Masters Project “Indonesian Cooking Program”

Indonesian Cooking

Indonesian Cooking Program

For this Masters Project, which is going to be a Pilot/Episode one of a webseries of Indonesian Cooking programs I was tasked as the Cinematographer/DOP to setup three locations, the first for an Interview and the second for the actual cooking show and finally in the Dining area.

Day One “Interview and Slider shots”vlc-00120

For the interview I used a Cinelight Lighting Kit with the 850W fitted with a softbox. I stepped slightly away from the standard 3 point lighting setup by using the natural light coming through the large windows as the fill light. The Director Hazlin wanted a shallow depth of field so I brought the subject position forward away from the walls and setup the camera (Panasonic AF101) with a wide aperture (Voigtlander 25mm F0.95). Pradeep as camera assistant operated the Panasonic for the interview while I setup the kitchen location.Indonesian Cooking Show Ingredients

For the cooking show I used a similar lighting setup to work in conjunction with the kitchens Halogen lighting and worksurface spotlights. My main light that is Keylight was the 650W fitted with a Softbox and for the backlight I added a diffuser to reduce the level. Again for the fill light I used natural lighting coming through a side door. While the interview was being conducted I setup to film some of the ingredients that would be used in this days cooking. Using a Canon 5D MKII and a slider I filmed the ingredients displayed on large plates sliding the camera from left to right making 3 passes for each and a static shot for coverage. I’d fitted the Canon 5D with a Macro lens.Indonesian Cooking Program Egg and Fork

For that days filming in the kitchen area I setup the Panasonic AF101 to cover the main cooking area and facing directly at the Chef. During the actual cooking I used the Canon 5D to follow the action and take close ups of the food being cooked and the ingredients being added. For this I used the Canon hand held without a rig or follow focus again fitted with the Macro lens.

Day Two “Cooking and Sliding”Indonesian Cooking Program tomatos

Day two started from where day one finished with more filming of ingredients using the Canon 5D on the slider but with a difference. I positioned the slider so that it straddled 2 worktops and then positioned the ingredients on a temporary platform below. With the Camera swivelled 90 degrees facing down I made 3 passes to give a different perspective to the previous days footage. While doing this I noticed that the Canon 24mm to 105mm Zoom would Zoom in under it’s own weight in a perfectly smooth motion, which I used instead of the static shots for each of the sequences of the ingredients.Indonesian Cooking Program radishes

While checking the footage from the previous day I felt that the Macro was being overused with the depth of field being just that too bit shallow so I switched it out for day two and used the Zoom instead. Again I filmed the cooking sequences from a variety of positions to make sure I had lots of coverage for the Editor to use as cutaways and for close-ups of the cooked food and the cooking processes.

For coverage the Panasonic AF101 this time operated by Dimitriois was again positioned where I’d located it the previous day, to cover the Chef mainly for mid shots and wide shots.

Day Two “Fine Dining”Indonesian Cooking Program coming together

Finally at the end of the day we relocated to setup in a Dining area. I felt we could have done with at least 1 more light for this location but none where available so again I had to use the natural light coming through the windows as fill lights and used the main, key light again fitted with a softbox. I didn’t use a backlight as such but used 2 lights as fill lights from the other side of the room to remove shadows from the diners faces who had their backs to the windows. I showed the Director how to work the Panasonic for the coverage shots required from 2 locations while I again used the Canon 5D handheld to film closeups from multiple angles and locations within the room.

It’s a wrap.

Upon ReflectionIndonesian Cooking Program Rasa Sayang

Filming in this environment was very challenging. Surfaces were reflective and difficult to light well. For example you need to be able to light for the Chef but also for the ingredients and the cooking process without too many compromises. I also felt colour would be very important and for that reason used the Canon on the Faithful picture style rather than a cinestyle or flat option.

I was one diffused light short for this project and it’s need was felt in all three locations and without the benefit of good natural light the results would not have been anywhere near as good as they are.

Masters Project RED Epic “Kick Boxing”

RED Epick Kick Boxing

RED Epic kick boxing

The final film RED Epic “Kick Boxing”

(Video features as the Red Scarved Femme Fatal, Beatriz Delgado Mena)

In the video above is highly compressed and slightly soft we get to see the slow motion abilities of the camera. Please note the actual footage is only 2K at 320 fps 5K at 25fps.

RED Epic and “Kick Boxing”RED Epic

A University Masterclass for the RED Epic presented me with the opportunity to work with a team on a short film that was going to be used as a pilot of a webseries or the first episode in a webseries on Malaysian style martial arts. The pilot which we called “Kick Boxing” in pre-production and Directed by Hazlin.

First we identified a location for the shoot, which seemed ideal as it could be imminently believable to have existed anywhere in the world. With a backdrop of shipping containers the action was centralised and the camera positioned such that field of view was constrained within this area to maintain the belief that this action was happening somewhere much more exotic than the University car park.

For the first sequences I tripod mounted the camera using the camera loose head following the action as the combatants sized each other up and then proceeded to battle with each other. The camera was moved and the sequence shot again from the new angles.RED Epic on location

The camera was dismounted from the tripod and transferred to a shoulder rig. I was ably assisted by Dimitrios who took on the duties of camera assistant for the shooting of the close action scenes.

All the sequences up to this time was shot at 5K RAW and at 25 fps. For the next sequences I changed the menu settings to capture at 2K RAW and 320 fps in order to explore the slow motion abilities of the RED Epic. The later sequences where all shot with these settings although the camera was once again tripod mounted.

RED Epic Reflection

The RED Epic is an awesome camera if we look at the specifications but I found it deeply flawed, fully rigged it is heavy and I mean really heavy. Focussing is a nightmare at 5K, get it wrong which is really easy to do and you may as well have shot the film on a DSLR (We got it wrong on occasion even though I was being double checked by a remote monitor).RED Epic rigged

This brings me onto lens choice. For this masterclass we were limited to a small range of Nikon DSLR lenses and although they perform well on DSLR’s and some filmmakers like the look of old glass, when combined with the specification of the RED Epic’s 5K RAW then the resolution of the glass has to match and these lenses just didn’t. So the final footage is really no better than had I shot the film using a DSLR or Panasonic AG AF101 which would be typical options.

The workflow for handling RAW footage is also challenge, just a few minutes of actual usable footage used 169Gb of hard drive space taking 2 hours plus to transfer from the cameras SSD to a PC.

The saving grace of using the RED Epic was it’s ability to shoot at 320 fps.

RED Epic ConclusionRED Epic focussing

I’d wanted access to a camera like this for a long time, in fact I believed all the hype that you must shoot all your projects in 4K RAW otherwise the quality of your work would just not be up to the standard of current filmmakers. Reality was so different, the camera was a pain to use because of it weight, rigging it before shooting takes an age and the workflow, well lets just say I’m happy for the DIT and Editor to manage this.

However I’m sure on a film set and fully crewed these problems are surmountable but for a filmmaker like me this could be a compromise too far to make. The Canon C300 is much more user friendly and image quality in the real world is easily comparable.