Alternative 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 bands 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 Placebos 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 cant be stuck on one shot. It just doesnt 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 didnt necessarily know what youd 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 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.