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3 short films for Delight Rental Service as an ode to filmmaking

June 2023 Julia was asked by Christoph (owner of Delight and photographer) to make promotional videos for DRS Berlin. Delight is an equipment rental company for photography and film. Delight has its origin in photography. In recent years, DRS expanded and invested heavily in film equipment. The plan was to start with a film that would promote the film equipment and be an ode to filmmaking. The film was to be between 1 and 2 minutes long, showing the rental and the use of certain equipment. Since Delight comes from a photography background, the rental company has many treasures in its lens vault. With adapters for various lenses and cameras, it's easy to use virtually any lens on a digital film camera like the ARRI ALEXA 35, Mini, Mini LF, Sony Venice, etc.

Julia wrote a first pitch, a western set in DRS rental house. That basically set the visual language. Widescreen was a must, but instead of using anamorphic lenses to create the scope of the Western, Christoph showed me something very special. A very rare 24mm Hasselblad fisheye lens from the mid-1980s for medium format photography. The lens was invented by Continental to check the inner quality of car tires. I had never heard of this lens and did a little research. We also had the opportunity to use it on the Chrosziel TP-7II lens test projector to see the characteristics. It has incredible close focus and is quite sharp without too many lateral aberrations for this type of lens.

The very rare Hasselblad 24/3.5 CF Fisheye

We decided to test the lens on an ARRI ALEXA Mini LF and were quite surprised by the appearance of the lens. The sharpness up to the corners was quite stable. In the Gerenal, the image is very sharp and crisp. It does of course have some barrel distortion and when the light hits the lens directly, the blue coating colors the shadows quite extremely. It's a very unique look and that's what we were going for. Only for close-ups of the actors did we need a longer lens, so we used the 40mm and 50mm Hasselblad for that. Again, these lenses were not re-housed, but because of their large proportions, they were quite easy to handle with the Arri WCU4.

We shot the whole film in one day at the rental shop with a very small crew. Just Julia, the two actors Simen Lambrecht and Marta Karta and my 1st AC Sandro Manuel Baldoceda Böhme. The film is shot almost entirely with available light. For one shot we wanted to turn the camera, and for that a Cartoni Lambda Head was the best and easiest solution. This project was one of the fastest I've done. From start to finished film, it basically took only a week. You can find the behind-the-scenes film here.

Right after we finished 'Once Upon a Time in Delight', Julia said that for the second movie we would take our Delight stars to a science fiction world. Matrix was the inspiration and Julia came up with a story. A traveling light plays an important role in it and we started thinking about how we could do that. While testing the Freely Wave camera for higher frame rates in the studio, we came up with the simplest solution: a moving flash light (moving in an all-black room) that we will add simply to the shot in post-production. The 1st floor studio at Delight was our main shooting location to create this world. When we realized that the Freefly Wave camera was not the ideal camera to shoot the film with a small crew and without a lot of lighting and rigging, we decided to use the ARRI Alexa 35, which offers a much wider dynamic range and higher sensitivity.

Lens flares will play a big role in this film, so I wanted to shoot with old Nikon lenses (Nikkor 18mm t3.5 and 24mm t2) that I know well from analog photography. Especially the wider lenses have a fantastic round lens flare with soft colors. I also wanted to have stray light rays that move like threads as the light moves along the lens. A 1/8 and 1/4 Tiffen Hollywood Black Magic was the best solution for this task.

Compared to the first film, 'Delightrix' was much more complex in terms of setup. To achieve the greenish color and high contrast lighting, we set up a row of 12 Asteras Titans high above the set in a U-shape. For the two actors, we used 2 CP42s in a softbox as top lights. Sebastian (head of the film lighting department) suggested using the Creamsource Vortex 8 as a fill light. I had never worked with the Vortex 8 before, but was very impressed with the quality and output. It came in handy for a particular shot for which we were using the Laowa Probe lens. All we had to do was maximize the power and we were able to get the shot. The camera movement was quite interesting. Instead of moving and driving along the subject, we had the second camera on an O Connor 2575 and rotated it 360 degrees while the main camera was on a slider and compensated for the movement.

