Taking a dolly shot on the panther, Director of Cinematography Sung-Kuk Lee follows a man (Kwan-Jae Ko) from the back to take a tracking shot. (Credit: Courtesy of Hyung-Suk Lee)
Director Hyung-Suk Lee and director of cinematography Sung-Kuk Lee shot the short film Two Boys and a Sheep with funds from the Korean Film Council’s Production Support Program for Independent Films. For several reasons, the filmmakers chose to use 2-perf KODAK VISION3 500T Color Negative Film 5219, making it the first Korean production in that format.
“The film is about two diametrically-opposed lifestyles, homosexuality and heterosexuality,” explains Sung-Kuk. “We wanted to portray these lifestyles with the dramatic space they deserve, and this would be almost impossible in a digital format. Only 35mm film accurately conveys the emotions of the characters, and allows audiences not merely to see or hear the movie, but also to experience it.
“The movie had to be filmed right before sunset with the unstable glow from the sun, and we knew that 5219 Film would provide the appropriate dynamic range,” adds the cinematographer. “We attempted to use natural light as much as possible with the correct exposure, which is one of the advantages of the film format. By enhancing shadow detail and by setting highlighting around faces, we accentuated the skin tones to describe the emotional state of each character. Using different lenses (a wide-angle lens for outdoor shooting and a telephoto for indoors), we were able to introduce variation into the shots, so that despite the fact that all the ‘action’ takes place in one day, the audience is engaged by visual clues.”
The two creatives agreed that shooting in the 2-perf format gave them advantages in terms of both budget and time. Sung-Kuk says, “We went through test shooting during pre-production and concluded that there is little difference in image quality between the 2-perf and 4-perf format. You might think there’s an inevitable frame loss since 2-perf is done with half the existing frame, but by setting frame loss to zero, enormous financial resources can be saved. In other words, choosing 2-perf gave us the flexibility to spend on other production elements such as production design, lighting, crew and actors.
“The 2-perf format also reduces the number of roll changes, thus reducing loading time,” he continues. “This meant we were free from the ‘rolling out’ effect that can interfere with the actors’ emotional flow.”
The filmmakers point out that one of the last shots of the movie was also one of the most important. They wanted to shoot it handheld and it was a long take–longer than one minute–which tracked five characters and an animal. Since the 2-perf format fits twice as many widescreen images on a given length of 35mm film, slashing raw stock and processing costs in half compared to conventional 4-perf 35mm formats, the filmmakers report they felt free to set as many takes for this scene as needed because the 2-perf format was so cost effective.
A DI was completed using scanned 4K images that were recorded out to film. Two Boys and a Sheep will be submitted to various international film festivals as a 35mm print.
“Only 35mm film accurately conveys the emotions of the characters, and allows audiences not merely to see or hear the movie, but also to experience it.”