A Letter From Bydgoszcz

By Richard Andry, Vice-President of the AFC

par Richard Andry La Lettre AFC n°260

[ English ] [ français ]

On Monday November 16th, very early in the morning, I left my parisian home to attend the Camerimage Festival in Bydgoczsz, Poland ; to be sure to catch the plane, I arrived three hours before scheduled take-off. My heart was broken and I was on the verge of tears while I read the newspapers and watched the pictures of the faces of the young people massacred in the streets of Paris.

E-messages were arriving from all over the World. Everybody I had met during my professional life was checking-in and manifesting their sympathy. Citing the words of Pierre William Glenn : “I would never have figured out I had so many friends” nor that our country was so widely cherished and considered a great symbol of freedom and democracy. These expressions of solidarity continued in the eyes and the hugs of my international buddies present at Camerimage.
So I will continue the little “story” of my attendance at Camerimage in the form of a Dictionary for Lovers of Camerimage, referring you for more details to the excellent articles and interviews written by François Reumont for the AFC.

A for AFC
Jean-Marie Dreujou, AFC, nominated for an award in the main competition, with Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem, was also a juror for the Polish Film Competition. With Claire Mathon and Patrick Duroux, he was one of the three cinematographers giving the AFC Master Class, moderated by Benjamin B. André Szankowski, AFC, AIP, presented Andrzej Zulawski’s Cosmos. Jean-Noël Ferragut was in charge of editing the AFC Camerimage daily newsletter. He had to cope with a very slow web connection to be able to send the daily newsletter to 7000 persons. In the breach 24h/24 ! Hurrah for Jean-Noël ! (He was saved by an Orange mini WiFi hub found in a remote Bydgoczsz mall !)
My personal mission was to simply be the ambassador of the AFC.

Angénieux, K 5600 Lighting and Transvideo – Aaton-Digital have got together under the banner of AFFECT ; French Association of Manufacturers for Cinema and Television Equipment, in a spectacular booth, which also served as a base and a logistic relay for the AFC to stock our promotional stuff : posters, flyers and cards presenting the Thursday 19th AFC Master Class and the hard copies of the AFC Camerimage 2014 Magazine.
Thales Angénieux were lining an impressive number of zooms in a glass cabinet or mounted on cameras, including the two new anamorphic lenses : Optimo 30-72 A2S and 56-152 A2S, and a superb spherical 25-250 already appreciated by numerous colleagues crowding the booth and welcomed by Jean-Yves Le Poulain and Jacques Bouley, joined later, by Pierre Andurand, President of Thales-Angénieux, and Paulette Dumerc, in charge of international marketing.

In the same way, Transvideo was showing its whole line of displays and its latest small one : Starlite RF with a proven range of 150 meters in a package with the TitanHD2, intriguing the curious who could verify these performances from the restaurant (not forgetting to bring back this little gem to the booth). A true super-tool and a must for drones. Pierre Michoud from Aaton Digital was demonstrating the Cantar X3 (Sound equipment at Camerimage ? Yes indeed !) but I saw him going for dinner with his friend Joan Churchill, ASC, academy-acclaimed documentarist and longtime faithful to the “cat on the shoulder” cinematographer, and her husband Alan Barker, a well-known sound recordist !
I was forgetting Jacques “The Brain” Delacoux….

Our faithful friends Marc Galerne and Julien Bernard of K 5600 were introducing the new Alpha 800W which features new accessories. The Joker-Bug and Alpha lines were also displayed as well as the Evolution Kit. Like all Alphas, the Alpha 800W is precise and controllable, providing a shadow quality for which these accessories are known. Without the lens, the beam can be widened to 120°, producing even light with sharper and crisper shadows. Additionally, the Alpha 800W, as with all Alphas (18K included), can be used pointing straight down. Good true light.
Without any chauvinism, the French cinematographic manufacturing industry was really looking sharp.

