Jumping Genres on "Trent & Isabella"
DP Paul Del Vecchio Uses Blackmagic Cinema Cameras and New Debayer Feature on Indie Drama
Both genres of film have very distinct feelings, color schemes and emotional responses. Now shake your head, mix them together and imagine what it would look like if you combined the two. You would get "Trent & Isabella."
That is what New York based DP Paul Del Vecchio sought when creating the look and imagery for the new film by director and writer David Wharton Sr. And to achieve this look, Paul used Blackmagic Cinema Cameras (MFT) and was one of the first in the world to use the camera's new debayer feature.
"Trent & Isabella"
In the film, Trent is an assassin hanging up his guns now that his girlfriend, Isabella, is pregnant. But it is hard to leave the life, and Trent is forced to do one more job when Isabella is kidnapped.
It is a gritty, violent film where emotions run high. And Warden had a specific vision in mind where he wanted to combine the subtle, shadowy world of film noire with the shocking look of spaghetti westerns.
"In this film, the color and overall look of each scene were extremely important. The tone and how I had to shoot scenes really differed from one shot to the next, and I had to think about mixing genres all the time," said Paul. "So I had to get a camera that gave me a lot of leeway to be creative with my shots, while providing a huge amount of data so I could manipulate the images. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera was perfect for this."
Paul shot the film in ProRes and attached a variety of Leica R, Canon zoom and a Tokina 11-16 lenses.
"We shot the film mostly from tripods, and I really cut down on camera movements. Also, we did a lot of shooting outdoors in the bright sun, which presented another problem because when shooting in bright sun, a lot of cameras will blow out details," continued Paul. "We had to be aware of matching lighting and large scene shots, as well as the super heavy shadows that happen with this type of set up, all while matching the genre styles. And those genre styles of course were always changing from shot to shot.
"With the Blackmagic cameras, not a single detail was blown out, and they gave me amazing high quality images. The cameras' 13 stops of dynamic range let me retain the details, which I needed specifically for the spaghetti western looks," said Paul.
Getting the Details
Paul further relied on the detailed imagery captured by the Blackmagic Cinema Cameras and the new debayer feature for the spaghetti western scenes. Paul was one of the first cinematographers to be able to test Blackmagic's new debayer process, which converts raw image sensor data into an RGB image. In a practical sense, a debayer allows a DP to pull out very fine details from images and improve color within the image.
Paul used the debayer primarily for the spaghetti western scenes as the classic spaghetti western look is built around tight close ups and focused on the smallest details. With "Trent & Isabella," the spaghetti western look was perfect for capturing the emotional and often intense scenes as Trent moved towards a violent solution.
"With the Blackmagic debayer, the ability to pull out even more high quality details from this camera is just amazing, and focus pulling was much more accurate and easy to do. We could put our attention on getting the shots right versus worrying about whether we could get it perfect for the different genres because I knew that the camera would get the details I needed," continued Paul.
"At the end of the day, with the Blackmagic Cinema Cameras I can get a super clean look, or I can get a nice film grain look for the film noire scenes. I just get all types of creative possibilities. The images are stunning, and I couldn't have shot this film without the Cinema Camera," finished Paul.