Oct. 29, 2020

ARRI TRINITY takes on Japanese film-theatre hybrid “Takizawa Kabuki ZERO 2020 The Movie”

Originally a modern kabuki stage performance, Japanese film “Takizawa Kabuki ZERO 2020 The Movie” ventures into uncharted territory by giving a new spin to a Japanese classic, all made possible by TRINITY operator Taro Kimura.

Oct. 29, 2020

“Takizawa Kabuki ZERO 2020 The Movie” is a 2020 Japanese movie adaptation of the long-running Japanese mega-theatrical production, “Takizawa Kabuki.” The dance-drama film, directed by Japanese superstar Hideaki Takizawa and produced by entertainment giant Johnny & Associates, was almost entirely shot on-stage, a new challenge for both TRINITY and TRINITY operator Taro Kimura.

“Although I have shot scenes on stage before, it was my first time to capture a kabuki stage,” said Kimura. “TRINITY was the perfect tool that enabled me to achieve director Takizawa's vision of showcasing a single performance using long takes without any cuts.”

A modern take on a traditional theatrical performance that blends extravagant costumes, dynamic acting, and fluid body movements, the film introduces a new era of visual arts that is both a stage performance and a movie.

“With a traditional kabuki stage, the audience can only watch a performance from the front of the stage, with the exception of the hanamachi, but for “Takizawa Kabuki ZERO 2020 The Movie,” I wanted to cover a whole range of shots from the most intricate hand movements and expressions, to the overwhelming feeling of capturing the whole act in one single frame from various angles. We wanted to give viewers the illusion that they are a part of the show,” Kimura explained.

To achieve the best combination of theater and film, the camerawork for “Takizawa Kabuki ZERO 2020 The Movie” had to be carefully calculated. “Every second of the film was shot under extremely detailed instructions,” revealed Kimura. “For instance, in some scenes, I needed to come in from a low angle with a pull shot and then move exactly up to the actor's eye level to get behind him or her. These camera movements are not possible with a regular Steadicam, but I was able to easily accomplish them with TRINITY,” he continued.

With dance as one of the main themes of the film, TRINITY had a critical role to play in accentuating smooth and natural movements while still maintaining precision. “Often the case with shooting dance is that you have many options to freely shoot the performance without completely deciding how to film it in advance. But for this project it was different. I had to make sure I operated with the same angles for every take,” said Kimura. For the veteran operator, this film, which demanded such perfection, is by far one of the toughest projects of his career. “The actors and crew members rehearsed so many times on set, which made it quite nerve-racking.”

Being the first TRINITY owner in Japan, the hybrid camera stabilizer is extra special for Kimura. “Its wide range of up and down motion offers a lot of possibilities for camerawork, making it a huge game-changer. I was so happy when I got mine,” he recalled. “After using it in commercials, music videos, and movies, TRINITY is finally getting recognized in Japan. Now that we have several operators, I think we will see more and more projects shot with TRINITY very soon.”