Four Seasons Hotel Beijing – Five Star Tour

September 25, 2013

This is a highlight reel of material from an eight-day shoot in Four Seasons Beijing hotel. There is a LOT more material: we shot something like 40 different hotel rooms and venues. What we shot will make up a bank of footage for them to use to generate a variety of videos focusing on different features of their hotel.

I produced, directed and shot this project. I wore so many hats that it got a little silly sometimes. I edited the highlight reel using Final Cut Pro X – it was my first experience with this software and, occasional crashes aside, it’s grown on me. I really like what you can do with the color correction tools in 10-bit color space.

In my tests, I considered recording 2k ProRes but discovered that the field of view is slightly reduced at this setting — the camera records a slightly WIDER image at HD resolution. Given the tight spaces we were occasionally confined to, I went for the lower res but wider view (by maybe 1 or 2 degrees).

I also tested some of the extreme low-light situations because I liked a lot of the lighting design that already existed in the hotel, particularly in their bars and restaurants. The hotel already spent millions on their built-in lighting designs and I didn’t want to ruin the effect. Happily, I was able to use nothing more than Didos and 1k fresnels to accentuate the details in these darker spaces, to good effect. We were also blessed with several days of clear skies during the shoot, and as usual, God is the best cinematographer. The ALEXA gave me the dynamic range to shoot with confidence in dim interiors with sunlight blasting through windows.

We assembled a super-rough collection of footage for the client to preview and they were delighted. They haven’t seen this version yet, which is properly color corrected. There’s a lot of yellow, red and orange in the decor, plus a lot of low-wattage bulbs in their lighting plan, which cast a kind of filthy green and orange haze over most of what we shot. But rather than correct for it in-camera by dropping down to 3000K or lower, or dialing in a lot of minus-green, I set the camera to 3200k -2cc for almost all interiors and just left it there. Having seen the locations with my own eyes I know what they’re supposed to look like…or rather the impression of gold and red that they give. So the trick in the color correction was to subtract orange and green and use secondary color corrections to isolate skin tones and whites to put the gold color back in. Final Cut X seemed to handle this well.

Arri Alexa, Pro Res 444 HD
Mostly 3200k -2cc
Mixed lighting
Arri Ultra Primes 14, 16, 24, 35, 50, 85

Music credit: “Mer Du Japon” from Pocket Symphony, by Air

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4 Responses to Four Seasons Hotel Beijing – Five Star Tour

  1. Patrick Dung on June 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    beautiful reel!

  2. Jason Yu on October 16, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Excellent job!!! I also shot some photos for five star hotels in ShenZhen China.

  3. Valerie Senyk on September 25, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    what a visually stunning place! excellent footage.

  4. Jim on September 25, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Great lighting, and fluid camera movement. As a cinematographer, I feel like you really captured the essence of the hotel through the natural composition of your shots. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

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