In Broadcast - April 2018 - 58

58

www.inbroadcast.com | Vol: 8 - Issue 4 | April 2018

InStudio

VariCam 35 On The Case
For Marcella

Director of
Photography
Kate Reid

Director of Photography Kate Reid brings the
VariCam 35 on set to shoot the second series of
critically-acclaimed ITV police drama Marcella...

W

hen award-winning cinematographer Kate Reid was asked to
shoot the highly anticipated return of
London based drama Marcella, she was
presented with a challenge.
The first series of the scandi-noir crime
drama was shot largely at night and
in the depth of a London winter, as a
result it had a dark, foreboding look
and created a beguiling backdrop on
which the drama played out.
Filming schedules meant that the
second series was filmed in summer,
but writer Rosenfeldt, the show's execs
and returning first series Director
Charles Martin were keen to continue
this look for series two.
The ITV drama, which was acquired
by Netflix, was a smash hit in 2016,
attracting over nine million viewers
at its peak. It follows Anna Friel, as
Detective Marcella Backland, as this
time she investigates the death of
a young boy whose body has been
discovered several years after his
disappearance.
Camera workflow
"I knew of the show Marcella as I'd
seen and enjoyed the first series.
It was also appealing to shoot a
contemporary story. The subject
matter is pretty dark, so there is a
licence to light in a very dramatic way,
and I was happy to follow in the same
vein as the first series as I had enjoyed
the style," says Reid.
Whilst the cast and structure
maintained their continuity into the
second series, Reid chose to shoot
Marcella
Picture - ITV

series two on a different camera,
whilst still achieving the thriller-like
look that had been established in
series one, which was important to the
production.
"Shooting in 4K is a requirement for
Netflix productions which lead to a
short list of five cameras I wanted to
test during prep, none of which I had
any prior experience of, including
the Sony F65 which season one was
shot on, as well as the VariCam35
and LT," explains Reid. Working with
rental company Panavision UK, the
production company continued to
use the same lenses - the Panavision
PVintage lenses, so even though
they changed the cameras used for
shooting, this helped maintain visual
continuity in their transition between
series one and two.
"The Director was very happy with
how series one looked, so making a
camera change between series could
have been risky, but he was happy with
the test footage as were the shows'
producers and supported my decision
to change cameras. It helped that the
data usage of the VariCam was less
than the F65, so it meant that we could
streamline the workflow," says Reid.
Dual ISO boon
"I have to say I really liked the
VariCam35. The compact size of it
was one of the deciding factors (in
comparison to the camera used in
series one) as we were shooting in
physically small spaces, which would
require the camera to be hand held at

times. I was really impressed with the
VariCam's picture and especially the
dual ISO feature.
"When I read about it, I thought that
it sounded like a bit of a gimmick, so I
shot some tests which mimicked some
of the scenes in the script - one which
was to be set in a park at night where
I'd be relying primarily on available
light. I was expecting the 5000 ISO to
be really noisy, but it was really great
to look at the test footage with Senior
Colourist at Molinare, Andrew Daniel
(who was also the colourist on series
one) back in the grading suite, and
realise how good it really was. The
feature turned out to be a real bonus
of the camera."
With the production team keen to
embrace a new camera, it did however
come with some challenges. Having to
get to know a new camera took some
time. "Because I'd shot with an Alexa
for a number of years, there were
things that were different which took
a bit of time to get used to, but on
the whole I felt confident, and it helps
that the menu structures are pretty
comparable," she says.
"After shooting some test footage
and taking it into the grading suite
to look at, it was really interesting to
see how much we could pull back the
highlights, which was reassuring as I
knew that shooting in summer there
was a good chance I would have to
manage blown out windows in certain
locations where I didn't have much
control over them, so this supported
my decision to change the camera."
"The colours in Marcella are very
strong and the palette is intrinsic to
the show's look. This was part of the
remit in order to give it its own identity
and move it away from feeling like
a scandi-noir show. London at night

was also a strong visual feature of
series one. The first series was set in
winter, with lots of night exteriors,
strong sodium lighting, and also using
available street lighting."
With the second series shot in the
height of summer, the producers faced
a challenge with trying to maintain
the dark, thriller feel which they
successfully captured in series one,
whilst still utilising a high level of
natural light in order to keep the shoot
moving at pace.
Codec choice
The VariCam incorporates a newlydeveloped super 35mm MOS image
sensor and AVC-ULTRA family of video
codecs.
"I tested both RAW and the AVC
Ultra, and whilst I really wanted to
shoot RAW as I noticed a significant
difference in how the image could be
manipulated in the grade, the data
consumption was too great to justify
for our production needs, given the
image we were getting using AVC Ultra
was still really strong. Furthermore,
the director's preference to shoot two
cameras wherever possible, meant our
production anticipated large volumes
of data daily, so this precluded
shooting RAW from a practical / cost
perspective," explains Reid.

"It helped that the data
usage of the VariCam was
smaller than the F65, so
our workflow was more
streamlined and economic,
which production
were in favour of"
Kate Reid, DoP


http://www.inbroadcast.com https://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/varicam/35/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - April 2018

Contents
In Broadcast - April 2018 - Intro
In Broadcast - April 2018 - Cover1
In Broadcast - April 2018 - Cover2
In Broadcast - April 2018 - Contents
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 4
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 5
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 6
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 7
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 8
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 9
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 10
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 11
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 12
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 13
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 14
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 15
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 16
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 17
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 18
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 19
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 20
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 21
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 22
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 23
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 24
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 25
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 26
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 27
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 28
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 29
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 30
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 31
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 32
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 33
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 34
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 35
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In Broadcast - April 2018 - 64
In Broadcast - April 2018 - 65
In Broadcast - April 2018 - Cover3
In Broadcast - April 2018 - Cover4
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