Thai Feature ‘Friend Zone’ Scores a First with Sony VENICE
Thailand’s role as a movie-making hub in Southeast Asia is growing from strength to strength. Encouraged by generous film grants and a movie-loving population, Thai movies are enjoying box-office success, at home and abroad. Thai filmmaker Chayanop Boonprakob or Khun Moo, draws his inspiration for his movies from his very own experiences. His directorial debut, Suckseed (2011) was inspired by his passion for music. This was followed by May Who?, another box-office hit movie which drew heavily from his love for comics and animation. Buoyed by the success of his films, Khun Moo was ready for bigger things. His latest film, Friend Zone gave him the perfect canvas to push his creative boundaries. The bittersweet romance-comedy which opened on Valentine’s Day in 2019 to rave reviews is also Thailand’s first feature film that is shot entirely on Sony’s breakthrough CineAlta VENICE Full-Frame Digital Motion Picture Camera System.
Produced by GDH 559, one of Thailand’s top film studios, Friend Zone’s use of the VENICE as its principal camera was the result of a collaboration between Sony, SWS Group (Thailand’s authorised distributor for Sony broadcast & professional products), Red Snapper (film equipment rental company) and GDH 559.
“Friend Zone’s storyline and multi-country shooting gave us the perfect opportunity to showcase VENICE’s outstanding capabilities especially in challenging low-light conditions, dynamic range and enhanced workflow,” explained K. Suchart of SWS Group.
For Friend Zone’s Director of Photography Kittiwat Semarat (Khun Pan), working with Sony’s VENICE was a dream come true.
“The VENICE comes with 8 built-in glass ND filters to provide more aperture control. Instead of swapping filters, all I had to do was turn the servo-controlled, optical ND filter wheels to keep up with the ever-changing lighting in ever-changing locations.”
Friend Zone was shot in Thailand as well as in nine countries across Asia including the neon-lit streets of Hong Kong and the majestic Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar.
Khun Pan also highlighted the camera’s intuitive control panels as well as its versatility in accepting a wide range of lenses. As a full frame, VENICE is compatible with everything from anamorphic and Super 35mm to spherical and full-frame PL mounts. The PL mount can also be changed to support full-frame E-mount lenses.
DOP Kittiwat Semarat with Sony’s VENICE on a location shoot in Hong Kong for Friend Zone.
Another key area that VENICE scored highly was its revolutionary colour management system which exceeds the Rec.2020 colour space. This gave GDH’s Post Director Khun Fin unmatched control and flexibility when it came to colour grading.
Instead of using the conventional RAW files for post-production, Khun Fin worked with Sony’s established 16-bit X-OCN codec to achieve the exceptional tonal expressions and colours seen in Friend Zone.
Just as VENICE has changed the way movies are made, Sony’s X-OCN codec is changing the world of grading and post-production. This codec reduces transfer times and storage space without sacrificing quality.
“VENICE allowed us to achieve a distinctive look for Friend Zone,” Khun Fin added. “Working with X-OCN certainly helped accelerate our post-production schedule. We released the film in 2K but have saved the master in 6K. From shoot to post-production, VENICE was a star.”
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