All posts in RED Epic

Color and Texture: Cinematography of FIFTY 4

FIFTY 4, a fashion film shot by Adnan X. Khan

Mixing fashion, conceptual ideas and a fluid narrative, FIFTY 4 is a freaky little film that I shot in Dubai for director Moe Najati using the RED Epic and four different lens systems—Leica Summilux-C, Cooke Varotal, ARRI Master Zoom and Zeiss Macro (provided by the amazing Asif Limbada at LFP).

I had worked with the same director before on a Volkswagen commercial and Red Bull film. FIFTY 4 naturally became our ‘rebellion’ project! Here was Moe’s chance to explore themes he was interested in personally, and then as the film’s director of photography I could take those thematic abstractions and create a cinematic world wherein menace and beauty collide in explosive fashion! In our preparation of the visual design of FIFTY 4, I thought it fit to achieve this goal using two elements: color and texture.

Watch FIFTY 4:

Even very early on as the director was developing the concept, I felt that color would set the defining look for FIFTY 4. This feeling was validated once he asked me if we could shoot some of the scenes in black and white! Why, of course! I was very interested in the elemental clash between color and monochrome! Style was always an important consideration for this project (wardrobe and fashion consultancy was provided by The cARTel in Dubai)…and we were also aware of the resurgence of black-and-white photography in the fashion world.  Continue Reading

Cinematography of Volkswagen Middle East’s RECOMMENDED RETAIL PRICE commercial

VW—Showroom Rep

How do you make a commercial for a famous car brand without actually showing the car? How can you portray three cities in three different countries without really showing any of them? Most importantly, how do you photographically tell a story of three characters with sharp wit and a restrained cinematic style?

These were some of the exciting challenges of making Volkswagen Middle East’s “Recommended Retail Price”, a wonderful, offbeat commercial directed by Moe Najati, which I shot on the RED Epic camera and world-class Leica Summilux-C lenses provided by Asif Limbada of LFP.

Watch the commercial:

I had previously used the same combination of camera and lenses on WAY OF THE WARRIOR. While that film uses a very baroque look (low-light, rich blacks, strong colors), I had something different in mind for the Volkswagen commercial—a crisp, clean aesthetic with three distinct color palettes and contrast levels to represent the workshops/offices in Riyadh, Doha and Dubai (cities we never show or identify explicitly!)  Continue Reading

Leica Summilux-C and RED Epic: Cinematography of WAY OF THE WARRIOR


WAY OF THE WARRIOR is the story of a man who lives by the Bushido code. This man is a welder. He is also blind.

It’s a paradoxical premise for a commercial that puts a new spin on the classic slogan “impossible is nothing”. I served as the director and cinematographer on WAY OF THE WARRIOR which was photographed and finished in the new center of the world, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

As the DP, I was able to make express use of the Leica Summilux-C lenses and RED Epic camera generously provided by Asif Limbada at LFP. I had actually used the same combination of lenses and camera before—for a Volkswagen Middle East campaign—but in this particular instance, it was possible to push things to new extremes. After all, it’s not everyday that you get to shoot with the most sought-after cinema lenses in the world, your camera of choice and total creative freedom! (When was the last time you heard the music of John Cage in a TV commercial?)  Continue Reading