March 9, 2014 kyle.mcconaghy

Celebrating Pagan Holidays

Last summer, I had the privilege of DPing a feature film, Pagan Holidays, from Chicago-based director, Clifton Holmes. Years ago, Holmes adapted a novel from the late Richard Leyman. The acclaimed author loved the film, but it went into production purgatory after Layman’s untimely death.

Considering Holmes’ sketchy track record with dying film collaborators, I was leery being a part of his project. But then I read the script, and thought it was worth the risk. For his second film, Holmes wrote a fantastic twist on the faustian pact. It read like Richard Linklater helmed some hybrid of Rope and Rosemary’s Baby. To capture the dialogue-heavy script with minimal locations, we loved the look and color flexibility of the Blackmagic Raw files. I had filmed a 70s horror-looking short early this year and we wanted a somewhat similar look for this picture. To make it happen we used…

• Zeiss Contax lenses (28, 50, 85mm) + a Tokina 11-16mm
• LEDs and Kino Flows
• Sandisk SSDs

Holmes and I discussed several camera options but, in the end, nothing under $10k had the organic, filmic look of the Blackmagic. The filming experience was great overall. There was never any issues with the Blackmagic Camera ( although there were some recording errors from a rented OWZ SSD card). The fantastic color science of the Blackmagic allowed for unique looks for each scene. With minimal locations but multiple moods, the flat, raw files were necessary in creating unique looks for each environment.

Stay posted for more details regarding its immanent release. The leading actors, James Doherty and Gabe Buetel-Gunn were fantastic and alone are worth the price of admission.