Blackmagic - Pocket Cinema Camera 6K - White Lotus - HBO

Xavier Grobet, director of photography for the second season of ‘The White Lotus’, decided to choose Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera 6K to shoot some key scenes in the production.

The of this social satire is set in an exclusive hotel in Italy and follows the exploits of various gusecond seasonests and employees over the course of a week in different locations, unlike the first instalment, which takes place solely in a Hawaiian hotel. This also affects the aesthetics of the fiction, which, beyond focusing on lush colours and attractive surroundings, took advantage of the Italian setting to explore all sorts of locations. In Grobet’s words: “The ocean and the waves are an equally important focus for the show, along with the energy it brings. Of course, Sicily’s waves are very different from those in Hawaii, but they still had their own energy we wanted to capture.”

Blackmagic - Pocket Cinema Camera 6K - White Lotus - HBOWhen it came to filming underwater, Grobet tested a variety of equipment, but most of it was too heavy and impractical. That’s when he remembered his experience with Blackmagic Design products: “Back in 2015, when I was prepping for the movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I was looking for a very compact camera to shoot inside moving vehicles. We didn’t want to go into process trailers and towing vehicles so I tested the original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. I did tests comparing it to our main cameras and I couldn’t believe the dynamic range of the Blackmagic camera. I didn’t have any problems matching color with both cameras and the results were pretty amazing.” The suggestion came from one of his assistants: “Fabio Ciotto suggested we try the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K with the Nauticam underwater housing. We got the rig to Sicily and performed a few tests for handling and quality, and then took the footage to our DIT Leonardo Frosina to process and compare. We found we had a pocket sized super quality camera that matched our main camera package seamlessly.”

Thanks to the camera’s compact size and light weight, Grobet was able to manipulate the unit with ease under and out of the water in a critical fight scene in The White Lotus: “It was almost no effort for Armando Avallone, our B camera operator, to operate the camera, which meant that I could be more creative and use the water, moving in and of the ocean, as another tool to help tell the story. I couldn’t have done that with other camera bodies.”

Grobet was impressed not only with the size of the camera, but also with the colourimetry of the Blackmagic models: “I really like the image quality of Blackmagic cameras. The size is a big plus as it allows me to have a very small setup and the freedom of to put the camera in very tight spaces, but mostly I really respond to the dynamic range and image quality. Ultimately, the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K helped me accomplish those scenes the way we envisioned them.”

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By • 21 Apr, 2023
• Section: Catchment