AFFECT had invited 19 film students, eleven from Paris (La Femis and Louis-Lumière), 3 from Amsterdam and 5 from Lodz who took due advantage of the opportunities offered to them, loading up on films and master classes, and running around the screening rooms.
It has become the practice that K5600, Transvideo and Aaton-Digital sponsor during Camerimage a seminar monderated by Benjamin B. “The Image Crew, A Practical Seminar” : professionnals discussing set organisation, lighting approaches, on-set image processing & monitoring, and other practical filmmaking topics, with comments & questions from the audience. This seminar was held by :
- John Seale, ACS, ASC,
- Reed Moreno, ASC, director/cinematographer,
- The “huge” (literally and figuratively) Garrett Brown
- James Plannette, gaffer.
The role of each one on the set, the coordination between the different departments, the ways to resolve conflicts, were clearly explained with a lot of personal examples and a bit of Anglo-saxon humour. Lucky students.

Angénieux and Panavision were sponsoring the AFC Master Class (see below for details).

A for ARRI
As in previous years, our associate-member from Munich was very present, sponsoring the event as a strategic partner and hosting a series of workshops, presentations and social events. But first I would like to thank Natasza and Natacha, the charming duo, francophone and polyglot, always so efficient and precious during those big shows ; and the attentive availability of Stephan Schenck, the “big boss”. At their booth we could “touch” the company’s latest technological innovations showcased during the “Arri Big Screen Experience”, that provided an overview of upcoming products such as the Alexa SXT cameras, as well as the rich variety of productions using Alexa and Amira.
The presentation included an update on Arri Rental’s Alexa 65 camera system, which was launched at Camerimage last year and has since been utilized by the world’s leading cinematographers, (including Darius Kondji, AFC, ASC) on a wide range of high-profile movies. On screen,we could listen to our colleague and friend Thomas Hardmaier AFC, reporting his convincing experience with a zoom Ultra Wide UWZ 9,5-18.
At the end of the show Markus made a presentation of the Arri SkyPanel LED an ultra powerful soft light.

British cinematographer Oliver Stapleton, BSC, presented a workshop that focused on lighting and shooting a studio-based exterior set. I regretted not being able to attend it. Having met previously, the man and the “artist” I would have liked to participate in this Master-Class. The set design was an impressive snow scene.

B for Bydgoszcz
Externally and for its weather, Bydgoczsz was like previous years : grey sky and rain, circumstances that Technicolor had anticipated by offering umbrellas at the end of their party .
At the end of the week, a dim sunshine managed to pierce the grayness for the pleasure of a stupefied audience.

B for BSC
A large number of our friends from “across the Channel” had come this year.
Chris Menges, first, received a Lifetime Achievement Award and introduced screenings of his films and met with the festival’s audience.
Going through the hallways or attending the parties, we could meet John de Borman, Oliver Stapelton, Peter Suschitsky, Dick Dance, Nigel Walters and Frances Russell.
Not forgetting the cooperative and friendly Alan Lowne and “the genius” Ronny Prince, of the British Cinematographer Magazine.
I also met Oona Menges, Chris’daughter. We shared the experience of having been, in the past, assistant to our now common friend : Robert Alazraki AFC. She is a cinematographer and a wonderful sharp person, generous and full of energy and I had a great time conversing with her.

B for Brown
Garrett Brown, the “father” of the Steadicam, was one of the big “stars” of the 2015 master classes. Pedagogue of genius, incomparably-talented showman associating humour to his expertise, he is an an idol to attending students and others. I saw Matthew Labatique, ASC, in the attentive audience. One of these days, we must invite him to held a workshop/master class, in Paris, he has so many interesting things to teach us.

C for Camerimage
For a week, Camerimage is the world capital of “cinematography”, and the majority of colleagues you meet in the nightly parties, a glass of red wine or vodka in the hand, agree : “It is the place to be for cinematographers”.

C for Chalons
When I attend Camerimage I cannot help but have nostalgic thoughts for the past Festival de l’Image de Film de Chalons-sur-Saône (Chalons Film Festival) such a big similarity between the two of them..

