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Interview: Paul Guyeu – using Fujifilm to shoot a Netflix series

Cinematographer Paul Guyeu hails from France but calls South Africa home. After getting wind that the Netflix series, The Kingdom, has been shot with Fujifilm, we decided to track him down for an important Q+A session.

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Paul Guyeu

Hi Paul! How are you doing? Give us a quick rundown of who you are and what you do.

My name is Paul Guyeu or “Guy – from the EU” best way to pronounce it. I was born in France and bred in South Africa. I fell in love with film making at school when we studied The Shawshank Redemption in an English class. I remember being so disappointed when the class ended and we never watched a movie ever after that, which then made my decision to study film making after school a whole lot easier.

I studied at City Varsity in Cape Town, on day one they gave us a camera and some lights and told us to go ahead and shoot a film. From that moment I knew this is exactly what I want to do with my life. Currently, I am a cinematographer in the film industry, and ten years later I still love what I do.

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How did The Kingdom come about?

The Kingdom came about towards the end of lockdown. My agent at the time got a request for this job. And obviously after being in lockdown for such a long time I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take it on. I had a look at the scripts and thought it would be a fun project to tackle. We were scheduled to shoot for three weeks, with two weeks of pre-production.

We heard a Fujifilm X-T3 was involved in shooting The Kingdom? Can you tell us more?

Yes, I shot the whole project on my personal Fujifilm X-T3 which I know and was comfortable with. One of the reasons for this was for me to test the camera in a long-form environment; I wanted to see if it could handle such long days for such an extended period of time. I love the colour science of Fujifilm which I thought was a great way to get the look I was going for with something I already knew.

Paul Guyeu - Rig (20240122)

Give us a rundown of the setup for your rig?
For the setup I got myself a Fujifilm X mount to PL mount adapter which allowed me to use cinema lenses. I also fitted the camera with a cage in order to mount accessories such as remote focus, monitors and extra battery to power everything.

The rig was bulkier which helps in a cinema world, but was also small enough to squeeze into cars and tight spaces, such as an oven or cupboard, which were part of my shot list.

What about your video settings while recording?

I shot 4K F-Log and we recorded to an external recorder which gave us a 422 colour space. The jump from the internal 420 to 422 was worlds apart, a colourist and I actually shot some tests comparing the two formats and found there was way more colour depth at 422 which gave us so much more room to play with in post.

Another thing that I found good was that even though we were recording externally, the internal SD card would also record. This ended up saving us the one day because the external recorder had an issue and lost some of the footage.

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Is there something you wish you knew before you started shooting?
The APS-C sensor did limit me in low light situations – this is something I knew about but unfortunately wasn’t able to tackle beforehand. The budget was low so that meant less lighting which would have helped. Regardless of this I still managed to get great night shots.

Any advice for videographers that want to get a project off the ground?

Keep shooting, keep networking, have fun, take lessons from your previous project and apply them to the next one, and don’t blame your tools! Getting a project off the ground is a collaborative process so like I said above – keep shooting, keep networking and the right project will find you.

What do you have lined-up as your next project?

My next project is shooting a television drama. Telling stories is my true passion and being able to paint images that move is the most rewarding aspect of the job.

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Watch The Kingdom on Netflix here:

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