Back in around June 2012 I was asked to direct and shoot a short brand film for Tullamore Dew called “The Furnace of Resurrection”. The brief from the agency was to create a documentary film following following on from the concept of their “virtual furnace” where Facebook users could “burn all that is dishonesty and fake in the world”.
The idea was that all the Facebook submissions were to be burnt in a real furnace to produce charcoal that would then be used to create something “True”.
Sitting with the team behind the idea it was quickly established that they wanted something that felt timeless and authentic rather than feeling punchy and looking like reality TV.
I went away a did some thinking and wrote a treatment for the film. Eventually after a few revisions and budget discussions we had client sign-off and the green light.
One of the key elements in creating the look was the lenses I chose to use. I have a set of vintage Russian stills lenses designed for the M42 mount Zenith cameras. The nice thing about these lenses is that they are not perfect. They have imperfections that are exactly what we were after. Rather than producing images that are super sharp these lenses produce a dreamy “classic” feel, they flare easily and the way they render colour was perfect for the look were were aiming for.
We used 3 lenses during production.
MIR-1 37mm f/2.8
HELIOS-44-2 58mm f/2
JUPITER-9 85mm f/2
These lenses were used on the Sony NEX-FS100 Super35mm camera with a simple M42 to NEX adaptor. We recorded to an Atomos Ninja 2 in ProRes 422 HQ.
The original plan was to use a technique call “Lens Whacking”* so we could generate additional flares and light leaks. What was I thinking??? We were shooting in the middle of a forrest in March. Tempratures in the Northern Hemisphere had yet to start warming up and even the mud was still frozen. Hand holding a metal lens body in those conditions was almost impossible. So rather then drop the lenses in the freezing mud we worked with the smoke and light coming in through the trees to achieve a lot of the look were were after.
Once the edit was complete the project was then graded using the Film Convert plugin in Final Cut Pro X.
View the final film here: “The Furnace of Resurrection”
* a technique where you shoot with the lens disconnected from the camera