Thursday, October 20, 2016
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016
Sundance's "The 4th" deploys Blackmagic Design Cameras and DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
  • FREMONT, Calif.
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The Sundance film “The 4th” was shot using a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF, and was graded with DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio. The film by director and writer Andre Hyland was shot by DPs Shane Bruce Johnston and Charles J. Gibson, and color graded by Mark Todd Osborne at MTO ColorData.

“The 4th” is a comedy that tells the story of a slacker named Jamie who tries to make his way through the Fourth of July while dealing with chain of bad luck and escalating situations. It’s the first full length film by Hyland, who won Sundance acclaim for his 2014 short film “Funnel.” Also starring Hyland, the film explores how a chance encounter can completely change a day’s course of events through the lens of a slacker comedy.

For Johnston and Gibson, the film’s improvisational humor and run and gun style called for a two-camera approach, using Blackmagic Design’s Pocket Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF. With the cameras, the DPs were able to easily shoot on the go using handheld rigs.

“When we were evaluating gear for the film, it was crucially important that we selected cameras that could produce cinematic images while also being compact enough for guerrilla style shooting,” said Johnston. “With the Blackmagic Design cameras, we achieved our goal of producing an indie film with cinematic moments.”

With Jamie’s journey taking him throughout Los Angeles, the film was shot in a variety of locations, including dark streets and packed cars. The Blackmagic Design cameras allowed Johnston and Gibson to capture the shots they needed, even when they didn’t have a lot of light or were in cramped quarters.

“Both of the cameras worked very well in low light, so we didn’t need to worry about a lighting setup,” said Gibson. “This was especially helpful when we were on sidewalks just working under the streetlights.”

Johnson added, “The Pocket Cinema Camera’s size also came in handy during shoots in the car. Even when there were four actors packed in we were able to use the camera’s flexibility to our advantage and get the shots we needed. For the film’s establishing shot, I was perched about 40 feet up in the air and had to capture a long sequence of Hyland walking toward me from down the street. The shot was a continuous take for more than five minutes and there’s no way I could have pulled it off with a bulkier camera.”

Blackmagic Design’s solutions also helped on the post production side, with Osborne using DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio for the film’s color grading.

“‘The 4th’ was shot in a relatively short period of time so the challenge was to keep all of the scenes balanced and natural looking,” said Osborne. “It’s a slice of life piece so it just needed strong, rich colors and nice skin tones. With DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio, I was able to accomplish the needed balance and look that the film called for.”