Woman screams while a masked stalker chases her in Totally Killer

Hit Amazon Film Totally Killer Shot Using URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF and Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2

Blackmagic Design today announced that the Amazon Prime original hit new film “Totally Killer” was shot using Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 digital film cameras. DP Judd Overton used the cameras, along with DaVinci Resolve Studio, to capture action, splinter unit and slomo shots in the hugely successful time travel horror comedy.

The film, which has quickly become one of the most watched Amazon films of 2023, follows the story of 17 year old Jamie (Kiernan Shipka) and her fight against the infamous Sweet Sixteen Killer. 35 years after his first murder spree, the killer returns to claim another victim, and Jamie accidentally travels back in time to 1987 where she is determined to stop the killer before he can start. Forced to navigate the unfamiliar and outrageous culture of the 1980s, Jamie teams up with her teen mom (Olivia Holt) to take down the killer once and for all before she’s stuck in the past forever.

Judd Overton is an Australian DP based in Los Angeles. Overton has more than 20 years of experience shooting a wide range of films and television shows, including “Young Rock,” “Ghosts” and both seasons of the hit show “Killing It.”

Overton explained how he approached filming both present day and 1987: “‘Totally Killer’ is set in two distinct time periods, and we knew we needed a way to quickly differentiate the looks to keep the audience dialed into the time travel. After much testing with both anamorphic and spherical lenses, we selected a slightly vintage, lower contrast look for 1987 and a super sharp, high contrast and slightly cooler look for the contemporary scenes. The Blackmagic cameras matched so well with the Rec. 709 of the other cameras used, and I had no issue combining the shots in Resolve.”

The film is an almost nonstop mix of comedy and action and includes some of the most iconic images expected from high school life in the 1980s, as well as cinematic looks from the best time travel and horror films. This includes all the bright fashion of the decade as well as classic 80s activities, such as school dodgeball games. One dodgeball scene in particular is pivotal and is a fun mix of action, slow motion and painful actor reactions.

“The dodgeball scene was thoroughly storyboarded and then previsualized by our stunt team, however, there is never enough time in the day, so after shooting out our main cast, we handed over the set and the Blackmagic cameras to camera operator Jeff Zwicker to capture the additional action beats we had on the shortlist. One great shot was when one of the dodgeball teens gets hit and spits out her retainer. We shot that at 4K using the URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF at 98fps so we could retune or ramp it if required,” said Overton.

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The URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF was also particularly useful when dealing with the various 80s fashions throughout the film. Since the moiré inducing repetitive patterns and overuse of stripes were a staple of late 80s clothing, the camera’s OLPF feature prevented moiré and was particularly useful during the shoot.

“With amazing, authentic 80s costumes by designer Patti Henderson, we knew we could have the possibly of moiré, and as we are preliminarily releasing in a streaming service, I wanted to make sure there were no technical issues. The 12K OLPF is great because it adheres to all streaming requests around keeping out moiré,” Overton noted.

A number of scenes in the film take place at a carnival and on a ride called The Quantum Drop, a typical Gravitron ride which double as the time machine. Though unable to shoot the ride in motion due to the high centrifugal force which makes it fun, Overton and his crew were able to use DaVinci Resolve Studio to add varied shakes to the footage, as well as the Blackmagic Design cameras outside of the Gravitron to shoot VFX plates.

“When I first read the Gravitron sequence, I was amazed. I’ve never seen anything like this on film. We used the Blackmagic cameras for VFX plates outside the Gravitron that worked with the greenscreen on stage to show the speed ramping up as the Gravitron / time machine really ramps up and eventually takes off back to the future. Both Resolve and the cameras helped create an amazing scene,” he finished.

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