Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K - Down with the King

The independent feature Down with the King was shot on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, leveraging its dual native ISO in order to shoot most of the shots in natural light.

The film stars Oscar nominee Freddie Gibs as Money Merc, a prominent rapper who becomes disillusioned with the music industry and decides to go to a small farming community to find himself. Diego Ongaro, whose debut feature Bob and the Trees screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015, directs this film produced by Breaker Studios and Inside Videos. The film won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Deauville American Film Festival and is now available on digital and subscription platforms.

Choosing a realistic approach that at times borders on documentary, the filmmakers ultimately opted for natural light for much of the filming. Danny Vecchione, director of photography, elaborates: “Stylistically, we really liked shooting during twilight, going about twenty minutes past magic hour. With the film set in the Berkshires, MA, during the fall, we wanted to capture the natural beauty and fading light of the season. Since we were only using natural light for most of the scenes, the Pocket Cinema Camera 6Ks’ dual native ISO and dynamic range really let us push the shots and take advantage of that twilight glow.”

Vecchione and his second in command, Connor Lawson, used the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K in combination with anamorphic lenses to record the footage and Blackmagic Video Assist 7″ 12G HDR recorders/monitors. Because the shoot was shot in Blackmagic RAW format, Vecchione was confident that he could push the boundaries of the images in the darker scenes and retouch them in post-production with the colour grading tools in DaVinci Resolve Studio, editing, colour grading, visual effects and audio post-production software. Colour grading was handled by Alex Berman (Goldcrest Post NY), who used a DaVinci Resolve Advanced Panel unit.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K - Down with the King

Handheld approach

Thanks to the miniaturised design of the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K model, the unit can be held comfortably in the hand, giving Vecchione the agility to react quickly during the course of the scenes. In fact, much of Down with the King was shot handheld, which reinforced the aim of getting closer to a documentary aesthetic.

Diego Ongaro, the film’s director, remarks on the reasons for choosing the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K: “To capture the unique approach to storytelling that we were going for, we needed to allow for a lot of space for the actors and have an extremely small footprint for the crew. We used the Pocket Cinema Camera 6Ks since they allowed us to be as stripped down and flexible as possible while still shooting anamorphic.”

Ongaro is completely satisfied with the decision: “We couldn’t have achieved the same feel with a different setup because we would have needed more crew, which would have ultimately changed the dynamic. My goal was to have more people in front of the camera than behind it, and we were able to attain that with Blackmagic Design.”

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By • 20 Jul, 2022
• Section: Catchment, Postpro