behind the scenes
"Revolution" is a surreal comedy about a behind-the-scenes crisis in the world of theatre.
Betrayed by his best friend and colleague, Ivars gradually loses grip on reality and brings the theatre towards an inevitable catastrophe.
This film is a debut film of Director Mārcis Lācis. For 17 years he has worked as a theatre director. The film script was developed with a special location in mind - Eduards Smiļģis Theatre Museum, considering its architecture and space.
To constrict time and create tension for the story our creative intention was to exploit a filmmaking technique called Sequence Shot. Also known by the French term “Plan séquence,” sequence shooting involves laying out a series of camera movements and framed shots, including the wide, medium, and close-up shots, so that they move the story ahead in a logical fashion.
Sequence Shots are most effective in their most basic requirement: that they maintain the cinematic space both temporally and physically. Time is stuck to a second-per-second, and the audience is trapped wherever the camera happens to be.
This film consists of 14 long takes. The longest one was 10 minutes in duration. During the pre-production phase with the Director we did rehearsals, marked actor and camera positions and adjusted the lightning. For this mise-en-scène design process I used Iphone 12 and Zhijun Osmo Mobile smatphone gimball.
Gimbal + Steadicam Arm & Vest
To get a smooth shot in any direction — around corners, up and down stairways, through the doors and windows I combined the stability of a tripod, flexibility of a handheld camera, and the movement capability of a dolly using Steadicam AERO 30 Stabilizer System vest & arm + cinema camera 3 axis gimbal stabilizer Zhijun Crane 3s.
Camera & Lens
Compact body of Red Komodo and its global shutter was the main appeals for using it for this film. This fairly unique feature means that it can be used in situations where there is fast action, the risk of high vibration, without any of the rolling shutter issues found on other devices. This film was shot using only one prime lens - EKRAN 18mm, made in the USSR - it has a unique vintage film look and polygonal iris shape. We used Tiffen Pro-Mist 1/8 screw-in filter for the most of the scenes. ND filter was used for exterior scenes.
For the visual representation of the story we chose the aspect ratio of 2 : 1, it suited well for the specific location. Recording format was REDCODE® RAW at 6144 X 3240 resolution. The film was shot at 24 fps.
As we knew that the camera is going to flow through the stages and doorways, up the stairway and through the doors following or tracking the characters - we had to light for 360° shooting. We integrated the light fixtures in the set or hid them in the ceiling, behind the corners or the camera, outside of the windows.
As the story is all about the theatre life we went for stylized lightning - hard lights, casting shadows, contrasting colors, low-key lightning style.
For interior scenes we used ARRI M18 HMI, ARRI SkyPanel S60-C and Aladdin BI-FLEX M7, ARRI 650 Plus and ARRI 300 Plus lights, Kino Flos, Astera Titan Tube and Astera NYX bulb set, Dedolight kit and Source Four LED and around twenty PAR Can fixtures, Led Bar and practical incandescent light bulbs.
For exteriors we used high output Lightstar LUXED-P12 spotlight, Astera Titan tubes, floppies, 12x12 frame and materials, reflectors.
Long shots with dynamic changes of light levels and angles require precise exposure control, I used Sekonic Sekonic L-758CINE-U Digitalmaster Light Meter to set the light levels.
There was a scene when the camera had to transfer from interior to a bright daylight exterior - so we compensated using an additional iris control motor.
For a selected scene the Director had a vision that camera should track the protagonist while executing a smooth camera Roll movement. For this we changed our custom lightweight gimbal to DJI Ronin 2 as it can hold more weight and the camera movements can be controlled remotely. To help me deal with the heavy weight of the system I used Tilta Armor Man II exoskeleton.
For a 'dream scene' I proposed to explore the creative world of infrared cinematography, IR shooting is manipulating light which the eye cannot see to create a visual world. I did the tests and the Director was happy with this shooting option and unique fantasy-like images.
Digital cameras are normally equipped with IR (infrared) Cut filter. Panasonic AU- EVA1 provides an option that manually allows turning off this filter with the touch of a button.
Shooting in IR doesn't automatically create a cinematic mood or look. Shooting in IR was never the goal, the goal was to convey emotions and tell a visual story via images.
To cut the visible spectrum of light but pass the IR light and get the IR cinematography benefits I chosed Kolari Vision 665 IR filter. It’s vital to shoot on a sunny day when there is lots of summer green foliage. Dull, cloudy days won’t give great results.
Principal Photography for this experimental debut film was 8 days.
Stills photography by
Premiere - "Lielais Kristaps" Film Festival, Riga, Latvia 25.02.2022