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RED SPIRAL: A short film by Lorena Colmenares (Work in progress)


I had the opportunity to work this last term as counsellor to the graduate thesis of two students of the Media School of Universidad de Los Andes: Lorena Colmenares (director) and Ever Durán (photographer). Both had worked together in the short film "Nueve Nudos" (Nine Knots) selected at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, the Chicago Latino Film Festival and winner of a Special Mention at the Montreal World Film Festival/Festival des films du Monde de Montreal-FFM..

Nueve Nudos

The search for black and white language was preserved in both works. However, “Espiral Roja” (Red Spiral) has a strong influence on the current political situation in Venezuela, supporting its narrative in two works of great relevance: “The semiotics of passions, from the states of things to the states of mind” (1994) of Algirdas Julius Greimas and Jacques Fontaille, which establishes the interaction between surrounding reality (state of things) and the participant subject (state of
emotions) and on the other hand, the film IDA ( 2013) directed by Paweł Pawlikowskiy photographed by Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lynzewski.

IDA manages to convey the visual sensation of hopelessness, disappointment and collective frustration which usually accompanies repressive regimes. The particular thing about this meaningful creation is that it creates an “emotional environment” as described by Greimas and Fontaille, (XXI Editors, 1994, p. 28), “capturing the overall effects of meaning as a fragrance of semionarrative tools put into discourse, thus recognizing that passions are not exclusive properties of individuals, but properties of the whole discourse ", i.e. the film IDA, describes a national sentiment, and therefore the comprehensive notion of the short film “Red Spiral”.

An ARRI ALEXA plus camera was used for the IDA film in the "ARRI RAW, 4:3 Aspect Ratio" format. Carl Zeiss Ultra Prime lenses optics were used, which had aperture up to “T 1.5.” One of the reasons why this equipment was used was its 12-bit color depth, allowing the recordings to be made in color and then taken to black and white by applying a grayscale color correction using the Davinci Software Resolve.

The camera has 14+ stops of dynamic range over its entire exposure range, when it combines a manufacturer base sensitivity up to 3200ASA. It is the only camera in the market that has a CMOS, which combines the principles of the analogue process of capturing light with a digital system, with sensor "Alexa's ALEV III", with grey medium located at 32% and not 18%. To know more about the photography of IDA please visit http://adfcine.org/sys/pelicula-ida/

“Red Spiral” used the SONY a7 cine gamma 4 camera, later processed in Davinci Resolve. Using a monochrome node of the RBG channels and applying node layers that affect colors before the monochrome node to work the grayscale. These steps are clearly explanied in the article ‘Better Black and White in DaVinci Resolve’ published in Premiumbeat

There are many work methods that range from LUTs direct application to separating the image into three color channels, as explained by David Torcivia in an article titled Beyond desaturation: Converting Color to Black and White.’ These techniques underline the idea of stepping back from obtaining a black and white image from the simple desaturation of the image.

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