Blackmagic - Sons of Summer

The spirit of the 1977 cult classic Summer City returns with Sons of Summer, shot on Blackmagic cinema cameras and post-produced with DaVinci Resolve.

The film is the third in a series of films produced by legendary Australian producer Phil Avalon, who in 1977 released the first low-budget feature in the trilogy, which featured Mel Gibson in his early days before the role that would make him a household name two years later in Mad Max. The second edition of the saga was released in 1988, under the title Breaking Loose: Summer City II.

Directed by award-winning director Clive Fleury, Sons of Summer stars renowned Australian actress Isabel Lucas and New Zealander Temuera Morrison. The plot is set in the same environment as its predecessors and tells the story of Sean (Joe Davidson), a charismatic but grieving surfer trying to overcome his tragic past.

Sean and his surfing buddies decide to take a trip down the coast as a tribute to his father’s death. But the protagonist’s manoeuvres to escape his money troubles are exposed after he steals a shipment of drugs, and now a hitman sets out on a rampaging quest for revenge. With each victim, the hitman gets closer and closer to Sean, who after the kidnapping of his girlfriend must devise a plan to rectify the situation.

Blackmagic - Sons of SummerShot with URSA Mini Pro 12K, 4.6K G2…

For Sons of Summer, producer Tim Maddocks decided to rely on cinematographer Anthony Rose, with whom he had already collaborated on several occasions: “Earlier in the year Anthony and I were on a documentary shoot using a different range of cameras and he mentioned the ease of working with Blackmagic Design cameras by comparison. So when the opportunity arose for him to come on board Sons of Summer we talked extensively about the look of the film. I mentioned my love of anamorphic lenses and Anthony came up with the package of Blackmagic cameras to suit our shoot. As a producer, the excellent value for the money was a nice bonus to achieving the filmic look we were after,” recalls Maddocks.

Specifically, the Sons of Summer team decided to use three URSA Mini Pro 12K units, the URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 model and two Pocket Cinema Camera 6K cameras. Rose elaborates: “We used three 12K cameras shooting in 8K for most scenes as the A and B camera along with the third always rigged on a Steadicam. On top of that, we used the URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 for high speed shots and two Pocket 6K cameras for hard to get shots on a gimbal inside cars, and for low profile car mount rigs for the chase sequence.”

Rose, who over his 20-year career has directed more than 250 audiovisual productions and countless television commercials both in Australia and internationally, said he enjoys working with Blackmagic Design cameras because of their composition and the cinematic look and feel they offer: “With a tight budget I was able to have multiple cameras pre built and ready to go, which saved time and money. We used the SSD recorders on the 12Ks with 960GB cards so we could basically shoot all day which was a big help. And with minimal lighting in some tricky high contrast and low light conditions I could trust the sensors to deliver.”

Blackmagic - Sons of SummerColour grading, with DaVinci Resolve Studio

The film was colour corrected using DaVinci Resolve Studio software and, as a result, the production was almost entirely shot using Blackmagic Design products.

Rose shares more details: “Grading footage shot with Blackmagic Design cameras in DaVinci Resolve made it easy to get the look we wanted. We used a 1000 nit monitor for grading and the Blackmagic Design footage really came alive. Our colorist was fresh from grading Elvis and was very impressed with the BRAW files.”

Sons of Summer is scheduled to hit the big screen in Australia in Spring 2023, before hitting digital platforms in the US.

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For • 29 Nov, 2022
• Section: Catchment, Postpro