Brazilian Cinematography



By Gabriel Bianchini

The project for the film “Your Future” was documentary, with real characters. The result is a great mix. The idea was to be as natural as possible within the possibilities of negotiation with the client. Some scenes were produced but the people are real, special and treated with care and respect where they live and work. Nubank’s final version and director Fernando Nogari’s version present differences in relation to all this.

All scenes were filmed in Salvador and on the outskirts of the city. The intention to represent Brazil was a beautiful choice by Nogari. The criteria were social. It’s a magical place, where people are special, more open, nice, participatory, spontaneous, tell us stories and want to show us new things. It is photographically wonderful, with historic buildings and details that remind you of other cities.

All scenes were filmed in Salvador and on the outskirts of the city. The intention to represent Brazil was a beautiful choice by Nogari. The criteria were social. It’s a magical place, where people are special, more open, nice, participatory, spontaneous, tell us stories and want to show us new things. It is photographically wonderful, with historic buildings and details that remind you of other cities.

Carol Ozzi, art director, was very important, as was Edvaldo Raw, who is from Bahia and directed the second unit of photography. During the tech scout, we talked a lot on the van trips about the images we were going to produce. It was a very interesting discussion about what we were doing, not only photographically, but socially as well. We wanted to understand to what extent we could delegate filming freely to people, as well as the people who were going to watch. I asked many friends to seek more foundation. I think we’ve gone beyond the process of photography as beauty and reached a social photography. We didn’t know how far we could generate a discussion leaving our bourgeois mindset behind.

I intended to photograph everything with a single lens. We had a 35mm lens on an Arri Alexa Mini LF camera. When applied to the LF, the 35mm becomes a 28mm. The kit used was Cannon K35. We just didn’t use it in the horse scene because we were too far away, so we had to switch to a more closed 85mm. In the ruins of the abandoned cinema, we also changed to better show the dimension of space.

There were more than thirty images. The language adopted mixes all this. When we move from one scene to another, that identity is there, alive. This noise is ingrained. It’s something that comes from my work with analog photography. The 35mm lens is vintage and fits in a Large Format. You have a little bit of dirt there, but at the same time it’s a high-definition image.

I hope my friends could have the same opportunity, with that freedom to create with the director and exercise photography freely. I think it’s a cycle that will make customers see the result and decide to do more that way. It was very satisfying. I hope you follow the example and make more of it.

Style, choices e references

Nogari gave me complete freedom to show my own style of photography, which is linked to my work with stillz. When possible, I try to only take jobs that don’t have a lot of artificial light or are not filmed in a studio. I prefer natural light, without heavy equipment.

The scenes are situations that I personally would like to shoot in stills. These are things that I would photograph for myself. Some footage was taken outside of the official production schedule, as I really wanted to shoot for personal interest. I also insisted on traveling beforehand to spend more time with Nogari and Carol so we could choose locations together. In total, I was involved in the project for almost a month, with only five days of shooting. I wanted to be more involved. It is rare for a type of work to emerge that allows for this photographic concern, with real characters.

Camera movement induces immersion within the photograph. The movements, made with Freefly MoVI, provide this immersive effect while directing attention to the characters and actions highlighted. In several scenes, we moved forward. In others, we moved backwards. Always with slowly. After preparing the composition, we quickly got the footage. It didn’t have to be a Steadicam because it was all very simple and frontal, with no deviations to the sides.

The black & white was Nogari’s idea. He already had that battle won when I got into the movie. We shot everything in B&W and didn’t even visualize the color images. All tones were defined in the Look Up Table (LUT). Then there was a little color treatment, and we tweaked the contrast. The post got done by Fernando Lui, from Marla Color Grading.

One of references I used for the film was the work of photographers Alex Majoli and Paolo Pellegrin. I went to Instituto Moreira Salles (IMS) library in São Paulo numerous times to consult the book “Congo”, released in 2015, very rare and difficult to find. The librarian already knew to look it up for me looking for me. Felipe Delgado was our Digital Imaging Technician (DIT). He looked at some footage I selected from the book and did three LUTs that we tested in the scenes we were going to shoot. In the end, one of them was picked.

Delgado was excited to work with B&W. In addition to doing the LUTs, at the end of the day he was already tweaking. I took care of the contrast and added vignettes where I thought it was cool. I was also bringing up some of the skin tones. The frames came ready. He’s super-fast.

The photographer Elza Lima is my biggest influence for this work. When Nogari invited me to participate, I bought her book to study. Claudia Andujar, Luiz Braga, Miguel Rio Branco and Mário Cravo Neto are references that I always need to talk about, as they are the basis of Brazilian photography.

I used low light as much as possible for the sake of work dynamics. I tried not to of scare the people we portrayed. Getting the sunlight out was more important than adding artificial light. In the banana truck, for example, filmed in a cereal zone, the light was completely natural.

Sunrise and sunset are not necessarily good light in this project. Noon had great light. The contrast was more important. This possibility helped our schedule when we needed the magic hours, as we had time to wait until late afternoon and early evening.

To film outside and choosing the right time is essential. It is important to know how to use the Sun Seeker app to our advantage and to have a good dialogue with the management assistance and an open conversation. In a contrasted photography idea, I tend to use Butterfly to negate one side and make the side softer with another Butterfly. Mirrors are difficult to manipulate, but it’s magnificent that you can find the point and dim the light. I usually test everything at the rental companies themselves when choosing, despite being a very different environment from the rentals. I can’t mix natural light with LED as I don’t think it matches.

