All posts in Black and White

B&W Strikes Again: U2 Music Video, RED EPIC Monochrome and Mark Romanek

U2 Invisible (music video shot on RED Epic Monochrome)

Bono in mono? Apparently so! Irish rock legend (and sellouts?) U2 have a new song called INVISIBLE. And they got the mighty Mark Romanek to direct it. In black and white. On seven, yes, seven RED Epic Monochrome cameras! (I had written earlier about Romanek’s return to music videos after a 10-year sabbatical with JayZ’s PICASSO BABY, shot by Jody Lee Lipes. In keeping with Romanek’s growing obsession with multi-cam or—if you want to get all philosophical—capturing the ephemeral nature of an artist’s performance, no less than eight cameras were utilized on that project!).

So what’s special about INVISIBLE? Well, a couple of things. For starters, Philippe Le Sourd is the man responsible for the beautiful cinematography in this music video; an important fact that seems to have been lost in the ebb and flow of the Mark Romanek lovefest (don’t worry, I’m a fan!). Many months ago on CineBlog, I had discussed Le Sourd and his collaboration with Wong Kar-wai on GRANDMASTERS, for which he deservedly received an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography. Will he win? Whatever the outcome, it is a surety that more mainstream directors will be pinning for this talented French cinematographer, who rose up the ranks up from Darius Khondji’s camera assistant in the 90s to director of photographer with his breakout film A GOOD YEAR directed by a guy called Ridley Scott…

Philippe Le Sourd (cinematographer)

Philippe Le Sourd (cinematographer) on the set of Wong Kar-wai’s GRANDMASTERS

The second thing you ought to know about INVISIBLE is how it was made. Philippe Le Sourd and Mark Romanek used seven RED Epic Monochrome cameras to capture U2’s concert performance in pristine black and white and do justice to Marshmallow Laser Feast/ Prettybird’s light concept. Image wise, the Monochrome’s low-light capability and higher *practical* resolution did the rest. Eh? I will now explain the confounding details to you eager tech-heads!

What is this new RED EPIC Monochrome camera?
The 5K EPIC Monochrome has a 14-megapixel black-and-white Mysterium-X CMOS sensor with a 5120 x 2700 pixel array that is rated at a native ISO 2000. In comparison, the color version of the RED EPIC is rated at a native ISO 800 (which basically means that the EPIC Monochrome is over one full stop faster than its ‘color cousin’). The Monochrome can capture 24fps up to 5K, and 5K frame rates up to 120 fps. Frame rates expand to 300fps in 2K mode.  Continue Reading