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DP Julio Costantini on ARRI technology behind Netflix' Confessions of an Invisible Girl

27/10/2021

Based on the Brazilian best-selling novel by author Thalita Rebou as, Confessions of an Invisible Girl (original title: Confiss es de uma garota exclu da ) tells the tale of Tet , a teenage girl who suffers from bullying at school. Produced by Panor mica Filmes for Netflix, it is a coming-of-age story centered around the girl after she moves to her grandparents and starts attending a new school. There she makes friends and enemies, and has to prove herself innocent of an accusation that could change her life.

After Just Another Christmas, Confessions of an Invisible Girl is the second Netflix production for cinematographer Julio Costantini. However his creative talent, combined with a pragmatic embrace of technology, predict continued future success.

Director Bruno Garotti, who has helmed numerous projects derived from literature, wanted to utilize fresh references while staying faithful to this story. He also wanted to play with animation and split screen throughout the film. It was a challenge for Costantini, who set out to employ the latest techniques, creating an efficient workflow from start to finish. He tells us a little about his approach, and relies on top talent, state-of-the-art technology, and the latest workflows.

Copyright Netflix

Confessions of an Invisible Girl tells the tale of Tet , a teenage girl who suffers from bullying at school.

Julio, this is the first time you've worked with director Bruno Garotti. What was your approach for Confessions of an Invisible Girl ?

Yes, this has been my first collaboration with director Bruno Garotti and I have to say that it has been a great experience. Bruno is so focused on getting good performances from the actors. It all starts with the amazing cast he always brings to his projects. As a cinematographer, I believe that the best thing we can do, in regards to actors, is to respect, protect, and gently try to enhance their performances while trying not to interfere too much, technically speaking.

We wanted to have a slightly different approach for the different worlds that were portrayed in the film such as Tet 's school, or the elderly grandmother's apartment, which was located in Rio's historic Copacabana neighborhood.

From the beginning, we knew that this film would need camera movements that would follow the actors closely, most of them young, and be able to adapt to their improvised moments.

Confessions of an Invisible Girl was shot during the height of the pandemic in Brazil. How did this affect your work?

Shooting a feature film during a worldwide pandemic is no easy task. Working with the production safety team during preproduction, shoot, and postproduction, we had to respect strict protocols, get PCR tested all the time, and pay attention to every detail in regard to Covid protection. And of course this is all very important. Also, filming is always intense, but during a pandemic, your concentration needs to be doubled.

Something interesting to mention is the fact that this film has been color graded remotely. Color grading was done by Julia Bissiliat, resident colorist, as well as Francisco Neto (known as Chiquinho), senior colorist and postproduction supervisor, both from DOT Post House. It's been an honor to work alongside them; finding the best solutions for each moment of the story. In fact our work started much earlier, during preproduction, when we gathered remotely with the Netflix team in Brazil, Laura Futuro and Bernardo Caron. We discussed the whole pipeline all the way to the end, covering live grading on set, dailies, deliveries, but also creative choices and how to better achieve them.

Copyright Laura Campanella / Netflix

Key grip Luciano Oliva Coqueiro (top) and DP Julio Costantini on the set of Confessions of an Invisible Girl. The film was shot during the height of the pandemic in Brazil.

Employing the latest industry techniques is really becoming the norm in Brazil. For example, it's exciting to see the AMPAS Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) making its way onto most sets. Why did you decide to use it on this project?

On my first Netflix project, Just Another Christmas, we had the best experience working with the ACES color system. I felt that this project would benefit a lot from it too. It's so vast in terms of possibilities and also helps you keep the entire workflow aligned. After capturing your image in ARRIRAW, you have to expect to work with a color space that carries the biggest amount of information up to the end. And ACES does that. The details that we found in terms of color nuances during post, especially in High Dynamic Range (HDR), was impressive.

A quick note, although shooting ARRIRAW may seem impossible for some productions, in terms of data management and storage, using High Density Encoding (HDE) can make it a reality. And this was the case for us. We did some tests during preproduction and found that we were able to playback the original files in real time and save almost 40% of storage when using HDE, which by the way is absolutely lossless. We were really happy to use it on the film.

It seems you're comfortable working in HDR. But how did that affect the shoot?

This has been my second project finished in HDR and I'm already a big fan of the process. The color nuances and the contrast range that you're able to work with make me always want to finish in HDR from now on. It reminds me that it's not always a matter of pixels or resolution, but of color depth and multiplicity of available tones. And that's what HDR provides to your image.

I can only say that the process affected the shoot positively. Once you have the possibility of HDR monitoring, even if only the DIT near set has access to it, you can check all the details while still on set, take better care of skin tones and highlights, etc.

Her
LINK: https://www.arri.com/news-en/dp-julio-costantini-on-arri-technology...
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