C for Canon
Among several seminars sponsored by Canon, “How to make a one-shot long feature” was held by Sturla Brandth Grovlen, DFF (awarded this year, Silver Frog for Rams), from his experience on Victoria : a 140’ single shot, filmed with an EOC C300
Another seminar was showing how EOS C300 II, EOS C100 II, XC10 were working together.
Finally, “Shooting in the dark for Cinematographers” was introducing the impressive ME20F-SH, “Which sees in complete darkness”.

D for Doyle
The first person I recognized when I arrived in the Opera Nova was Chris Doyle, he warmly hugged me, making me forget my sorrow. I cheered with him in the evening at the Technicolor party. He is one of my “idols” such an artist, such an adventurer ! What health ! Again, Chris, Cheers !

E for Ed
Another “legend”, Ed Lachman, ASC, was the second cinematographer I met on the first day, matching, our sadness with a compassionate smile. A great man and a talented artist. I am pleased he received the Golden Frog for his remarkable work on Todd Haynes’s Carol, which I saw previously in Cannes. He is a front-runner for the Oscar. We exchanged a few words in the evening, in the hurly burly of the Technicolor party.
The day after I met him when he was leaving the main theater after the screening of Red Spider, he asked me : “What do you think of it ?” I, unfortunately had not seen this movie, “It is one of the most beautiful films I ‘ve seen…” I trust him, I will see it ASAP.

F for Frog
Usually used by the British to designate one of our compatriots but at Camerimage, it’s the name of the trophy you receive when you win a prize.

F for Fines
When you cross the streets in Bydgoszcz outside of the pedestrian crossings, you risk fines. So, as it is almost a one kilometer walk between two of them, you cross anyway, but take care, the policemen do their job seriously.

G for Grenouille
Gold, Silver or Bronze…the trophy, subtitled in French.

H for Helicopter Girls
Katya Nelhams-Wright and Emma Boswell, both former documentary makers, founders of The Helicopter Girls, held a seminar sponsored by Arri. Two hours of practical demonstrations, outside the Opera Nova. An Alexa Mini was flown on a drone and controlled with Arri WCU-4 wireless hand unit, capturing sweeping aerial shots of two actors performing a scene on the bridge over the river. The wind was very strong and Stephan Schenk might seem a little concerned for the camera ! It was a conclusive experiment followed by one hour spent in the seminar room, providing a general introduction to rigging the Alexa Mini for gimbals and drones.

K as K 5600 Lighting
(See above : AFFECT)

L for Lee Filters
Ralph Young with his son Adam and fellow Joe, our faithful associate members “Made in UK” always cooperative and ready to help the diffusion of our promotional materials for the AFC Master Class. Great spot for our poster. Thank you dear friends. You are as marvellous and generous as your products.

L for Leica
On the booth of CW Sonderoptik, where I said “Hello !” to Rainer Hercher et Tommaso Vergallo, you could admire :
- The Summilux-C and Summicron-C lenses.
- The completely new Leica SL body (w PL Mount),
- The M 240
- The Monochrom 246 (w PL Mount).
A conference called “CW Seminar - Moving Images with Leica Cine Lenses” was organized.
Among the programmed movies featuring these different lenses, we can cite Love, directed by Gaspar Noé, awarded best 3D film 2015 (DoP : Bruno Debie, SBC).

L for Lumiere
DMG Lumiere, a young french manufacturer, specialised around the SL1, their LED fixture, that enjoyed real success on the market. Three agreeable brothers.

M for Marechal Electric
On Thursday morning, an initiation with the representatives for Eastern Europe of our associate member Marechal Electric : Ralf Rothkopf (Export Manager) and Witold Rutkowski (in charge of products in Poland). After a short briefing to expose the requirements of film making and the movie industry, we visited the exhibit area of the festival, where they met the technical actors of the film industry. They received a lot of information, and a long list of contacts in Eastern Europe, and a lot of “homework” to do.

M for Marek
Marek Zydowicz is the manager of Camerimage and a member of the selection commitee. He just had recovered from surgery and walked with a slight limp.
Quite open this year he told me : “With the AFC we must work together more”, I answered : “Yes that would be a good idea, we have to talk about it. Maybe during the Micro Salon ?”