I had to create some solutions with reflectors because we got some very cloudy days. In the scene, the mother who is with her two daughters on the couch, for example, the weather was bad. To reproduce the light I saw on the tech scout, I used a 20k Fresnel bounced off a big yellow wall. Always left Asteras, SkyPanels, and larger equipment in the truck so I could use it when I needed to maintain the film’s overall identity on the wettest days.

Training on the dirt field

One of my favorite scenes is the dirt field where a group of men warm up, as if they were going to play football. This is a fictional situation. I arrived a few days earlier and filmed a rehearsal with my cell phone and with children who were there. I was inspired by the film “Roma”, by Alfonso Cuarón, when characters train martial arts, in an open space, under the backlight of the sun in an angle shot and in a reverse angle shot. We went there and decided the best time. It was partly cloudy, with a chance of rain, which could make the land wet. Because of this, we took smoke machines and gravel bags, we spread them on the ground and used fans to simulate the dust. We positioned the guys and played music for them. The characters are really from that community, but not everyone usually plays there. I filmed on a crane. It was difficult to organize it all, but it worked.

Fire, horse and whale

It was exciting to shoot with real fire. The flames were made by Martão, a legend in Brazilian cinema for explosion scenes. The location producer found a place where there was an abandoned building, a half-built house. We made a suggestion, and the owner allowed the fire. We used gas with a lot of control. To produce smoke, we added pieces of wood. The idea, however, was not to focus on the house, but on the task force of people who carried the buckets. We needed to shoot very fast, with the camera wrapped due to bad weather.

We filmed the horse scene on a Sunday in downtown Salvador. The character was found at the last minute. It’s not easy to find someone who can ride upright. Everyone got nervous. The horse stalled and the actor was also very nervous. We were able to shoot from two angles, in single takes.

To design the whale, we searched image banks, but couldn’t find it at that top angle, so we decided to shoot it with some object to animate in post. We almost gave up, but production found a Styrofoam whale that was an allegory of a carnival block. She was placed on the sea paired with weights so as not to be carried away by the waves, which were very agitated. The tail was done in 3D in post, as was the texture. We used a reference photo to define the number of people and the rescue movement of a whale in this type of situation. It was tiring but it worked, and we went drinking to celebrate.


We rented a subway station in Salvador with a stopped train. The platform was ours. It was ten times less than what we would pay in São Paulo. All the extras were produced. I blocked everything, lit it just like I wanted. I used an Astera with a hive. On top of the sleeping character, the light was brighter. In other people, more punctual lights. I put a black Butterfly on the outside of the wagon, practically made a box. I placed a very subtle SkyPanel to draw the textures of the metallic surface. It was one of the most staged scenes.

Second unit

In the second unit scenes, Edvaldo Raw used a different LUT than mine. As he was with a RED Komodo 6K 1.3 camera, his LUT wasn’t as contrast heavy as mine, it was softer. He filmed the kiss scene, the motorcyclist, the boys sitting on the rock, the lady with patuás, the initial rain and the mother waiting for the bus with her daughter.

Third unit

The piece also involved portraits of Anitta by British photographer Platon, a guy who is known for his pictures of famous people like Prince, Adele, Vladimir Putin, the couple Michelle Obama, Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg. He photographed her in Miami, where Nogari filmed the scene where she appears backstage at a concert.


Still photography is my school of thought. I have always been passionate about street photography. I always carried a camera, but I chose the right moments to take the pictures. Developing and enlarging were too expensive for me. As a money saving technique, I wrote everything beforehand, to plan what I wanted to portray and click at the right time. Couldn’t spend a lot of money.

I moved from Jundiaí to São Paulo at the age of 17 and worked for three years in a commercial studio in Bela Vista, as an assistant, office boy, cleaning and other roles. I had contact with several photographers who rented this studio. The first 10 years in São Paulo, I also worked as a freelancer and in some agencies. When I entered the Advertising course at Casper Líbero, in Gazeta’s building, I started to work at the student newspaper Esquinas de São Paulo and had free access to the college’s laboratory, where there were cameras, films and chemical materials at my disposal. I had the keys, it was very exciting.

Gradually, I started to assist in advertising films, starting from scratch, as a video assist. I was called to do packshots in advertising films and I ended up meeting people who allowed me to direct the photography of small films. I realized that filming meant a whole new world to be explored with lenses and camera mechanisms, as a possibility to transform what I did in still images into continuous images.

I have always kept the habit of studying photography and art history books, influenced by a friend, Henrique Mangeon, whom I met in that first studio where I worked. He encouraged me to develop an authorial work in parallel with advertising. That’s my priority to this day. I pay my bills and use the rest of my earnings to travel and photograph my stuff. At home, I have my development lab.

Mini bio

Gabriel Bianchini (aka Sete Pele) believes in photography as a tool for social transformation. He often travels through the interior of Brazil to photograph the sociocultural wealth in contrasted scenarios. In film industry, he signed the second unit of cinematography for the short film “Rise Up”, by American Bryan Buckley, released at the Tribeca Festival in 2021. In Brazil, he filmed “Cativeiro” (2020) and “Meu Coração Já Não Aguenta Mais” (released at the Rio Festival in 2021), both directed by Fabricio Brambatti (Urso Morto). In advertising, he photographed commercials for brands such as Petrobras, Scania, BMW, Spaten and Nike, in addition to the “Árvore Refugiada” campaign, from The Climate Reality project, and two video clips by singer Iza. Born in Jundiaí and with a degree in Advertising at Faculdade Casper Líbero. Some of her personal photoshoots can be found on her official website and on Instagram @sete.pele.

Assine nossa Newsletter

Inscreva-se para receber novidades da Iris Cinematografia

Inscrição realizada com sucesso!