What were the biggest challenges?
One of the challenges was the inaccessibility of the locations. Both working on a remote island and the treacherously rocky beaches forced us to seek for innovative ways to capture this movie. We found out that the usual methodes would not suffice. Most of the locations were only accessible with ATV’s and smaller vans. So we had to adapt to the circumstances. Fortunately the genny could come as close as one hundred meters, but the content of two lighting trucks had to be transferred to the set by ATV’s and trailers from a kilometer away.
Actress Carré Albers & Actor Achraf Koutet
Which technical and artistic requirements led you to try and choose our lenses?
In the first half of the movie, we’re switching styles because Rutger, the director of the TV-show, interrupts every now and then. Artistically, I didn’t want to inform the audience beforehand about an upcoming switch to behind-the-scenes (BTS), but I did want to convey that there are two realities at play: the TV show and BTS. In collaboration with director Erwin van den Eshof, we decided to present this movie in three styles: ‘Behind the Scenes,’ which is always shot from a gimbal using wide angled lenses, ‘the TV show,’ which is captured with sticks, a slider, and a zoom lens, and from the storm scene onwards, everything is shot handheld with prime lenses. These styles were partly influenced by the shooting locations. Shooting the entire film with a track would have been a disaster due to the unevenness of these sharp and rocky beaches. That’s when I suggested using the Freefly Movi Pro. Technically, this led to the inevitable choice of the Sony Venice combined with the Rialto. Since the Venice is a full-frame camera, I requested the Angenieux Ultra 12x lens to shoot the TV-style. I aimed to create a relaxed look for the eye, with slightly softer contrast, deep shadows, and smooth highlights. I wanted to give the TV show a similar look to the movie, to mask the upcoming interruptions, but also because TV shows became prettier to the eye over the last decade. Additionally, I knew I needed this range for some heavy crash zooms that I implemented after learning that the director wanted to use whip pans. This lens covers it all! Then, I aimed for primes with the least amount of flare. So, I requested the Arri Signatures. Initially, they were the perfect choice for my needs, but I realized they would give away the reality we were in. Camera Rentals Amsterdam suggested the Optimo Primes, which turned out to be the perfect match, and the wider lenses barely produce any flare.
How did the Primes match with the zoom, or vice versa? Was the combination of both zoom & Primes a good option?
I shot all the exterior daylight scenes at T4.0. Not only to match the Ultra 12x, but also because I knew this movie will be shown at the cinema’s first before it get published on Amazon Prime. So to get a true comparison, it’s definitely worth to have a close look at the original footage. Since I didn’t see any footage on a big screen, I don’t have the answer yet. But watching the dailies on my computer, I know the audience won’t see which shot is created with a fixed zoom, or prime lens.
How did the Optimo Primes match with your technical requirements?
As I believed that weight would help me to hide my shaky hands, I am accustomed to shoot handheld with heavier setups. 2nd AC, Radoi Nikolov, skillfully balanced the camera like I had never experienced before. With his help, I felt surprisingly comfortable shooting handheld with the lighter weight of the Optimo Primes. It was a revelation in such a way that I dared to shoot handheld with the Rialto on the fight scene on deck of a small fishing vessel where space was incredibly limited. It seemed impossible to capture the intensity between Achraf Koutet, Carré Albers, and Niels Oosthoek with a regular setup. Guiding me through the chaotic setting was Key Grip Jelle van der Weiden. He worked tirelessly to guide the extension cable over our heads, ensuring that I could move freely from one point of the deck to another. His efforts were invaluable in helping me capture the shots that truly conveyed the intensity of the fight. I was literally hanging over board; almost blindly shooting parts of this scene as Jelle tried his outmost best to guide the extension cable over our heads from one point of the deck to the next. I hope that the audience experiences the intensity of this fight as it was for us to capture it.
On a technical point of view, how did the lenses behave (Zoom & Primes)?
In all honesty, I must admit that I didn’t take the opportunity to personally assess the breathing characteristics or the consistency of the zoom lens throughout its entire range on a grey card, nor a checkerboard. Instead, I turned to the expertise of talented individuals who had created insightful technical videos exploring these specific aspects of the Angenieux Optimo primes. I have worked with the Optimo 24-290 multiple times before, so I had a complete trust in the Ultra 12x zoom upfront already. I did some research on the characteristics of the lens by watching films that were shot on these lenses, and I delved into the videos of the primes shared by experienced professionals. Through their detailed analysis and tests, they provided a comprehensive understanding of how these lenses perform in terms of breathing and such. During my own shoot, I focused my attention on the lens itself, keenly observing any potential distractions that might hinder my creative process. To my delight, I found myself utterly engrossed in the filmmaking experience, devoid of any disruptive incidents or technical issues. The Angenieux Optimo primes seamlessly integrated with my chosen setup, allowing me to capture the desired shots effortlessly. Despite not personally scrutinizing every technical nuance, I am grateful for the remarkable performance of the Angenieux Optimo primes and the Ultra 12x zoom.
Actor Tom van Kessel & Actor Niels Oosthoek
Photo courtesy: Jelle Van Der Weiden / Jacco Brummel / Edward Van’t Wout