M for AFC Master Class
On Thursday 19th at 5 pm, at the entrance of the screening room n°7 in the Multi Kino Theater, there was a long queue for the AFC Master Class. Many were refused because the number of attendants was strictly limited to the number of seats, and checked by the delivery of an equal number of tickets. The program, named “Scenes”, featuring Jean-Marie Dreujou with Wolf Totem, Claire Mathon with L’Inconnu du lac, and Patrick Duroux presenting two highly-ranked commercials, including the magnificent “Cartier” (with the leopard) was balanced and complementary. Some technical problems delayed the start, but the audience, with a majority of students, was patient. Finally it started, but with a laptop resolution screened on a 15 meters screen.
This was due to a problem of connection between the laptop and the screen- the planned HDMI did not work so they had to connect “in extremis” in VGA !
For me (and probably for us) that kind of thing is always difficult to “swallow” but the students who are more used to mediocre screening conditions were very concentrated, following the show of our three colleagues, even if we could hardly discern their faces in the dark..

This screening room is part of a complex in a regular commercial theater, 15 minutes walk from the Opera Nova, the flagship of Camerimage. During the festival it is used by different juries (some complained, for example the 3D jury). If we would decide to repeat this exercise,, we should anticipate all these problems and ask the Festival for a better level of technical support.
On this subject, the exhibitors made a petition to the Polish Authorities, asking for a more important government investment to improve the technical conditions and capabilities of the festival, and to perpetuate it, perhaps in another town in Poland.

Some students, were enthusiastic, questioning our colleagues at the end of the event, and having dinner with them.
The AFC Master Class was sponsored by Angénieux and Panavision.

N for NATO
O for OTAN (French subtitle for North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
As happens every year at the same time as Camerimage, the Joint Force training Centre of NATO located in Bydgoszcz organizes a big meeting, with all the accompanying inconvenience : saturation of hotels – I arrived at the hotel at the same time as 150 French soldiers were getting out of three buses –, Reduction of the availability of seats in the planes, and raising of prices. Perhaps it would be better to change the dates of the Festival ?

P for Panavision and Panalux
They are two of our associate members, and major players in Camerimage and occupy an important part in the exhibit area. They are very friendly and their booth is not far from the bar. Camerimage attendees had a chance to visit Panavision and see an array of optics including a sneak preview of the new T Series anamorphic lenses, which are designed exclusively for digital cameras. Also on display was an expanded offering of Primo 70 lenses, which are optimized for large sensor digital cameras.
Additionally, festival goers were able to get up close with the Millennium XL “Millennium Falcon” camera used by Daniel Mindel BSC, ASC, on Star Wars : The Force Awakens, and the Ultra Panavision 70 camera and lenses used by Robert Richardson, ASC on The Hateful Eight. Olivier Affre and Patrick Leplat, executives of Panavision and Panalux Paris, joined the Panavision Task force before the Panavision’s Cinematography Workshop, which featured demonstrations from Markus Förderer (Stonewall), Eduard Grau, AEC (Suffragette) and Ellen Kuras, ASC (A Little Chaos) shooting various scenes to compare spherical, anamorphic and larger sensor formats. And later in the day, we heard from Panavision’s Dan Sasaki, VP of Optical Engineering, on the technical and artistic characteristics of Panavision’s anamorphic and large format lenses, including Ultra Panavision 70. The two workshops were moderated by Benjamin B.

P for Panasonic
At the Panasonic booth, we were welcome by our friend Luc Bara, presenting the Panasonic Varicam 35 with its new Codexrecorder that enables recording in RAW
format. The use of this camera, in a 5000 ISO exterior night mode, with a full moon allows “reading in the skies”.
Varicam seminars were offered at Camerimage with renowned guests : Paul Mackie (UK), Matthias Bolliger (cinematographer, Germany) and Nick Dance (cinematographer, BSC). “With the dual-native ISO function, the Varicam 35 is getting to be my 5000 ISO low-light-baby” (Matthias Bolliger). “The camera has a very filmic look with subtle definition, not harsh like some of the other 4K cameras. I think the dual native ISO settings of 800 and 5000 are a game changer” (Nick Dance, BSC). “Varicam 35/4K enters Digital Cinema with a 4K Bang… adding a clean 5000 ISO in the process” (Theo van de Sande, ASC).

