Emulating the look and feel of an underground 1960s documentary, director Matthew Johnson’s independent film Operation Avalanche is presented as “found footage,” following four undercover CIA agents sent to NASA posing as a documentary film crew. What they discover leads to one of the biggest conspiracies in American history.
“We wanted a final print that looks like it was shot in the 1960s and buried in the ground and found in 2015,” says Johnson. “We developed a conversion process to pull this off. We shot all our guerrilla footage with [Blackmagic] Pocket Cinema Cameras and then did a 1:1 Super 16mm conversion that we invented ourselves. The Pocket Cinema Cameras were perfect because we [were able to capture] great image quality—and the Super 16mm gate is the same as a Super 16mm film gate, which made conversion much easier.”
Raab adds, “We needed a camera that could get us footage that was going to stand up to our complicated post process of making it look like archival 16mm film. The Pocket Cinema Camera, with its impressive dynamic range, became indispensable to our process. In the final film, footage obtained from the Pocket Cinema Camera seamlessly cuts with beautiful archival film from the ’60s.”