- ISO5000 and IR Recording: Bizarre Theme shot as Fantasy -

HOTSHOT#5 Takahiro HAIBARA J.S.C. (Cinematographer) / Ryoichi HIROSE (Colorist)

Takahiro HAIBARA J.S.C. (Cinematographer)
Ryoichi HIROSE (Colorist)
“Sunny/32” is a new film directed by Kazuya SHIRAISHI, who also wrote the original script, and will be released on February 2018. A suspenseful story that begins with kidnaping and confinement of Akari FUJII (Rie KITAHARA, a former NGT48 member, stars as a middle school teacher), is developed by a number of eccentric casts in a theme of children’s murder: a film tells us human’s weakness and strength and even the danger of the Internet society. The principle photography was done in heavy snow at Niigata, Japan during February 2nd through 19th, 2017. Because of extremely cold weather and a lot of shots everyday, Mr. HAIBARA, a DP, chose VARICAM LT, which allowed him to shoot ISO5000 and IR recording.


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The reason of choosing VARICAM LT

HAIBARA: VARICAM’s high sensitive ISO5000 is very useful. This is my first time to shoot a film with VARICAM, but I got impressed at the camera, which can handle various different scenes with bigger tone curve made by lots of data under 12bit depth even though some people have a biased view against crisp picture tone of the camera. I know VARICAM could be a best high sensitive camera in the dark, which allowed me to get all shots with high ISO in difficult circumstances like a shore where I didn’t have enough time to set up lights. Especially at night and on set, I used ISO5000 mostly. Sometimes I even used ISO10000, which is a quite limit of the camera.

Normal look with a LUT for IR recording

HAIBARA: I made a Look Up Table (LUT) for IR recording. The color temperature is 2800K and the LUT looks neutral in low ISO. So, the audience may be confused which scenes I used IR recording when he/she sees the movie. All flashback scenes had been shot with IR recording and 4K resolution except for High Speed shots. IR recording is so effective for red color of blood and red school backpack of a kid. I believe the potential of IR recording, especially combined with some filters although you cannot use it all the time.

Not sensor but organic film noise of V-Log

HIROSE: I used DaVinci Resolve in a color grading room at Nikkatsu Studio, used to be a projecting room a while ago. I’ve compared some other footage under high ISO (5000 and 10000) and found V-Log had more space for color grading. While bringing up color and ISO in DaVinci, I was impressed with the organic film noise of V-Log footage compared to digital noise from sensor of other cameras. Since it’s a noise like a film grain, noise reduction in DaVinci works great and looks more natural.

Canon K-35 lens creates fantasy

HAIBARA: The story of film is about a child’s murder and contains quite many violent scenes, so I thought shooting as documentary would be boring because it looks too realistically. I aimed more fantasy feeling and picked Canon K-35 lenses, which are vintage and made in around 1970s. The coating of K-35 lenses provides yellowish and vintage/classic (soft) look. I wanted to create fantasy feeling by using the K-35 lenses with the unique look of VARICAM LT made by ISO5000 and IR recording. K-35 produced special look of sunray and flare.

Potential of IR Recording

HAIBARA: I recorded in 4K and ISO800 for most parts of film, including a scene with IR recording except for Slow Motion scenes. I often used 72fps or 96fps (3 or 4 times faster frame than 24fps), which is Full HD recording but nicely matches the rest of 4K shots. I’ve been shooting Black & White IR Photography as a hobby, which gave me an idea that IR works mostly on the green color of trees turned to white. This time I found out the red color affected as well. Personally I had been interested in pulling out IR cut filter in VARICAM LT. During a camera test I imagined that adding colored filters with it would show a different result. IR recording should have more potential for special occasion. It would create more interesting tone if VARICAM LT had a filter space between lens and camera sensor.

HIROSE: I did not color grade that much for IR recording scenes. Compared to a camera test, we had many red color materials such as fake blood in actual shooting, so the effectiveness of IR shooting seemed to stand out. In this movie you will see quite soft/pastel tone for overall scenes, but I would be interested in using IR recording with high contrast images in the future.

Fusion of analogue and digital

HIROSE: Nowadays there is not much different between 35mm film and digital mimicking 35mm film by color grading well. However regarding 16mm and 70mm (65mm) look, we could hardly achieve the realistic 16mm and 70mm look with a film shot in digital. IR recording is one of analogue techniques and I feel it’s interesting.

HAIBARA: We could technically manipulate everything in post production but it doesn’t sound interesting. However, though both lens and IR recording are analogue, they are used well in the digital film-making. That’s interesting.

Attractiveness of SHIRAISHI’s film

HIROSE: The film “SUNNY/32” is not just a regular drama like answering a question easily during movie. It’s beyond: this is the movie. After you watch it, you should think about various things over and over, be confused whether things are good or bad, or feel nicely exhausted. Recently I’ve shot various films but most of them are not like that.

HAIBARA: The “SUNNY/32” became a mysterious film hardly determined what genre it is, and I think that people have never seen a film like this. In terms of the scenario, the Internet society like a computer and Social Networking Service seems like the theme, but it focuses on analogue factors like feeling of human being after all. The fusion of analogue and digital is a core of this film and sublimated as fantasy.

©2018 “Sunny/32” Film Partners