Set Report: Sky's Das Boot

KFTV talks to DoP Armin Franzen about using Red Monstro to capture the horrors of war in 8K for Sky series Das Boot

By Andy Fry 20 Jul 2021

Set Report: Sky's Das Boot

Armin Franzen served as DoP on series three of Das Boot, a spectacular 8K TV series, inspired by the Oscar and Golden Globe nominated film by Wolfgang Petersen and Lothar-Günther Buchheim’s bestselling novel of the same name.

Co-produced by Bavaria Fiction for Sky Studios, in partnership with Samsung, the World War 2-based series consists of three over-lapping and interlinked storylines - a submarine cat and mouse chase in the North Atlantic, an espionage plot in neutral Lisbon and an unfolding drama in the North German city of Kiel.

“For Series three, it was important to depict the nightmare of war,” says Franzen, “in a way that really connected emotionally with the audience. But series three also sees some characters really questioning the conflict, and starting to long for a world without war. So we also needed to capture a sense of romance, of characters set against intimate backdrops.” 

Franzen has shot a lot with Alexa Minis but “the decision had been made to shoot Das Boot 3 in 8K, which limited the alternatives in terms of cameras. It came down to the Red Helium with a standard sensor or the Red Monstro with large format sensor. After testing it became clear that the LF opened up more creative possibilities, particularly around depth of field. Using the large format gave the production a more realistic tone and enhanced the close relationship between character and space that we were seeking. After testing, we also found that Monstro gave us a more organic look - not as crisp or hyper-realistic as the Helium.”

The desire for a modern, organic look also swayed Franzen towards Zeiss Supreme Prime lenses: “They were the best creative choice for us, but also very practical. When you have two units shooting at the same time with four cameras you need access to a lot of lenses.”

Other advantages of the Red included the fact it is small, light and very good for shooting Raw, says Franzen. And what were the toughest moments of the 100-day shoot – which took place from October to March? “Probably night shoots in the water tank in Malta, where the wind and weather were really challenging. But it’s our job to come up with solutions.”

This interview piece is part of our comprehensive 'Special Report about the latest Cameras and Lenses', which you can read here....

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