Making of an action thriller with ace cinematographer Ravi Yadav

Ravi Yadav

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he much awaited action thriller of the year – Race 2,  is creating much noise across cinema halls. Directed by Abbas – Mustan, the sequel to the hit film ‘Race’, Race 2 has been lauded for its well – crafted and exceptional camera work by ace cinematographer Ravi Yadav. Keeping the look of the film soft and warm was the key approach adopted by the master lensman for this snazzy action thriller.

Pandolin speaks to the noted cinematographer who has to his credit several blockbusters and took on the camera reins  for Race 2 after a splendid show in Race. He talks about the vision of the director duo, the core difference between the two films, the high octane action, capturing the beautiful locales through his lens and more.

Action thrillers have a very specific, stylized look and feel. So the main idea was to maintain the stylish elements and give the film a different look as compared to Race. The tone of the film was decided as per the vision of the directors who wanted to keep it warm yet glamorous.

RACE 2 race

When asked about the difference in the shooting styles of both the films, Ravi says, “There is a vast difference in the shooting style of Race and Race 2. Race had a very dark feel while for Race 2 we have used a lot of soft lighting. Also compared to Race we have a lot of action sequences in Race 2.”

Abbas – Mustan films are known for their beautiful locales and lavish sets among other things. Race 2 has largely been shot in Istanbul, Turkey and  has some sequences shot in European countries like Italy and Cyprus. A few sets were built in Mumbai too but 80 per cent of the film has been shot externally.

Living up to the promise of being an action thriller, the film has several adrenaline pumping sequences and chases which were captured through steadicams and choppers.

 There is a one on one fight between the actors, a cage fight, a bullet shot and more.

Jacqueline dances to Lat Lag Gayi

Jacqueline dances to Lat Lag Gayi

The songs of the film are another highlight and have been shot with aesthetic brilliance. They have a different look which was obtained by playing with the DI and the lighting frame. The lighting has been kept within the latitude and the background and foreground have been matched. It has then been developed with the DI to get the mood right and to get a more bleached look.

For some of the people the film was over exposed by two stops to get more details.

The camera is a cinematographer’s best friend which can immensely change the flow of a film. Race 2 has been shot on various cameras but the Principle one was Panavision. Here Ravi adds, “There were some focus issues with the back focus lens which was slightly disappointing.”

Every shot had a multi – camera set up with 5 cameras.

Digital has been used only for 5 per cent of the shoot, the rest is manual. Commenting on shooting on the digital medium Ravi says, ” There is a change taking place in the system and so we should also change. Digital is good, I have personally shot on Sony F65, Red Epic – x etc and they are great.

But most importantly, the infrastructure for digital should be in place. The production design has to be very good. Currently, the work system, storage system etc is not upto the mark. Once these things have settled we can definitely use digital more. Also the attitude of the people towards work also needs to change.”

Director Duo Abbas Mustan alongwith their brother Hussain and Jay Shewakramani, Creative Producer

Director Duo Abbas- Mustan alongwith their brother Hussain and Jay Shewakramani, Creative Producer

Talking about his relationship with the director duo of Abbas – Mustan, he says, “We share a very good comfort level. Their style of working is very well planned. They have their own style of filmmaking and prefer using a multi – camera set up. I have adapted to their style and we work well in unison.”

Saif was also very involved in the project. With such a long outdoor shoot, we were all like a family.” Mentioning his team he says, “Prime Focus has done the VFX and the DI. Sunny Singh from Prime Focus was the colorist who has worked on Race as well.” Race 2 was  shot in 8 months.”


Ravi Yadav’s vision lab

  • The principle camera used was Panavision.
  • The rope cam was  used for sequences like the bullet shot among other shots.
  • Every shot had a multi – camera set up with 5 cameras
  • The songs and action sequences were shot on 1000 fps by Phantom Flex.
  • Cameras including Arri 235, Arri 435, Canon 5D’s and Go Pro have also been used for the shoot.
  • To create the right kind of lighting,  Skimmers and various HMI’s including 6k and 12k’s were used.