STAINED 
Director of Photography: Andrew Mui
Directed by: Talin Avakian

Synopsis: A series of short stories set in a ballet studio, told from the perspective of young female dancers and the struggles they face in and out of the studio.

Camera: Sony a7S mk.ii in S-Log3
Lenses: Canon CN-E
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Resolution: UHD 4K

the frame

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designing the frame

Stained is a film series that examines the challenges confronted by young ballet dancers. Here's a look at designing the intertextuality behind the frame.

For the treatment, we decided at an early stage that the entire film was going to be in a handheld style to capture the kinetic movement of the dancers. The camera itself moved in tandem with the choreography. The color correction for the studio scenes maintain a warm tone but at the same time appearing bleak; mirroring the students love and resentment for the discipline.

Scenes from the classroom are contrasted by scenes in a forest, where Claire finds herself in the most ideal dreamscape. The feeling is surreal, unbarred by the walls of the studio. It is where she experiences a most perfect and flawless performance. It is a space without scrutiny or competition.

To create the effect we overcranked the framerate and shot with a shallower depth of field in comparison to the rest of the film, while focusing on her expressions rather than technical movement.

The character Jackie stands at the edge of the bathroom door discussing a sensitive topic regarding coming of age. She places herself in neither the room or the corridor, mirroring the uncomfortable limbo of adolescence. Her reflection in the tiles gives the optical effect that even though she is exchanging a conversation with someone else, she is actually consoling herself.

The scene ends with a fellow classmate entering the bathroom, and the two pretend to talk about something else. Reflections seem to never escape a ballerina, whether it is the mirror that exists in the studio, the bathroom, the gloss in the tiles or simply in another person.