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24.10.2018 Nick Thomas

Making of X-T3 "A Memento of Life"

When I was approached by Fujifilm to work on a project with a yet to be released camera I reached out to my good friend Reamonn Joshee who is a writer, director and actor to see if he would be interested in collaborating. He had a couple completed scripts and after reading them “A Memento Of Life” seemed like the perfect fit – it was the story of a photographer and the evolution of portrait photography. Reamonn and I, along with Producer Bonita Schoenleber got to work with a timeline of three weeks to complete the film.

A Memento Of Life was an ambitious project given that it was a period piece with a lot of extras requiring wardrobe and we needed a location that was time period accurate. We approached Heritage Park in Calgary, Alberta with the idea and they were happy to be involved. Due to the cost of the location, we only had 8 hours to film in a 10-hour shoot day, so we knew we had to be highly organized and efficient in our approach.

The FUJIFILM X-T3 with battery grip was rigged to a rod mount system and equipped with an Atomos Shogun to record the 10 Bit 4:2:2 output in ProRes HQ. I wanted to capture the highest quality output as possible from the camera. It was unfortunate that even though the X-T3 can record 4K DCI size images the recorder was limited to 4K UHD so there was a slight crop on the externally recorded files. I also knew that I wanted to deliver the final film in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio so I had frame line markers turned on so I would be composing for the final output. Everything was shot with the lowest ISO possible of 640 and a frame rate 23.98 fps. FUJIFILM also provided a wide range of lenses but I only ended up using the FUJINON MKX18-55mmT2.9 lens because we had to move quickly through each of our setups and working on a zoom lens allowed this. The MKX18-55mmT2.9 also covered the focal lengths I knew I wanted to work with – I usually prefer prime lenses but the zoom allowed us to move quickly and not take time away from our limited day to change lenses and being a cinema lens worked perfectly with our remote follow focus.

The rest of the camera package included a Teradek Bolt 1000 and Tilta Nucleus-M wireless remote follow focus which was powered by Core SWX Hypercore 150Wh batteries on a gold mount battery plate. The Teradek Bolt 1000 was feeding a SmallHD 703 monitor for my 1st AC to pull focus and a SmallHD 1703 HDR monitor for the director. I recorded everything in F-Log to preserve the most dynamic range possible and I knew that I wanted to have the film professionally color graded. For the grade I reached out to colorist Asa Fox of The Mill in Los Angeles and he did an amazing job giving the film it’s final look.

I was also able to get an original music score for the film by reaching out to a friend of mine, Chelsea Kindrachuk. We talked about the story and theme of the film and she came up with three different tracks that helped set the mood and tone for each act. The final sound design was completed by Dary Barclay of 6 Degrees who did an amazing job creating a world of sound for the film, adding sound to scenes that had nothing to work with in the beginning.

There were a lot of volunteers who came on board to support the project including The Camera Store, Glean Productions and the entire cast and crew. A huge thanks to everyone involved with the film.

Nick Thomas
Director Of Photography

Watch “A Memento of Life”