Written by Max Losito

In June 2022, a U.S. production asked if I was interested in renting my Photo-Sonics 4B camera for some slo mo shots for a feature. I was surprised about the request, because it had been a long time since I shot anything high speed on film, especially with this camera.

My first question was which director was taking on this big challenge, and when I got the answer, I immediately understood everything. Luca Guadagnino shoots all his movies on film, and he didn’t want to shoot this shot in digital.

I have big respect for directors that use film, even more for the ones that using it on high-speed photography.

My background is typically direction, cinematography and slow-motion effects, both digital and on film. My role for Challengerswas as a service and high speed expert, providing the camera and lenses for the special sequences.

Courtesy of Max Losito

The Photo-Sonics 4B was built to film nuclear and ballistic test, but also for the NASA space program.

I extensively use this camera during the end of 90’ for tabletop shots in advertising on commercials I direct. My model is running from 85fps to 2000fps burning 1000ft roll in 8 seconds. Shooting with this camera is extremely hard. The plastic 1000ft film cores need to be replaced with special aluminum ones due of the camera speed.


Courtesy of Max Losito

The camera shutter is only 72 degrees that become 1/10.000 shutter time at max speed, and it use medium format Pentax 645 lenses that are f4—the fastest ones.

So, all this is translating into a lot of light!

Luckily my 4B has a video tap, that makes framing and playback at normal speed easy. For Challengers we shoot six shots between 1000-2000fps.

The eyes close ups, including Zendaya’s, that are into the opening sequence of the movie. Then there is the sequence of shots where Patrick, (Josh O’Connor), smash a tennis racket from different POV’s. