolve 15 at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic Davinci Resolve 15 at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic MultiView at IBC 2014

    Blackmagic MultiView at IBC 2014

  • Blackmagic and Fusion at IBC 2014

    Blackmagic and Fusion at IBC 2014

  • Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

  • Autodesk at NAB 2013

    Autodesk at NAB 2013

  • Holdan and DaVinci at BVE North 2011

    Holdan and DaVinci at BVE North 2011

  • Blackmagic at IBC2011

    Blackmagic at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • Day 1 of BroadcastShow at IBC

    Day 1 of BroadcastShow at IBC


Articles
Why MADI is Still Relevant
Stephen Brownsill While the original idea for MADI was to cater to a very narrow recording studio application, the standard remains a viable go-to multichannel audio technology. Beginning as a standard in 1991, MADI was first introduced to the world as digital production was beginning to come of age. MADI was put together in 1988 by Solid State Logic, AMS-Neve, Sony (DASH) and Mitsubishi (ProDigi) as a way to transport up to 56 channels of digital audio between large-format audio consoles of the day and digital multi-channel tape machines via 75-Ohm coaxial cables. Both tape-based machines have long since disappeared from the equipment landscape.
Tags: iss139 | madi | tsl products | aes10 | aes | dolby atmos | st-2110 | sam-q | Stephen Brownsill
Contributing Author Stephen Brownsill Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation - Getting Connected
Dick Hobbs - new We are all familiar with statistics about the growth of the internet. Cisco’s latest report, for instance, says that global IP traffic is increasing at 26% a year, and will reach 4.8 zetabytes a year by 2022. The number of connected devices will be three times the world’s population by the same date.
Tags: iss139 | cisco | kth | clickclean | ibc | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
REVIEW Canon UJ111x8_3B UHD Lens
Andy McKenzie Shooting in ultra high definition and high dynamic range has become the preferred option for all television productions with a potentially long commercial life. The hir-ing charge and indeed the outright purchase cost of cameras of this standard are not significantly greater than those of high definition standard dynamic range models. With half the world's news reporters now able to capture UHD video on their mobile phones, why give the production crews anything less?
Tags: iss139 | canon review | uj111x8 review | lens | zoom | digisuper | uj90x9b | hdtv | ccu | Andy McKenzie
Contributing Author Andy McKenzie Click to read or download PDF
The Making of Zero
Keith and David Lynch

The Brothers Lynch explain how they created the sinister atmospheric world for their new sci-fi short

In a post-apocalyptic world where humankind has emerged victorious in a war against artificial intelligent machines, a young girl dares to venture into the unknown. This is Zero, the new sci-fi short film from acclaimed British writer-director duo The Brothers Lynch which has premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Tags: iss139 | blackmagic design | davinci resolve | editing | grading | grade | mk2 zeiss | superspeeds | cinema 4d | molinaire | Keith and David Lynch
Contributing Author Keith and David Lynch Click to read or download PDF
To Remotely Go - TVFutures
Michael Parsons One of my biggest concerns as an academic responsible for the education of hundreds of students is the ‘appropriateness’ of much of the technology we purchase and implement within the curriculum. The last few years have seen tremendous change in all sorts of technologies, and the broadcast industry is just one sector that has seen some significant leaps in innovation.
Tags: iss139 | university | portsmouth | graduation | guildhall | newtek | streaming | pxw-fs7 | ndi | ip | ndihx ptz camera | Michael Parsons
Contributing Author Michael Parsons Click to read or download PDF