Eva is an energetic short horror film that allowed us to put the Panasonic AU-EVA 1 through a variety of extreme lighting set-ups. We recorded to the new Apple ProRes RAW codec on the Atomos Shogun Inferno ahead of editing on FCP X. G-Technology’s new Pro SSD Drives and media were used from camera to final post
In May Televisual took an actor and production crew to the Cotswolds to shoot a short horror film in 4K. As with all Televisual projects we were working with the very latest production tools, this time with a new workflow, and some of the UK’s best production talent. The film, Eva, was all shot in the Cotswolds over four days (and nights) on the grounds of a farmhouse with a gothic aesthetic. Eva is a playful tale with familiar horror overtones of isolation and vulnerability.
The choice of genre was dictated by the latitude it allowed us to shoot a wide variety of set-ups in different light – from bright sunshine to dimly lit interiors and at night working with a specialist light on a drone and a single 1.2K HMI up to 100metres away.
The film was shot at 24p, 4K DCI (4096×2160) for a later UHD delivery retaining the same aspect ratio for an indie film feel.
Cinematographer and longtime collaborator Steve Lawes (of BBC’s Sherlock fame) lead the three-man camera department. Film gaffer, Ossie Jung, contributed an additional layer of lighting expertise.
Helicopter Film Services joined us for the first evening and night where aerial camera operator Jim Swanson, and drone pilot Alan Perrin (both fresh from shooting the new Aladdin film) gave us exquisite drone shots and extraordinary lighting.
Commercials and promos accomplished director and editor Simon Smyth molded a loose script with location, crew and actor in place and within six days (four days on location and two in edit) locked down the fast-paced, visceral film you can see online.
We gave the locked edit to Caspar Kedros and Thom Robson of BMG Production Music who delivered a disturbing, eerie soundscape that perfectly matches the spirit of the film two days later from brief. BMG not only licenses some of the best production music available but also offers music composition and sound design. To be able to hand over the audio work and to get such a terrific initial result with little further intervention made a huge difference and further enabled the fastest of turnarounds.
Clear Cut Pictures’ Graeme Hayes graded the final film from V-Log with a high contrast palette that further articulates what is a densely packed short film as it moves briskly from evening to dark interiors to sunny day to darkest night.
There were a good number of first and early looks within the project and a particularly fast, efficient and elegant workflow from camera to final deliverable.
Panasonic released a new firmware update in March this year where the EVA 1 Super 35mm camera now offers 10bit RAW out at 5.7K and we wanted to put the EVA 1 through the most demanding of tests.
The latest Atomos firmware upgrades now include the option to record the new Apple ProRes RAW codec on to the Shogun Inferno and Sumo monitor/recorders.
G-Technology has just released a new series of “Pro” SSDs (drives) with on location read/write speeds of up to 2,800 MB/s (that means you can copy a terabyte across in seven minutes on set). While their robust Atomos SSDs and ev Reader with Thunderbolt 3 deliver fast recording and media back-ups. Media management has never been as quick. The shoot also allowed us to work with the attractively priced Sigma cine-lenses and the relatively new Stella Pro 5000 drone light.
The keenly priced EVA 1 small form factor Super 35mm camera launched last autumn now includes up to 5.7K RAW out with its latest firmware upgrade (from March this year). The EVA 1’s low weight (1.2kg) made it a perfect camera for the drone that when fully loaded with batteries, lens, Atomos Shogun Inferno, gimbals, remote controls and transmitter max’ed up at just shy of 20kg.
Cinematographer: Steve Lawes (SL) I’ve worked with previous generations of Panasonic cameras like the VariCam Pure and VariCam LT and some of that technology has filtered down to the EVA 1. I like the camera, it’s got a nice form factor and it’s compact – you can always make it bigger, rather than smaller. The fact that the EVA 1 can record up to 240 fp/s in 2K is great for creative options.
One of the important things that cameras at this price point have to offer is RAW recording and high frame rates. They’ve got to cover the bases of what you’d expect from a more expensive, higher spec camera. For the bracket of people who are going to use them, you want those features in a camera with a smaller form factor that’s more affordable and I think Panasonic have done just that.
Director and Editor: Simon Smyth (SS) This camera is designed for indie and documentary filmmakers. We’ve shot all across the range – in some pretty extreme bright locations and virtual darkness – and the camera’s very fast to switch and change. This set-up is designed to do far more fluid, fast turnaround work. We pushed it pretty much as hard as we could. I think this camera for the money it costs [c. £5,165 ex-VAT at time of going to press] is incredible value. You can get an incredible result.
