by ian ian

Working with James Friend ASC BSC

Delivering full frame support on new Netflix drama, Cursed

Based on the fantasy novel by Tom Wheeler and Frank Miller, Cursed offers a fresh take on Arthurian legend, telling the tale of teenage sorceress, Nimue and her encounter with a young Arthur.

To realise the story’s spectacular imagery, production turned to lead Cinematographer James Friend ASC BSC along with Damian Bromley, Stuart Howell and Balazs Bolygo BSC HSC. Movietech provided the Sony Venice based packages used by the team to capture stunning 6K visuals in a range of configurations and conditions.

Speaking about the equipment selection for the production, Director of Photography James Friend ASC BSC said “We needed a package that could match the scale of the script. The ambitions for the project were big and we wanted to make sure this would be reflected in the visuals. I took inspiration from Frank Miller’s heavily inked, high contrast illustrative style and collaborated closely with the art department and production designers to develop the look for the show”.

The optical choice for the shoot was Full Frame Supreme Primes from Zeiss. Ideal for capturing superbly detailed imagery this newly released collection of compact, lightweight lenses deliver outstanding, consistent coverage, colour rendering and aperture.

James continues “Having selected the Sony Venice, we tested a huge variety of lenses before deciding on the Zeiss Supremes for their beautifully sharp, flawless edge to edge imagery without feeling sterile. The package proved perfect for capturing stunning 6K imagery in a huge range of conditions.

The combination of the Venice’s dual ISO function and the Supremes, which work beautifully at T1.5, gave me complete confidence in approaching any low-light scene whilst maintaining a good exposure. When dealing with a reduced depth of field using a large format sensor it’s imperative you maintain a responsible working stop for the focus puller and the visual narrative, especially when working to a very tight schedule. The dual ISO allows you that freedom.

The equipment selection actually altered my approach to the way we chose to light the show. For the studio we lit the entire set using LEDs and had a huge variety of live effects such as lightning storms, sunrises and explosions. Working in a diverse range of conditions, from the mountains of Snowdonia to candle lit studios, the Venice was able to consistently deliver stunning images even in low light conditions where the depth of field is drastically reduced. The versatility of the system was further enhanced with the Rialto ability to achieve camera angles that would have been previously unattainable. The incredible detail in the content proved particularly useful for such a post heavy job, priding the post teams highly detailed source material”.

Speaking about supporting the production, Movietech’s David Palmer says “We’re delighted to have worked with the crew on Cursed. It’s wonderful to know that the investment we make in our product range is being used to such great effect – we’re looking forward to seeing the results. In the meantime, we wish the very best to our friends and colleagues throughout every area of our industry during this challenging time”.

James adds “Movietech were the perfect production partner for the project. Their kit is immaculate and the personal attention form the team makes you feel as if you have an additional crew member. They really are the best in the British film industry”.