Filmmaker Kyle Head uses the EVA1’s IR mode to capture a unique look for Goldilocks

By Neil Matsumoto | 5 min

As a short film, Kyle Head’s Goldilocks, shot on the AU-EVA1, has all the goods – beautiful cinematography, thoughtful art direction and costumes, and most importantly, a great story. The low-budget yet highly ambitious short re-works the classic story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in a sci-fi setting. It also invokes mankind’s last ditch effort to save the planet.

Currently residing in Virginia Beach, VA, Head started his filmmaking career shooting Hi8 skateboarding videos during high school and went on to study film at the School of Media Design at James Madison University. After college, he worked for various production houses until he took the leap to start his own. “A lot of the work I do is for small businesses, mainly commercials, corporate and industrial videos,” explains Head. “I'm trying to find more time making more short films like Goldilocks. Telling stories is what I really love to do and I also like to dabble in different genres. Goldilocks was a lot of fun for me.”

EVA1 capturing a new planet

Goldilocks uses the EVA1’s IR mode in a near genius way. “I wanted to do something a little bit different,” reveals Head. “I just started messing around with it and I liked the look of it so I wanted to find a way to incorporate it into my short but still do it in a way that would help tell the story rather than just being different looking shots.”

The look of Goldilocks was inspired by NASA photos Head found through Google image searches. He also watched movies like Interstellar and The Martian. He ended up creating the character’s space suit inspired by The Martian out of molded EVA foam. “The hardest thing to get a reference for was the infrared look because it’s not super common,” says Head. “I went and looked at the Vin Diesel movie, Pitch Black, which has a sequence where a second sun comes up and it has a very bleached look with blues and overexposed highlights.”

Director/DP Kyle Head used a standard 720nm IR Pass Filter to help create IR sequences.

According to Head, shooting in IR is best on a bright and sunny day but one of his biggest obstacles for Goldilocks was that it rained consistently for a month and a half during production. Head had to find the time to test out and be comfortable with his infrared settings so scheduling became challenging for his actors and crew.

In shooting in IR mode, the first thing you need is an IR pass filter and Head went with the standard 720nm, which gave him the look he was going for – white trees and blue sky. He also received advice from members of the EVA1 Facebook user groups about creating a custom scene file instead of trying to push the image in post.

Kyle Head on location with his EVA1

For Head, here are some of the key steps in shooting with the EVA1’s IR mode for Goldilocks

  • Wait for a sunny day, go outside, and dial in your settings
  • In camera settings, turn on IR shooting and add a customized white balance
  • Go to your systems settings>color settings>change to scene 1
  • In scene file settings, adjust everything to your desired effect
  • Everything will look a little orange so you have to imagine what the image will look like when you flip it in post
  • Slightly underexpose to keep all of your details in the highlights because the grass and the trees will go white
  • Having contrasty shots goes a long way

Head shot Goldilocks in 4K (4096x2160) and alternated between 23.98 and 60p. When he wasn’t shooting IR sequences, he captured V-Log files while monitoring in V709.

(Top and bottom) Head's "before and after" IR scenes

Since many of the scenes are day exteriors, Head mainly stayed at native 800 Base. To light the bedroom scenes when the mother is telling the story to her son, Head used LED panels and adjusted his ISO from 800 base. For lenses, Head used Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 and 50-100mm F1.8 ART zoom lenses fitted with lens gears for accurate manual focusing. “The Sigmas are pretty fast lenses and I wanted to capture good shallow depth of field,” says Head. “We also were moving very quickly so having a zoom lens versus a prime made it a lot easier.”

Besides the IR scenes, Head also created impressive visuals to illustrate space travel. Like with IR, the planning took more time than the actual shooting and Head wanted to capture most of it in camera rather than build in post. “I created a few light speed scenes in Adobe After Effects and I did one profile scene out the side window and then one scene looking through the front windshield,” explains Head. “I actually just took two TVs and I put one on the profile side of our astronaut and then the other up front to light the scenes playing the televisions. I had some other lighting as well but having those scenes play right there was able to give me real bokeh in the shots going out the window and then real reflections on his mask. I wouldn’t have been able to replicate that in post.

For the launch set-up, Head used two TVs - one on the profile side of the astronaut and the other up front to light the scenes playing the televisions.

“For lighting, I had two Litepanels Astras – one underneath with a blue gel and one back-edged with a red gel,” continues Head. “On top of that we used EL wire, which have these little LED lights. I had one of those fitted inside the mask that made his mask glow blue and then a red one in the respirator. I taped another over the matte box and had it flashing in the corner of the lens, which gave it a real in camera flashing blue light.”

Head edited the film in Adobe Premiere Pro and graded the IR scenes in DaVinci Resolve. For his V-Log footage, Head took advantage of the newly released VariCam LUT Library and used the Nicest 709 and Golden 1 LUTs with slight tweaks.

EVA1 shooting the launch sequence

“I was very happy with the EVA1,” says Head. “Overall, it checked all the boxes for the work I like to do. The colors and skin tones were great straight out of camera. I also appreciate the camera’s dynamic range, multiple frame rate options, and flexibility. I wanted a professional camera that could work for agency spots but also something that I can take with me when my wife and I travel. EVA1 has a lot of power inside and excellent image quality but it’s still light and compact and easy to customize to scale for any shoot.”

To view Goldilocks, click through here.

For more information on Kyle Head, visit www.thenomadmedia.com.

To download the IR settings and/or scene file for Goldilocks, click here.