“Grenzeloos Verraad” (“Betrayal”) stands out in the realm of Dutch war movies. Unlike its counterparts, this film, set during World War II, diverges significantly in its production approach, operating on a micro-budget 45 times lower than typical Dutch war films. The narrative delves deep into the complexities of honor and conscience in wartime.
The indie film’s inception is rooted in the vision of Robert Schepers, the Director of Photography (DP). Schepers recounts how an encounter with an actor led to the conception of this ambitious project.
Despite their limited budget and lack of experience in feature and war films, the team’s passion drove what was to be a five-year journey.
Over that period, including three years of weekend-only shoots, the production team’s dedication was unwavering. “We aimed for utmost realism in our movie,” says Schepers.
“Drawing inspiration from films like Sam Mendes’ ‘1917,’ particularly its lighting, and ‘Saving Private Ryan’ for its intense action scenes, we aspired to create a visually compelling narrative.”
That commitment to authenticity saw the film shot in four locations, including Drenthe and parts of Germany, and involved multiple sets.
Principle photography relied on the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 camera with a set of Samyang’s Xeen cine primes (14mm, 24mm, 50mm and 85mm), appreciating the image quality and balance of the pairing, especially for action scenes.
The built-in ND filters and its performance in low-light conditions were particularly advantageous.
“We already liked the images straight out of the URSA Mini 4.6K G2, so we simply added in the lighting approaches we liked from ‘1917’ to achieve our desired look,” reveals Schepers. “There was also a lot of inspiration from ‘Saving Private Ryan’ in terms of the type of scene we were going to do: lots of extras, lots of guns and shooting.
“We wanted the movie to be as big as possible, with real bunkers, tanks and guns. And that’s why the URSA Mini 4.6K G2 was ideal, employing the sensors’ full resolution. It’s a perfectly balanced camera, and with so many action scenes, we loved being able to shoot on the shoulder. The OLED viewfinder was handy in these situations.”
“At the end of the production, we started to shoot more in low light conditions with more scenes at night. Some of the scenes were with vehicles, where you get only the front lighting of the car. The URSA came very handy and was perfect for these conditions.”
“For pickup shots and action sequences, we utilized a Pocket Cinema Camera 6K paired with a Glidecam. This combination excelled in extremely low-light conditions, enhanced by an adapted Sigma Art 18-35mm f1.8 lens.
The rig had to endure with pyrotechnic explosions and the splattering of fake blood. It’s quite astonishing to have filmed a World War II movie and see our gear withstand such rigors and still be in excellent condition.”
In post-production, the flexibility of the Blackmagic RAW workflow facilitated a smooth transition from set to post.
“It was ideal for our needs, affording realtime performance with the camera originals, and the file sizes were manageable. When we imported the footage into DaVinci Resolve, everything functioned seamlessly. Naturally, this made DaVinci Resolve our go-to choice for grading and finishing the movie.”
Distributed by Dutch Filmworks, “Grenzeloos Verraad” is a testament to passion-driven filmmaking. Now available on Netflix in the Netherlands, it invites audiences to experience a unique perspective on World War II cinema.
[source: Blackmagic Design]
- Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 Cinema Camera (B&H, Amazon)
- Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 (B&H)
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