Scene from Ricky Rapper. Credit Jolle Onnismaa
Ricky Rapper and Cool Wendy is an action-packed family musical comedy about friendship, loneliness and tolerance. Shot in Finland by production company Kinotar Oy, this is the third installment of a highly successful series which is massively popular in that country. The first feature, Ricky Rapper, was shot on Super 16mm film, but the two sequels, Ricky Rapper and the Bicycle Thief and Ricky Rapper and Cool Wendy have both been shot on 35mm. In Camera spoke to the DP, Timo Heinänen, FSC, to find out why he made this choice.
“Before we shot the first feature” says Heinänen, “I had extensive discussions with the producers, Lasse Saarinen and Rimbo Salomaa, and we all agreed that it needed to be shot on film because of the desired style with a lot of bright colors and summer light. The feature needed good skin tones and a latitude that’s only possible with film as it was shot during the summer months with hot skies and bright white clouds. Color reproduction was very important as the wardrobe and production design involved bright colors. For this series we were after a colorful high-key style film where summer light is never white but has a slight warmth in it.”
The film stocks used were KODAK VISION3 250D Color Negative Film 5207 and KODAK VISION3 50D Color Negative Film 5201. Heinänen says that these stocks were just perfect for the colors and with just a slight degraining made the intercutting of the stocks a dream. He says that the biggest relief was with the reds and pinks which were not oversaturated and washed but very natural indeed.
Producer Lasse Saarinen adds that “there are not significant differences on expenses between shooting on film and shooting on digital. As a producer, I prefer film for two reasons; firstly the quality is better, the look of the end result is more pleasing to the eye than a digital picture which is often too sharp. Secondly the whole crew somehow seems to be more focused when they hear film rolling. Using film gives the crew and the actors a better idea of the expenses involved rather than saving information to a hard disk because it is ‘free’. We always tend to shoot more with digital material and this actually makes it more expensive in the end.”
DP Timo Heinänen totally agrees with this analysis saying that “people’s energies seem to be much more concentrated when film is rolling; actors in particular seem to give better performances. As Professor of Cinematography at ELO Film School Helsinki, I still extol the virtues of film to all my students. They love its grain (which they tend to look for all the time), its energy and its magical format,” he concluded.