This feature was shot entirely in Prague, Czech republic where I joined the camera team of the Taiwanese master of cinematography Ping Bin Lee, who I had the pleasure of working with as his camera assistant. This multiple Cannes and ASC award winning DoP might have taught me more than all film schools combined. His minimalistic, but beautiful lighting is known worldwide from his successful features such as Norwegian Wood or In The Mood For Love, which belongs to the 250 top movies of all times according to IMDB. He has done more than 95 feature film in his life and he was rightfully addressed as “master” by the entire crew.
We´ve had 45 main shooting days, shooting 6 days a week working out on real locations across Prague and surroundings. The movie starred singer and actor Kris Wu, a worldwide superstar and former member of the Chinese band EXO and Gordon Alexander, actor and stuntman known for such blockbusters such as The Dark Knight Rises, Thor, 300 and many more.
One of the “issues” we had to deal with was the camera itself. We used the Sony F65, which is a great camera, don’t get me wrong. But there are currently only three of these cameras available for rental in Europe. We have used two of those. The performance of this camera is outstanding, but due to its shape and size, using steadycams and cranes became an issue we had to solve on a daily basis. For me personally, it was a huge experience. Working as a Camera Assistant, I constantly had one fact on my mind. If anything goes wrong, getting a replacement was a matter of days, which is not acceptable during shooting. So we gave the camera a VIP treatment. One of the things you might notice from the pictures bellow is the fact, that the recorder (seen attached on the back of the camera body), was pretty big and the camera required two on-board Bebob batteries. This was not acceptable while balancing a steady cam for example. So we constantly had to dissemble these pieces and find a place for them on the bottom of the steady cam. These are just some examples of issues we had to deal with, but Mark (Ping Bin Lee) was surrounded by great professionals who helped me in every way. This was my first full length feature film as a camera assistant, I have done several more since than, but on this one, I was relying on their help to get my duties done. For that, I can’t help them enough. I learned that people within the camera department help “newbies” out as much as they can, because they know they all have been in their place at one point. There is just a limited amount of info you can learn off set, working on smaller projects, commercials and studying at a film school. The rest, you have to learn on set. Time is money, so you have to learn as you go. Even though people know you are new to this, there is no time and space for mistakes. Overall, great experience. I can’t wait to see the final movie, but the shooting itself was the experience I won’t forget. Great people, great locations and even greater head of the camera department. I will upload more pictures after the movie comes out, preventing unnecessary spoilers.
Tags: somwhere only we know