Changing the mood with Sumire Primes
Shooting mostly daytime interiors meant devising a sophisticated lighting plan to create shifts in mood from scene to scene. "I wanted the colour temperature to follow the same emotional journey as the story," explains Tania. "We start out nice and warm and peachy, go to a very neutral territory, which then cools off and becomes harder and a bit bluer. I knew these lenses would help me achieve that in conjunction with the lighting plan that I set up with my gaffer."
These three different looks equate to the three stages of Cynthia and John's relationship – the first days of love, a plateauing and the eventual breakdown. Working mainly with three Sumire Prime lenses – a Canon CN-E35mm T1.5 FP X, CN-E50mm T1.3 FP X and CN-E85mm T1.3 FP X, Tania delicately played with their fast apertures to create three distinct cinematic feels to match the couple's shifting emotions.
"In most cases, the Sumire Primes open up to T1.3 or T1.5, and at that point they become very soft," says Tania. "Depth of field gets much shallower, but on the large format it becomes very bloomy, and the quality of the skin is really gentle. That, coupled with the lighting I was planning to use, gives a very romantic, rosy feel. I shot wide open to get that look for the first stage of the film.
"As you close down the aperture, the lens cut gets sharper and more high contrast. You don't have to close it down far – it starts to crisp up just past T2.8. By the time you get to the exteriors [towards the end of the film] we're using T2.8 to T4 to get that hard realism I was trying for."
To reflect the energy of the early stages of the relationship, the first scenes were shot handheld, before transferring the camera to a tripod in the middle, and then introducing some slider moves. "The sands were shifting," says Tania. "By the end there's a lot more movement – they're never standing still."