Drone Pilot, Alan Perrin When we received the EVA 1 to rig, I was immediately impressed by its light weight and mass centralisation, a great benefit for aerial use. Mounting the camera gave few issues, even when required to rig the Shogun Inferno on board to allow 4K RAW recording.”
The EVA 1 has an EF mount system that means there are already many widely available lenses. For this film we went with the full range of Sigma cine- lenses and zooms.
SL The Sigma’s come across as really well built lenses designed to work on a film camera. The fast speed of the aperture [T1.5 for the fixed lenses] especially in low light and the range of lenses in the series are very complementary. The build quality is also good and especially so at the price point where a full set of fixed lenses gives you everything you need for the majority of applications.
Atomos & Apple ProRes RAW
Working with Apple, Atomos now includes the option to capture the new ProRes RAW codec on the Shogun Inferno and Sumo19 SSD monitor/recorders. If editing (and mastering) on FCP X the new ProRes RAW codec avoids the need to transcode while retaining the original assets in their native format throughout the post cycle ahead of final mastering – all within the iMac Pro (or a heavily specified Mac).
For Eva we edited the film on FCP X and immediately had natural, good-looking pictures ahead of up-converting the original 4K DCI RAW to ProRes 4444 (XQ) and grading on Baselight with a grade 1 reference monitor. Although FCP X’s Color toolset is perfectly good for many projects, we wanted to see just how far we could push and pull the pictures, particularly for the latter night time sequences at the end of the film.
SS Working with the Atomos system, it’s not like the old days where you’ve got video assist, you’re actually looking at what you’d refer to as your digital negative on set. The recording aesthetic of the ProRes RAW coming from the EVA 1 looks very much like the aesthetic of what 35mm used to back in the day. It’s the look that filmmakers have often strived towards for documentaries and indie film, short films and content for the web and brand films and I think there’s no doubt that with the right operator it’s a great package.
ProLight Direct’s Ossie Jung had shown us some test footage of drone lighting and we were keen to bring it in to a production and a night time chase scene felt like the perfect opportunity.
Gaffer Ossie Jung One of the effects we were trying to achieve with the drone was to create a pool of light on to our star running through the woods. We used the spot lens on the Stella Pro 5000d to create that. I chose this light because its super lightweight at 750g, super powerful and with low power consumption.
G-Technolgy’s New Pro SSD Drives
Bringing a pace that matches the film, leading production storage specialists G-Technology now offers a range of SSD (flash) “Pro” storage that with Thunderbolt 3 have read/write speeds of up to a lightning (!) 2,800 MB/s on location and in post. They gave the project a super-fast, reliable and elegant media workflow from copying across the G-Technology Atomos cards on the “ev” card reader, also with Thunderbolt 3, all the way through to final post.
SS The new G-Tech data transfer system is probably the fastest on-set data transfer system in the world. I think the read/write speeds we were seeing were close to seven minutes a terabyte. We plugged the G-Tech SSD Shuttle in to an iMac Pro running FCP X and the 303 shots [just over 4TB] loaded up within around 15 seconds. We were immediately able to look at everything we shot and review what we had and I was editing the film within about 10 minutes. We had a first cut done within one day and locked by the end of day two. G-Tech have created a way to make that job even easier.
The new workflow – all the way from camera to master – is efficient, fast and elegant. The EVA 1 proved to be a flexible and particularly able camera, especially when considering the price point. The Atomos Shogun Inferno and Sumo19 are also competitively priced and Atomos pack an extraordinary amount of uses in to their monitor/recorders. The speed performance of the G-Technology ev Reader and the new Pro SSDs gave us more time to shoot (and in the pub).
No, you’re not going to shoot the next Netflix drama this way, although the EVA 1 balances well with the VariCam when a lightweight smaller camera is required. The EVA 1 is an excellent choice for good-looking, fast-turn around HD or 4K projects (whether SDR or HDR). We pushed the camera much, much harder than would usually be the case and it stood up to the test.
The EVA 1 and Atomos Shogun Inferno recording ProRes RAW with an FCP X post workflow has much to offer. Add the G-Technology Pro SSDs and you have an exceptionally fast and efficient workflow keeping the native RAW files all the way through post ahead of final mastering.
