HOTSHOT #2 Nomuaki IMURA（DP）, Haruka OKUTSU（Colorist）
Presented by Panasonic, “a VARICAM PURE CM shooting test” took place at a studio somewhere in Tokyo in November 9th, 2016. To examine performances of a VARICAM, Ryutaro Nakamura, in charge of the project, planed and produced as a chief director and MC. Built an interior set inside the studio, in both daylight and nightlight, he and other stuff checked VARICAM’s color reproducibility, shooting performances under the low light condition, and a workflow after the shooting.
A RAW workflow of this test was organized by Imura Office, a production company with managing own creators, and by I-7 Co., Ltd., an equipment rental company. A CEO of both companies is Nobuaki Imura, a DP. He shares the characteristics of the VARICAM PURE, released in the end of 2016. Also, a colorist of his company, Haruka Okutsu talks about some points of color grading of RAW data, and color features of the VARICAM PURE.
VARICAM’s potential of color information
For this test, they shot the interior set inside the studio by VARICAM PURE, recording in uncompressed RAW format. By a live grading, they checked the look and color reproducibility. After that, they also checked the differences from other cinema cameras by grading in post production. As to lenses, Carl Zeiss’ Ultra Prime lenses were used to all cameras. The setting was two: day and night. For night, the amount of lights was set to the same amount of a moon, and they made it throw in from the windows. Only candle lights shone around inside.
IMURA: What surprised me was that color reproducibility of the VARICAM PURE compared favorably with an ARRI ALEXA while checking the color balance of high, low and middle. The camera was directly able to produce an image that I made on set. Without color separated dots, the image was very natural. Especially, a part of highlight was excellent; for instance, in the daylight shooting, yellow of light reflected on the wall affected orderly around. The difference between cyan and blue was able to be seen, and they were close to their actual colors.
OKUTSU: I felt that producing yellow of the VARICAM PURE is beautiful. Other cinema cameras have each own characteristic, but as the same point, in many cameras, yellow stands out. Thus, I get an order many times to get rid of the color; however, the VARICAM PURE produces any colors as neutral. Even though I rise up saturation, none of colors stands out too much, and the balance of lights and shadows is pretty natural.
Making a look, taking advantage of ISO5000
lMURA: It’s an epoch-making idea that the camera has two film stocks; ISO800 and ISO5000. Especially, ISO5000 is really bright. If you shoot a screen of a mobile phone; for example, it’s blown out although you set the amount of light lowest. Thus, in spite of using any lenses, having different open apertures, I shot without any changes of shutter speeds or apertures. Even a balance of lights didn’t need to be changed.
OKUTSU: Noise was also good at nightlight shooting. Though there is a camera, which stands out to produce horizontal noise, the VARICAM’s noise is grained. When I used plug-in, I treated them beautifully, and detail was still remained. I feel the noise is like film grain.
The first use of VARICAM LT for MV
Through the test, Mr. Imura comprehended how much the VARICAM’s performance is high; so that, he immediately tried the power for Naotaro Moriyama’s MV “December (2016ver.).” During shooting with the VARICAM LT, there were some more surprises.
©UNIVERSAL MUSIC LLC
IMURA: About a scene of inside a taxi in the night shooting, I used to set up the lightings inside, and shot in a low light condition to get a balance with outside. In contrast, with ISO5000 of the VARICAM LT, it was blown out because of too much blight. So, I shot without any lights. But I happened to notice an influence from outside affected inside a person through windows as the taxi moved. For example, his/her face gets red by striking from the tail lights of a front car. This kind of movie has never been shot. So, you can capture the real lights, and control the colors in post production since they have much color information. It really amazed me.
No loss of colors in highlights
©UNIVERSAL MUSIC LLC
OKUTSU: I was also surprised by what the colors remained in highlights. I often handle high tones, and usually their colors are shallow and don’t remain. But, though I took the same process, the movie of VARICAM LT for Naotaro Moriyama’s PV produced a good dynamic range that high tones remained. It was beautiful. Especially, color reproducibility of bokeh in illumination was good. Because of the special filter, which was inserted in front of a lens, the images were shining. In other words, various colors came into the highlights of the shining. That colors hardly remain in other cameras, but surely remain in VARICAM LT.
Naotaro MORIYAMA MV “December（2016ver.）+ BTS”
Born in Kumamoto in 1976. When he was 21, he moved to Tokyo as a freelancer. Trained through tons of jobs with various people, he became a movie cameraman at 29. In 2012, with freelance cameramen, he established Imura Office and I-7 Co., Ltd. He is now focusing on post production system, plannings and productions.
Representative Works as a DP
UCC BLACK: NO SUGAR, TVCM Keisuke Kuwata “Taiga No Itteki”【Men’s Black】ver.
FINAL FANTASY XV: TVCM “Fever in the World” ver.
Namie Amuro / “Fighter”
SiMvsCrossfaith / “GET iT OUT”
MAN WITH A MISSION / “Dead End in Tokyo”
Born in Kanagawa in 1990. Having an experience of an offline editor, she has belonged to Imura Office as a colorist and DIT since 2014.
Representative Works as a colorist
Kobayashi city, Miyazaki prefecture: for moving to Kobayashi, PR movie “Ndamoshitan Kobayashi”
Toshiba: Life Style Movie “PINT!”
Namie Amuro / “Dear Diary”
HKT48 Spring Live Tour ~Sashiko du Soleil 2016~