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Sci-Fi Short Shoots Anamorphic On 16:9 Sensor

Sci-Fi Short Shoots Anamorphic On 16:9 Sensor

Shooting anamorphic with KOWA anamorphic lenses and a 16:9 widescreen camera is an unusual combination but it proved the perfect technical and aesthetic choice for a futuristic short film about the side-effects of cosmetics for Met Film School graduates Tomas Posada and Florian Thess.

Director Thess’ story Allure, written by Tom Van Overloop and lensed by Posada, is set in 2025 and concerns the dilemma faced by a social media influencer when she learns the truth behind the make-up products she is promoting.

One of the filmmaker’s main influences was Netflix series Black Mirror which satires the dangers of our reliance on immersive technology and internet communications in the near future.

“Our first choice for camera was the Canon C500 because it has a very digital, clean look which would lend the film a sharpness to fit with a story based around technology,” explains Posada. “We also wanted to shoot anamorphic because the distortion correlated with the disturbing theme and we felt this mixed well with the film’s high colour contrast. We needed to be very orange and yellow across people’s faces with blues in the background.”

Having never shot anamorphic before, Posada spent at day with VMI testing how different focal lengths and spherical lenses would perform with the C500.

“I wanted to be sure that the combination of the Canon with the Odyssey 7Q recorder and the KOWAs would actually work,” he says.

Anamorphic lenses are conventionally shot on a 4:3 sensor but since the C500 has a 16:9 sensor the filmmakers need a way to way to monitor what they were shooting. This was made possible by the anamorphic function of the Odyssey 7Q recorder which enables a simultaneous crop and desqueeze function from the 4K DCI output of the Canon C500. 

To give the film an even more cinematic feel, Posada planned to use a wide aspect ratio and tested a range of settings at VMI.  “We were originally going to go with 2:35:1 cinemascope but after testing decided that the more extreme 2.76:1 was more suitable for the story’s futuristic milieu.”

Alongside the C500, KOWA set and Odyssey the filmmakers rented a DJI Ronin gimbal from VMI.

“Once we were clear that the film’s style would be clean and smooth then the shakiness of handheld just wasn’t going to fit. I know Barry and the team will always help me with any issue or concern we have about shooting and they always give advice as to how best to proceed with the kit. VMI was also one of the few places I’ve seen with the C500 in stock.”

The three day shoot principally at a London hotel went very smoothly, reports Posada who is about to grade the short on Davinci Resolve. “The only mild hiccup is that the files from the Odyssey were large so it’s taken a longer time to transcode than we realised but we’ve already tested footage from the Canon and I know it will give us a lot of options in the grade.”

The 12-minute film will premiere in November at the Westfield Vue before heading to festivals worldwide.

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