(Fremont, California--July 3, 2014) Blackmagic Design today announced that European cultural television channel arte has commissioned a new series of travel documentaries exploring the vibrant colors and cultures of the former Indochina region, shot exclusively on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.
Photo by Rui Camilo; Krabi, Thailand, November 2013
Berlin based Story House Productions developed five programs, in which a small crew travelled across each of the countries that previously formed Indochina; Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. The production crew chose the Pocket Cinema Camera as it would enable them to capture beautiful images, while retaining a ‘backpacker’ look that would be the overarching theme for each of the standalone documentaries.
Water channel of the temple complex in Sukhothai, Thailand. Photo by Rui Camilo.
The challenge for Story House was how they would translate not only the physical beauty of the region, but also the essence of the country and what it is like to actually travel there. “To achieve that feel of backpacking through a country, we relied on traditional public transport throughout filming. Each of the documentaries also offers a glimpse into the lives of eight locals,” explains Christian Schidlowski of Story House Productions.
Christian directed the first two programs set in Vietnam and Cambodia. To ensure consistency, workshops were held with the two other directors, and DoP André Götzmann was present across all five shoots. The majority of filming was done handheld, and the team used the Pocket Cinema Camera’s film mode in order to access the camera’s full dynamic range and bring a real vitality to the footage.
Bergbäuerin (a mountain farmer) in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo by Rui Camilo.
André was extremely impressed by the image quality that could be achieved by a camera with such a compact form factor. “The Pocket Cinema Camera’s size was incredibly important in allowing us to film very natural scenes. The smaller the camera, the faster people forgot its presence, which enabled me to stay in eye contact with the protagonists and get physically close to people without disturbing them. I picked up the camera in the morning and didn’t put it down until evening; it became my constant companion. I captured so many little spontaneous things along the road, in a way I’ve never been able to before. The camera let me literally soak into the country.”
Reclining Buddha at Krabi, Thailand. Photo by Rui Camilo.
“Whatever we shot with had to be capable of producing both stunning landscape shots, for example, shooting wide angle to demonstrate the idyllic beaches across the region, but also needed to give us stunning detail in the close up portrait shots that we used when interviewing local people. As we were traveling with such a small crew, our lighting options were extremely limited, but we knew that wherever we were shooting, we would always capture great looking images with the Pocket Cinema Camera.”
From a director’s perspective, Christian was extremely pleased with the rich color scale that the Pocket Cinema Camera captured, for example in the marketplaces in Thailand, which are a whirl of bright fabrics, street food and streets packed full of people. “As we finished in DaVinci Resolve, the footage has been fantastic to grade. It was incredibly simple to import the footage into a timeline, and apply an overall grade to each of the films to make the vivid colors of the region really pop out. We knew from the start that the camera would be the right choice for our objectives, and this remains the case, now that post production is completed.”
Photo by Rui Camilo
The Asia From Above documentaries will be shown on arte, which broadcasts in France and Germany later in 2014.
About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and film restoration software for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including stereoscopic 3D and 4K workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, and Australia. For more information, please check http://www.blackmagicdesign.com