The EVA 1 with ProRes RAW picture aesthetic is instantly likeable and for most applications has more than enough bit depth, colour and contrast latitude and is easily manipulated in FCP X, where the Color grading tools are effective for most applications. ProRes RAW lacks the malleability and information you might expect to find in a RAW file. But then for the majority of users, they probably wouldn’t want this extra layer of post complexity.
Say storage to most folk and their eyes glaze over, but say you can read and write a terabyte in seven minutes from a portable drive and you instantly have the attention of anyone working in production or post.
The only caveats being that ProRes RAW currently only runs on FCP X and you need USB C ports to get the extraordinary performance of G-Technology’s new Pro SSDs.
The set-up should prove attractive to advertising and digital agencies, brand marketing and corporate production, documentary and indie filmmakers where speed, efficiency and reliability are paramount. It delivers a natural, filmic picture aesthetic and for just about every required final file format. And the cost implications are very attractive too.
At the time of going to press we are about to take the edit in to a further HDR grade to see how the pictures stand up and will report our findings very shortly.
Compact and lightweight at 1.2Kg, the AU-EVA1 is tailor-made for handheld shooting and well-suited for documentaries, events, commercials, and music videos. The 5.7K Super 35mm sensor can capture up to 14-stops of latitude and features Dual Native ISOs of 800 and 2,500 that allow cinematographers to shoot in almost any lighting environment. The EVA 1 records V-Log/V-Gamut to deliver high dynamic range and the colorimetry of the VariCam line. The latest firmware now includes RAW data output (including ProRes RAW recording with Atomos) with compression rates, and offers up to 10-bit 4:2:2, even at 4K resolution.
The G-SPEED SHUTTLE SSD is the ultimate powerhouse for 4K, 8K, VR, HDR and HFR projects. This portable RAID features 8 SSDs with up to 2800 MB/s reads and writes and is ideal for editing multi camera footage directly with the benefit of high speed exports.
The G-DRIVE MOBILE PRO SSD is a portable dynamo for high-res editing on the go. Rugged, drop-proof and crush proof, it’s currently one of the fastest portable storage solutions available.
The G-DRIVE PRO SSD is an enterprise class workhorse designed for intensive daily use and features an exceptional endurance rating of 1 Drive Write per Day.
BMG Production Music
BMG Production Music (part of BMG) has quickly emerged as the biggest new player in the production and custom music businesses for TV, film, radio, games, online and advertising markets. BMG is breaking the boundaries of conventional agencies, publishers and production music companies by collaborating and partnering with their customers and creating new music on a global scale, with local understanding.
In April, Atomos released new firmware upgrades for the popular Shogun Inferno and Sumo19 monitor/recorders that uniquely includes recording to the new Apple ProRes RAW codec via SDI or HDMI (as well as CinemaDNG, ProRes 422 and Dnx). Working with the new ProRes RAW codec within FCP X allows the footage to be retained as a native file format, without the need for transcoding, all the way through to final mastering.
Sigma offers a comprehensive range of full frame, high-speed lenses from 14mm to 135mm and covers T1.5 to T2 as E, EF and PL mounts that meet the demands that professional movie creation requires. The Sigma High Speed Zoom line also offers outstanding optical performance with both the 18-35mm and 50-100mm at T2 throughout the focal lengths. Both the fixed and cine-zoom lenses are keenly priced.
Helicopter Film Services
Helicopter Film Services, Europe’s leading aerial filming provider, is celebrating its 25th year having been involved in hundreds of feature films, TV dramas and commercials. Widely-recognised for innovation in aerial filming with drones and helicopters, HFS offers a wide range of options to give film-makers what they need, regardless of budget – from IMAX to multi-camera array, or a simple cost-effective drone solution.
Stella Pro Lights by Light & Motion
Light and Motion’s rain proof Stella Pro Lights are ideal for drones. At 750g the Stella 10,000 produces 10,000 lumens of totally even light with 3 beam angle options of 120-50-25 degrees, producing more light per gram with more options than any other fixture on the market. The Stella 8000 as an option has its own internal battery (with 60mins run time).
Since joining forces with root6 in 2017, Jigsaw24’s team has gone from strength to strength. Their extensive portfolio of solutions and services supports each stage of the creative workflow, as well as the infrastructure that makes it all possible. They are proud to be the first choice for broadcasters, post-production houses, audio facilities, creative agencies, universities, and many more.