Kayan: Beyond The Rings

Marko Randelovic is a self-taught documentary filmmaker from the UK. His film ‘Kayan’ explores the so-called ‘long-neck’ villages of Northern Thailand and the relationship of the Kayan people to their tourists and visitors.

Marko Randelovic

I travel around the world making documentary films about stories that inspire or excite me, I’ve been doing this for around 2 years now since I left my job at a media company in Manchester UK. I’m relatively new to film making, I only bought a camera 3 years ago and after a lot of late night YouTube tutorial sessions I gradually became more clued up on what I was doing. The passion had always been there to create films, it was just something I had been putting off for a long time, when I finally started learning it was as if I’d found my true passion.

Last year I headed out to live in Thailand for 3 months to find some stories which I could turn into short films, I had a rough idea in my head about a few avenues I could explore but it wasn’t till I really settled into a place called Pai that I really started doing research. I found a local social enterprise that worked with the Kayan village from Huay Pu Keng who were more than helpful in introducing me to the right people I would need to know in order to make this film happen. I was surprised to learn from the Kayan people that the picture that had been painted in the media was not entirely true, they really didn’t mind tourists coming to their village and wanted to connect with visitors in a meaningful way.

I’d heard of FilmConvert for a long time from YouTube videos but I’d already got into the routine of using LUTs for colour and then grading from there. It wasn’t until Kayan that I used FilmConvert and now I’ve decided I’ll definitely be using it for all my future projects.

In this film, I really wanted to take my work up a notch with the edit and create an incredibly filmic look. I was tired of using LUTs that I didn’t feel really give natural colours and decided it would be best to go for FilmConvert, the ability to control the curve and the film colour allowed me to experiment a lot until I felt I’d got a look that I was happy with.

In this film I was going for a filmic look, I tried to use a fair bit of grain but I’m not sure it really survived the export. I wasn’t looking for much of a stylized look, just very natural and filmic.

I mostly used the film stock KD 5207 Vis3, I experimented with the others but this was definitely the favourite for me. However, for the scene of the film which discusses problems in the village where the weather is rainy, etc I used KD 5213 Vis3 as it had slightly colder tones. I shot the film on a Sony A7s using a modified Cine 4 profile with Pro colour. There isn’t a profile for this on FilmConvert but after hours and hours of deliberation, I settled for the A7s MKII Cine1 Pro film convert profile. I then set film colour to 50%, curve to 100% and the saturation was usually between 120 and 140% on various shots. I also set the black and white points with Lumetri then used the Shadows and Highlights sliders in FilmConvert to get the most out of the Lumetri scopes. For this project, I never let the white point over 80 IRE but the black were often deep.

In addition to FilmConvert I also added an adjustment layer of Lumetri colour which desaturated the greens, I found the greens had become too saturated, this was probably due to the in-camera profile I’d used mixed with the FilmConvert profile I was using. I also added another adjustment layer that subtlety added a bit of blue to the shadows and yellow to the highlights.