Flickering Souls Set Alight
Clip selection from “Flickering Souls Set Alight” (dir. Iakovos Panagopoulos), emphasising on the cinematography and how the 1:1 aspect ratio along with the vertical to the sensor anamorphic format play a dramatic storytelling role.
Production and Technical information
Lens series: Anamorphic/i
Focus lengths: 32mm, 50mm
Original Aspect Ratio: 1:1
Camera: Arri Alexa Mini
Rental Company: Arctos Rentals https://www.arctosfilms.com/
Director of Photography: Petros Antoniadis https://www.petrosantoniadis.film
Agent: The Right Eye https://www.therighteye.com
Production: Flickering Souls Set Alight
Director: Iakovos Panagopoulos
Colourist: Dimitris Karteris
Post Production: Matchframe https://www.matchframe.gr
Production Company: Arctos Films S.A., Direct Productions https://www.arctosfilms.com
IMDB link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8692006/
DOP Petros Antoniadis on his lens and aspect ratio choice:
“One of the details coming from director Iakovos Panagopoulos’ research on ALS was the “square of memories”. Visual content from the past is placed on the wall across the patient’s sight creating an – almost perfect – square.
I felt the need to include Aris’ (the patient) perspective in our visual world. Additionally, the film needed to feel claustrophobic as all the characters are trapped in a, ready to collapse, contracted universe.
With those notes and the needs of the film in mind, I proposed to Iakovos the use of 1:1.
1:1 via Anamorphic
As each scene is a single take, we needed to capture nothing less than what the story required so cropping (left and right) thus loosing information was far from the ideal, especially on a tight location. We had to get to 1:1 without losing any horizontal pixel of the sensor.
And that’s where the idea of using the anamorphic format crossed my mind.
THEORY / IDEA: If on a Full HD (16:9) sensor we’d use anamorphic (2x) lenses vertically we’d end up with an image 1920 x (1080×2). A usable 1920 x 2160 frame which is very close to the perfect square we are aiming for (1920 x 1920).
When we saw the test results we realized that the simple idea had turned into a storytelling tool, the right canvas for the film.
The faces needed to be rendered with great detail, acute but not too harsh giving space to the emotions while enhancing the performance. The set had to feel dark and all these details in the shadows were crucial to keep. The camera needed to be able to move in the tight location, going from a medium to a close up to an extreme wide and every frame needed to look perfect.
In short terms, the film needed the beloved Cooke Look paired with the spectacular craftsmanship of the Anamorphic/i lenses.
The majority of the film was shot on the 32mm with the exception being the scene at the coffee shop which shot on the 50mm. The lens gave a unique out-of-focus vignette at the sides, something that works perfectly for the story.”