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Camera lternative rock band Placebo has recorded a live
studio set of its new album on the Blackmagic Cinema
Camera. The hour long session was filmed at the
famous Rak Studios in London and will be featured as bonus
material on the band’s soon to be released seventh album,
titled “Loud Like Love.”
Directed by Charlie Targett-Adams and produced by James
Tonkin of Hangman Studios, the multi camera project
incorporated eight fixed camera positions, five of which were
Blackmagic Cinema Cameras. “Its wide dynamic range, its
size, the ability to record straight to ProRes and that beautiful
log flat look that you get from the camera make it an ideal
choice for live shoots like the one with Placebo,” reveals Tonkin.
“When Charlie and I went through tests from previous shoots
he really saw the strength in going down this route. Although
he is a young director, Charlie very much prefers the look of film
in the same way that I do.”
“Knowing that we could shoot and create a look inside the
camera meant the Blackmagic camera was the ideal choice.
We had to film the whole session uninterrupted and that meant
planning as much as we could in advance and then simply
going with it on the day.”
With Placebo’s management wanting this to be an honest
representation of how the band would play behind closed
doors, the aim was to give the whole thing a stripped back look
that felt natural on camera. That meant allowing the band to
play with as few distractions as was possible.
Tonkin continued: “Although we used a number of sliders and
tracks, our camera operators were for all intents and purposes
in fixed positions for the whole shoot. And working in a
confined space like Rak Studios required careful planning. I had
to make certain that we had enough camera angles so that the
whole thing would feel coherent, well covered and dynamic.
That to some extent dictated my lens selection because as
beautiful as primes are, you can’t be stuck on one shot. It just
doesn’t give you enough latitude to get what you need when
working from fixed position.”
Treating this as a live shoot was perhaps the most challenging
aspect of the project for Tonkin.
“You didn’t necessarily know what you’d got until it was all
shot,” says Tonkin. “However the simplicity of the settings and
menu structure in the Blackmagic camera really worked to our
advantage. It allowed me to quickly set up the cameras and
ensured everything we shot looked the same. The Blackmagic
Cinema Camera for that reason became so much easier to
deal with in the grade because you had a neutral starting point
on all of the footage.”
Post production involved an edit in Final Cut and then the
material was graded on Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve.
“Being involved in both the filming and grading of the content
has a definite advantage,” said Tonkin. “You have a better
understanding of what you can correct in post, or how best
to shoot some things and what lighting ratios will allow you to
push and pull things in the grade.”
50 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 82 OCTOBER 2013