Julia and I have quite a 'macro eye shot' thing going on. The light coming closer and closer to the cowboy should reflect in a strange way. We came up with the idea of projecting the pattern of the Siemens star onto Simmen's eye using the Chrosziel TP-7II lens test projector. For the Cu of the eye, we used a 100mm IBE Raptor lens.

The third film from the Delight should have a totally different vibe. It was pretty clear from the beginning to make a film that can breath and is located somewhere outside. We considerd to shoot wide landscapes, at the sea with dunes and sand, but time and budget limitations brought us to a very special area close to Berlin. A vast landscape that has everything we needed. 'Lieberose' is a very sensitive and protected area, so everything we needed for the shoot was transported by hand, what made it a little adventure.

While on location recce Julia and me discovered that it is only possible to be there for a couple of hours due to hunters who start their work from sunset on. Scheduling the shoot was tough because we only had roughly 5 hours to get all the shots. We again decided to work with a incredible small crew that can work fast and efficient.

That means we only use minimum equipment. Only small bounce boards like a California Sunbounce, or fabrics in different sizes and qualities. In terms of camera movement we decided early to shoot handheld, that helped as well as the amount of gear is reduced.

For the film we wanted a very clear image, full frame seemed to be the best choice, so we choose to shoot on the ARRI Alex Mini LF. I never shot on Leica glass and Christoph often recommended the Leica R and M series to me. Julia and me agreed to make a test of Leica R (15,19,21mm) and the Leica M (35, 50mm). The lenses surprised me quite a bit. I thought their look is quite subtle, but I realized their are having quite a character. The focus is precise even wide open and the highlights are quite soft in a very gentle. way. The only thing that bothered me was the close focus of the M series. That led us to use diopters, what reduces the flexibility. With the R series the close focus is incredible close but they are opening at a t3.5 (what didn't matter so much for our shoot). The lenses are not rehoused but well better to handle than shooting on the Nikon lenses on 'DELIGHTRIX'. What is again interesting with lens tests, is that you will have some surprises when you shoot on the actual location. We tested the lenses indoor and outdoor (in Berlin) but without having clear a horizon. On location the lenses showed their true character when having a wide shot with a lot of sky and the horizon splitting the image. Especially in the sky you could really see how the lenses, especially the 15 & 19mm, vignettes the corners.

For the last shot we also needed to do a bit of green screen. The cowboy is floating in the air in a wide shot, so it was important to shoot the cowboy in the same light as the plate. Instead of carrying all the stuff to the location, we decided to shoot it on the parking lot, because the weather report seemed to be stable the whole day. The shooting went very well. We planned the shots with the sun, because we couldn't control a lot. What is interesting every time on a wild location like that is that it takes a couple of hours for everyone to adjust to it. After 2-3 hours everyone got into the mood and felt what is necessary to make a very nice film but then the shooting was nearly over.

Video credits:

'Once upon a time in Delight'

Produced by : Delight Rental Services GmbH and Julia Patey

Featuring : Simen Lambrecht and Marta Karta

Written, Directed and Edited by : Julia Patey

Cinematography and Colour Correction by : Konstantin Minnich

1st Assistant Camera and Grip : Sandro Manuel Baldoceda Böhme

Music by : Lynnepublishing at Pond5 and Artlist io

Foley Artist : Daniel Weis Foley

Mixer : Hanse Warns Foley Stage : Studio Warns


Produced by : Delight Rental Services GmbH and Julia Patey

Featuring : Simen Lambrecht and Marta Karta

Written, Directed and Edited by : Julia Patey

Cinematography and Colour Correction by : Konstantin Minnich

1st Assistant Camera and Grip : Sandro Manuel Baldoceda Böhme

2nd Assistant Camera : Milo Antoine Damerius

Music by : Quinten Coblentz

Voice Over by : Julia Patey

'The Tree of Delight'

Produced by : Delight Rental Services GmbH and Julia Patey

Featuring : Simen Lambrecht and Marta Karta

Written, Directed and Edited by : Julia Patey

Cinematography and Colour Correction by : Konstantin Minnich

1st Assistant Camera : Sandro Manuel Baldoceda Böhme

Lighting Assistant : Sebastian Fischer

Sound Design & Music : Dennis Beckmann

Voice Over by : Julian Flavin & Julia Patey


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