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02-05-2020 - Case Study, Gear

Shot on VENICE - Turkish Airlines Super Bowl Spot

By: Jeff Berlin

The Super Bowl is about much more than football. Indeed for many, the ads are also a huge draw, with big brands spending big bucks for the attention of a very big audience. This year, a 30 second slot of airtime cost $5.6M. One of the ads, a stunner for Turkish Airlines, was shot on the Sony VENICE with Hawk and Lomo anamorphic lenses by cinematographer Khalid Mohtaseb.

“Since the project was shooting in four countries, Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia and Iceland, when it came to choosing the right camera, we decided to go with the VENICE and Rialto extension system because of VENICE’s versatility. There were locations, such as the waterfall and cave in Indonesia, that were extremely physically challenging to get to. The crew and all the gear had to be lowered down using a rope pulley system, and to get to the waterfall we had to hike for hours down a super-sketchy 400 meter makeshift trail. Considering these challenges, the Rialto was the perfect tool for these kinds of locations.”

“The Dual Base ISO came in handy as well. For most of the night scenes, I lit them in a very minimal way and utilized 2500 Base ISO, shooting at 3200 ISO. That footage seemed no different from the images shot at 500 ISO, and that’s what really amazes me about this camera, that the image is never compromised no matter the ISO.”

Khalid and his team shot with two cameras the entire time, though not simultaneously. Each camera, recording in X-OCN XT, was built differently and was always ready to go, allowing Khalid and his team to move quickly. One VENICE was built in studio mode and was primarily on a Technocrane, dolly, or arm.

The second VENICE was built with the Rialto extension system, and that camera was the workhorse of the shoot. The Rialto was mounted almost exclusively to an Arri Maxima 3-Axis Gimbal, but once in a while the Rialto would jump off the gimbal and go handheld. Khalid and his crew found a very fast way to go from the Maxima to handheld, and by the end of the shoot the crew was able to go back and forth, from Maxima to handheld, in under 2 minutes.

Khalid is a big fan of using Rialto with the Maxima system. “The Rialto and Maxima is a great combination. What I love the most about the Maxima is how fast it is. A bit of up and down balance and the gimbal is ready to go. We had minimal issues with it and we put it and the VENICE through some really extreme situations. Both held up really well. My camera operator, Ilya Akiyoshi, operated the gimbal and I would operate the head from the joystick, and that worked well.”

“It was a nine-day shoot so we were able to capture quite a bit of magic hour. When the light dropped too low to shoot at Base 500 ISO we’d switch over to the higher Base of 2500 ISO, and we even shot some images as high as 10,000 ISO, which gave us about another 10 minutes of shooting time. Over the course of the nine days we shot, that’s an additional 90 minutes of magic hour footage due to the VENICE’s capabilities. I keep finding new things to love about this camera and the images it produces.”

“I’ve now been shooting exclusively on the VENICE for roughly two years and am very comfortable with the image and how far it can be pushed, so on this project I wanted to push it even further, to really take it out of its comfort zones and see how it preforms. I love doing that when a camera becomes this easy to work with.”

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