Beautiful Kate, the much heralded new Australian movie directed by Rachel Ward starring Rachel Griffiths, Bryan Brown, Sophie Lowe and Ben Mendelsohn, about a writer who is asked to return to the family home to say goodbye to his dying father was shot entirely with Fujifilm stock.
Commenting on his choice of stock DOP on Beautiful Kate Andrew Commis said, “I'd pretty much decided to use Fujifilm from reading the script and my initial talks with the director, Rachel Ward. Beautiful Kate is adapted from a 1970's novel by the American writer Newton Thornburg, and transposed to the Australian outback. It's a character driven drama with a very strong sense of place. However it's not a postcard, or a cliched vision.”
Commis had a vision for Beautiful Kate that he was determined to bring to the big screen. He added, “I was striving to make the world feel authentic whilst at the same time imbue it with a crafted understated look. Heat is overbearing, nights are inky and foreboding, and interiors darkened as light searches out details. The stocks I chose were going to be taken to the limits at both ends. I wasn't wanting to ‘play safe’ and fix it in a grade, I wanted it on the neg. I ran through the stocks I had in mind with an exterior and interior set up, plus tested a few others to see if I found any surprises. They were then scanned into the Baselight grading system at FSM and with my DI grader Billy Wychgel we were able to pretty comprehensively analyse each stock.”
Post production on the movie was done at Sydney based FSM whose Managing Director Steve Dunn said, “I thought that the story behind Beautiful Kate was excellent and we had a good relationship with Leah Churchill Brown the Producer, Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward, so we became involved in the film as investors. There were many tests made beforehand between the DOP, Andrew Commis and our DI Colourist Billy Wychgel. Billy has thorough film and photographic knowledge and previously to FSM was the colourist on King Kong and the last two Lord of the Rings films. Andrew and Billy tried all the stock available and after much testing and discussion made the choice to go exclusively with Fujifilm. The film was scanned on FSM’s Northlight scanner at 2K, colour graded on the Baselight nonlinear grading system and viewed via the Barco DP100 projector, all at 2K film resolution.”
With the testing complete Commis and Wychgel found clear winners. Commis added, “I chose the Fujifilm Eterna 64T for exteriors, generally overexposed a stop, 250D for set interiors (location interiors were a mixture of 64T and 250D) and 500T, a particular favourite, for my night work. At the end of the day though it's always instinct more than data and numbers.”
Beautiful Kate has been released to rave reviews including being called the “best movie of 2009 (so far); unmissable.” on IMDB.
Commenting on his continuing choice of Fuji stock Commis concluded, “I've had a long history using Fuji and feel that it has a real authenticity on screen. I like the fact that it still retains those beautiful qualities that film is all about. It has a beautiful grain structure, an interesting, complex colour palette and it's gutsy. It feels organic.”
Fujifilm Australia’s General Manager Recording Media/Motion Picture Film Marc Van Agten said, “Beautiful Kate is a wonderful movie, well shot and brilliantly acted. I am delighted that it is getting such excellent reviews. It is another great example of the high standard of Australian film making.”
On the set of Beautiful Kate
BK Andrew Commis and Rachel Ward: DOP Andrew Commis and Director Rachel Ward
BK DOP Andrew Commis: DOP Andrew Commis
BK DOP Andrew Commis1: DOP Andrew Commis
BK Rachel Ward and Andrew Commis: Director Rachel Ward and DOP Andrew Commis
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