Filming Japan: A Journey Between Tradition And Modernity

This is a Guest Post by Nick Arcivos and Ryan Earl on how they filmed this great project about Japan. Enjoy!

This short film presents Japan from Kyoto to Tokyo and Nara through authentic scenes of Japanese lifestyle. It was shot in 2 weeks and was created by Nick Arcivos and Ryan Earl from AmnesiArt. They share their insights on how they shoot the film, what gear they use and why they chose it.

This film was shot with two Canon 5D Mark II and the lenses we used were Canon L series 16-35mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, 100mm Macro f/2.8, 85mm f/1.2, 15mm Fisheye f/2.8 and a Zeiss Planar T 1,4 50mm.
We mostly used the 16-35mm f/2.8 which was excellent for wide angle shots, especially with the 5D full frame sensor and the 70-200mm f/2.8 for close-ups and details. The 85mm f/1.2 was a must have for many night shots thanks to its wide aperture.

We used the Red Rock Micro rig and in order to use its follow focus, all the lenses were geared with Half Inch Rail Zip Tie. The cameras were equipped with Really Right Stuff L plate for quick mounting option and protection.

Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly  in Japan - AmnesiArt

We chose the Gitzo GT2530 tripod for its lightness (carbon fiber) and load capacity with a Sachtler FSB8 head for its smoothness and durability. We mounted our Kessler Pocket Dolly on, for many slider shots which perfectly worked and was very stable.
We used a Manfotto 561 BHDV monopod where tripods would take too much space and we also managed to get interesting jib/slider like shots.

Think Tank Photo Gear in Japan - AmnesiArt

To avoid fatigue as much as we possible after a 10-12 hours day of shooting, we used Think Tank Airport Take Off rolling bags which easily could turn into a backpack if need be.

For the smooth movements, we used the Steadicam Merlin that we could break down to fit in our bags. We added a Really Right Stuff quick release plate to easily balance it.


We chose to shoot the whole film at 24 frames per second to create a cinematic atmosphere. We installed the Technicolor Cinestyle profile to get the largest dynamic range possible for color grading in post production which was really important to get all the details between the shadows and highlights.

The idea behind the film was to make people want to travel to Japan and discover all the wonders this fabulous country has to offer. Our expectations have been fulfilled with all the wonderful feedback we have received.

If you want more information on our work, you can visit our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

- Nick and Ryan