Banāns Upē / Banana in the River is director's Kristaps Brīze debut film. The easy flow of this family adventure film will take the audience through series of comic events, through a series of adventures as a result the teenage boy and his new stepfather make a friendship bond.
The story is mostly set in open landscapes so, we chose the wide aspect ratio of 2.39 : 1 to show off environments and vistas.
Shooting on the river in a boat, with a limited space and constantly changing scenery was challenging. There was no question that a zoom lens is more versatile than a prime lens, as it will ultimately make your life easier on set by saving time and allowing an easier set up between shots.This made the Angenieux Optimo DP 30-80mm Zoom and the Angenieux Optimo DP16-40mm the ideal lens fo this film. These zoom lenses offer almost no breathing with a T2.8 aperture all the way through the zoom range.
When shooting interiors or low-light exteriors we switched to prime lenses.
Zeiss High Speed lenses paired well with the Angenieux Optimo DP zoom lenses. To capture the scene shot at the Blue Hour we doubled the sensitivity at ISO 1600 and opened the prime lens to a T1.3.
Halation of Tiffen Pro Mist 1/8, 1/4 filters in highlights added to the look. Gradient ND, ND filters were combined with Polarising filter when needed. A polarizing filter works like your favorite pair of polarized sunglasses, filtering out sunlight which has been reflected toward the camera at specific angles. A circular polarizer, once mounted on the camera, can be turned to change the level of polarization. And while sometimes poor light is just poor light, the addition of a polarizing or other filter can turn a bad-lighting situation into something workable.
Recording format was ProRes 4:4:4:4 (or ProRes 4:4:4:4 XQ in low-light situations) at 2868 x 1612 resolution. The film was shot at 24fps.
Working closely with the Director, we arranged the shots and camera angles, set all aspects of the visual setting in which actors perform their parts.
When shooting exteriors we used natural light. Natural light is generally softer and more flattering than artificial light, but it can be difficult to control.
Tools like 12x12, 8x8, 4x4 frames, diffusion and bounce materials, floppies and reflectors came in handy. We focused to have the lightning motivated and looking natural.
For exterior night scenes and interior day scenes, we used ARRI M40 HMI and ARRI M18HMI, ARRI SkyPanel S60-C and Aladdin BI-FLEX M7, LiteMat Plus 2 and Cineo MatchBox LED units, ARRI T1 and ARRI 650, Kino Flo and Dedolight kit and practial light bulbs.
For underwater shots or shots that had do be captured just above the water level we brought in Scubacam Splash Bag.
To film an action shot for the scene where the inflatable "Banana" boat is flipped upside down as the movie characters unsuccessfully go down the waterfall, we rigged the camera to the boat and flipped it over.
For most of the film's scenes and style, we primarily put the camera on a tripod, or the camera was rigged to a car. Only selected scenes were shot handheld. For dynamic chase scene that visually had to match the film's style I used Tilta Armor Man II and operated the MōVI Pro gimbal stabilizer combained with Arri Mini and prime lens.
Going down the river and placing the camera in a boat is like doing a Dolly Shot because the camera is usually following the subject. Tracking shots were done either filming perpendicular or in the front of subjects.
Principal Photography for this film was 20 days.
Stills photography by