P for Party
Where we meet, late in the evening, after the last screenings, glass in hand with one or more of an average of 500 guests…. Arri party, Panavision party, Panasonic party, etc. And more intimate, the AFFECT party for students, teachers and selected cinematographers, with among them our dear friend Timo Heinanen, FSC.
Creating interesting interchanges between youth and experience.

S for Sony
The Sony booth is always crowded out for it looks like a bar counter (but they don’t serve any drink). It’s in the hallway in what I call the Japanese zone (Canon, Panasonic, Sony).
Visitors could get hands on at the Sony booth with the PXW-FS7, F65, PMW-F55 connected to the BVM-X300 Trimaster EL™ OLED monitor on tripod, PMW-F5 and BVM-X300 PMW-F5 HDR content. Plus, the Alpha 7s and the new PXW-FS5 on tripod with shoulder kit CBK-55 were also available.
The screening of The Perfect Guy was followed by a seminar with Peter Simonite about his experience of the CineAlta F65 : “Most of the film was shot on the Sony F65, I chose it for its light sensitivity and really vivid colour”.
A second workshop explored High Dynamic Range (HDR) with Sony’s Pablo Garcia from the DMPCE.

Three-time Academy Award winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, AIC, ASC, is currently working with Woody Allen on his recently announced first ever digital shoot. Storaro has dedicated his professional work to digital technologies, with 4K being the latest example of this. The F65 has long been the choice among filmmakers around the world, but it’s the 4K capability which attracted Storaro to the CineAlta camera..
He received, this year at camerimage an Outsanding Cinematic Duo Award with director Majid Majidi for Muhammad : The Messenger of God.

S for (Web)Site AFC
During all the meetings with numerous personalities, from art and industry, coming from all over the world, I often heard expressions of admiration for the quality, the richness of the content and the dynamics of the AFC website.

V for Vantage
On the Vantage booth, one could meet Peter Märtin and Wolfgang Bäumler, in the middle of an impressive collection of lenses, and among them the famous Vantage ONE T1. The Vantage booth makes me think of a jeweller’s shop with all these beautiful lined lenses. Alexander Bscheidl had chosen to stay with his team at the Parisian HQ.

W for Walters
My dear friend Nigel Walters, BSC, fresh retiree from Imago presidency, was a juror for the documentary film competition and a “jolly good fellow” during the parties.

W for Whittaker
Hugh Whittaker, the “Boss” of Panavision UK, welcomed us royally, as usual, for the duration of the festival, and allowed us to install the poster of the AFC Master class at the most strategic spot of the exhibit area. Thank you Hugh. (See above : Panavision Panalux)

Y for Young
See above : Lee Filters

Z for Zeiss
On the Zeiss booth, one could find the following sets of lenses :
- Milvius (new set of 6 lenses)
- Loxia (2 lenses)
- Otus (3 lenses, including of one the most recent 28 mm)
- Compact Prime (set of 15 lenses)
- Master prime (set of 15 lenses)
- Master Anamorphiques (set of 7 lenses)
- Compact Zoom (3 zooms).

Zeiss organized a workshop on the theme : “A lens solution for every application or budget”. The Arri/Zeiss Master Prime lenses and Arri/Zeiss Master Anamorphic lenses have great optical performance. Arri/Zeiss Ultra Prime lenses have the widest focal range of prime lenses. Innovative products like the Zeiss Compact Prime CP.2 and Compact Zoom CZ.2 lenses deliver high image quality in a winning combination for HD video and cinematography. They offer great flexibility via an interchangeable mount system.

That concludes the presentation of my Lover’s Dictionary of Camerimage, also called “holiday work” by Eric Guichard, our treasurer. I hope it will entice you the next time to come and participate to such a compulsory event in a cinematographer’s agenda. Do widzenia.