Feedback on the ARRI TRINITY from a director, a DP, and a camera operator

Director Edoardo De Angelis, cinematographer Agostino Vertucci, and camera operator Emilio Giliberti, who worked together on the Italian film “Non ti pago,” recount their experiences with the ARRI TRINITY camera stabilizer. 

Oct. 6, 2021

“The choice of TRINITY is part of a path of linguistic research I've been pursuing for years. We have at our disposal agile tools that allow us to create stable frames and sublimate the use of the camera.” These are the words of director Edoardo De Angelis, who chose to use the ARRI TRINITY stabilizer for almost all the shooting of “Non ti pago,” the second film in his Edwardian trilogy after “Natale in casa Cupiello,” shot with ALEXA Mini cameras and lit with SkyPanel LED lights.

What convinced you to work with TRINITY?

Over the years I've used Movi and then Ronin stabilizers, but this time I chose the ARRI TRINITY because it meets the need to shoot long takes of dialogue with micro-movements linked to the actors' movements. TRINITY encourages this and leaves the image clean. It's rare that the camera movement doesn't determine the movement of the actors, but for me this is important and TRINITY is perfectly suited to that, in fact I would like to see it used more often. Every film is unique, but in this case the tool was perfect.

What particular needs did it address on this movie?

The film takes place in a single environment, where we had to be able to explore reality in depth. With TRINITY I have more freedom in positioning the camera, which becomes another character whose gaze rests on the scenes. In my filming I look for something that imitates the process of getting to know reality, which never happens at the precise moment in which one encounters it. The acknowledgment always comes a moment early or late.

The DP of “Non ti pago” is Agostino Vertucci, known for his work on Nicolangelo Gelormini's “Fortuna,” who used TRINITY again immediately after this film for Umberto Marino's “Un eroe piccolo piccolo.”

This was the first time you worked with TRINITY, how did it go?

Neither Edoardo nor I had ever worked with this tool before, and I had only seen it in demos. It was a real discovery to see how easily it moved in our location, which had a very large room and other very small rooms in which many actors had to move. Two weeks before shooting, we did some tests on location that clarified our ideas, and then we were off to a flying start. 

Did the use of TRINITY accompany the visual style chosen, or did it also determine it in some way?

Initially, TRINITY accompanied Edoardo's visual ideas, and then as we became more familiar with the tool, it also influenced them. We went further, we started asking for more and more, so much so that we made several very complex sequence plans that we couldn't have made otherwise. One of them followed a maid as she answered the front door, starting from the kitchen, crossing a narrow external walkway that was only about 65 centimeters wide, entering the main hall and getting to the door, and then coming back. 

Crossing the hallway with that agility, with another tool, would have been very complex indeed. I knew Edoardo's way of shooting with the Ronin, with a very dynamic style, and I know that he loves tight lenses and is very close to the actors. Together we figured out how to adapt this style to the TRINITY, which gave us greater elegance, composure, versatility, and cleanliness. 

How did you manage photographic continuity with such complex shooting scenarios?

In Edoardo's adaptation, the film is set in 1959 and for the look we had chosen not to be too philological in terms of aesthetic research, allowing ourselves some license to personalize it. Our reference was “Marie Antoinette” by Sofia Coppola. The set design and costumes had already given us a very varied palette, ranging from deep blues to yellows: with Massimo Cantini Parrini's costumes and Carmine Guarino's set design, we had an excellent base to work from. The most complex thing was to manage the photographic continuity. 

When Edoardo called me to propose the film, I imagined an interior theater piece, but then I realized that there was a strong relationship with the outside world, because the protagonists often went out onto the terrace and then entered a workshop, a glass structure. In a film divided into three acts, in which each act recounted a time segment, the photographic continuity had to be absolute. So we built a structure that allowed me to run two blacks of different intensities that I could manage according to the external light conditions. 

When we started shooting, the sun never arrived directly on the terrace, but from the first days of May it began to arrive. The structure we created allowed me to filter it when necessary, or reproduce it when it was absent, thanks to a series of ARRI M40 light fixtures placed above the trusses, because during that period the sky was very overcast.

Emilio Giliberti is the TRINITY operator who worked on “Non ti pago.” He says, “I've been working with TRINITY for about three years, and on every type of film it allows me to come up with brand new shots.”

How did you get involved in this production?

This film was a great opportunity! I was contacted by the production team and then I met Agostino and Edoardo on the set. I proposed TRINITY to Agostino and we organized a test shoot on location, in order to show the director what it could do. I immediately felt a great connection with Edoardo, an understanding that he would give me a lot of freedom to ‘dance’ with the actors.

What were the challenges on set and the advantages of working with TRINITY? 

It was an extremely stimulating journey, but also tiring at times because of the choice of shooting long takes. To deal with them I had to work a lot on posture and grip. There was a need to give the actors the freedom to move in the various environments. Without the TRINITY, many sequences would have been told in a more ‘classic’ way, while many others were inspired by the tool itself, which gave us the option to glide over the set and get right to the heart of the scene. I think it was a really good opportunity. The nature of the film was a good match with the characteristics of TRINITY, to which I tried to contribute all my sensibility.