GFX100S: The Making of "Unseen" x Turgut Çetinkaya

The Story of “Unseen”

We live in an era in which directors and cinematographers have a plethora of equipment options to choose from. The GFX100S is not only 102 mega-pixel photographic camera but also a video camera that can record 4K-10 bit footage and it is quite easy to switch from photography to video interfaces in a matter of seconds. This makes it stand out among the similar products in this market.

When I was initially assembling the ‘Unseen’ project, one of the first things I realized was that I wanted to be mobile and move around easily with a small crew and little equipment. In projects like this, pushing myself and the camera to its limits is not only pleasurable, but also an inevitable part of a professional evolution to grow into a stronger, more creative, more resourceful cinematographer.

As a cinematographer; I benefited from its large sensor to a great extent, and took advantage of the compact body of GFX100S when I needed to navigate and to carry it around easily. Even at wide angles, it is a great camera for creating a cinematic texture thanks to the shallow depth of field unique to medium format cameras. In fact, these two features, along with its high ISO performance were my top three reasons for choosing the GFX100S in this film.

As I was navigating through the ‘Unseen’ project, I aimed to film the natural environments we were in, in the most realistic way possible -exactly the way the human eye saw them. Therefore, instead of using artificial lighting equipment, I only used natural sunlight and fire as lighting. In situations where we have limited resources, the qualities of the camera produce an alternative route where we can still produce high-quality footage as such.

One of the biggest challenges I face as a cinematographer is capturing the colors of a frame in real time and passing it onto the viewers as is. Color represents life. Among the many great qualities of the GFX100S is the down-sampling feature, which allows the camera sensor to reduce the recorded image resolution from 11K to 4K in video recording. This allows extra room in the post-production processes for color correction.

Contrary to popular belief, the visual arts are not only about what we see on the screen. A successful cinematographer or director will give the viewer a sense of what a breeze might feel like or how the surface of a rock might feel to the touch. When I’m on set I like to use a hands-on approach, hold the camera, touch the surface. The IBIS/OIS option of the GFX100S permits me to conduct handheld filming with as little extra equipment as possible. 

When we are on set, the conditions of the physical environment we are in can vary and even surprise us in how fast it can change. In the ‘Unseen’ project we were filming under difficult circumstances. The GFX100S’ body which was designed to outlast tough weather conditions, enabled us to film in different situations including vey high and very low temperatures and levels of precipitation, without any problems.

Another great quality of the GFX100S is the face and eye detection feature. By using this feature effectively, we can capture the movement in the subject or the actor sharply, without losing any frames throughout the process.

A camera like the GFX100S helps filmmakers like me in capturing a story in its natural essence. It lets us see all the details, senses, colors, motions, and the feeling that comes with them. When I use a camera like this, I am not only recording but living the story and I hope to let others live it with me.

Turgut Cetinkaya

Watch “Unseen”