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posted by - Tuesday, 08 December 2009
Topics Aaton, Film

Joseph White with Penelope on the Set of Mother's DayPhoto by Rebecca Sandulak

Mother’s Day, a dramatic thriller shot in 2perf, has recently finished production using the Aaton Penelope.  Filmed in Winnepeg, from the Director of Saw II, III and IV, Mother’s Day is a heartwarming, bloodcurdling story of a sadistic family who return to their childhood home to terrorize the new home owners and their guests.

In an interesting twist on the industry’s trend toward digital, Cinematographer Joseph White explained how he and Director Darren Lynn Bousman chose to shoot film.

“We shot Repo! The Genetic Opera on Genesis with great results, but we felt that this film lent itself to a more traditional approach. We wanted a more dramatic, dark, stark look, and 35mm just made the most sense. Darren had done three of the Saw films on 35mm, and although we loved using the Genesis system (for a really stylized movie), we were both really happy to get back to 35mm.”

According to Joe, once they settled on 35mm film the decision to shoot 2perf was driven by two complimentary factors.

“The obvious budgetary reasons for sure,” he said “but being able to shoot around 22 minutes on a 1,000′ mag and 9 minutes on a 400′ mag is pretty amazing. With the finer grained film stocks today, it’s really hard to tell the difference between 2perf and 3perf, so in my mind it was a win-win for me and the producers.”

As for camera choice, Joe used both Panavision in 2perf, as well as Aaton Penelope, and found the Penelope perfect for portability.

“We used Panaflex cameras for our studio cameras, but the Penelope was just incredible when shooting handheld, steadicam, or even just putting it on a sandbag with a long lens to get another angle fast – it was an incredibly versatile camera and gave us so many shooting options. It is really the only compact camera that can shoot 2perf.”

“It really is an impressive camera” Joe enthused. “Gorgeous video tap, very quiet, a dream on steadicam and shooting in cars – many car shots would not have been possible without the Penelope. It’s just such a sexy little camera with every bell and whistle you could want, while still getting the fundamentals right. A camera with a real design sensibility – it has so many uses.”

We asked Joe how he’d feel about using Penelope again on his next film project.

“Absolutely, in a heartbeat” he said. “Penelope is my new favorite camera.”

Mother’s Day is Joseph White’s twelfth feature film. Other credits include Shelter, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Equality U, Open House and Café, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Joe graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and received an MFA in Film Production from USC.

Mother’s Day stars Rebecca DeMornay and Jaime King. Joe’s crew on this project included operators Paul Suderman and Ari Robbins, along with AC’s Marcus James and Danny Quesnel.

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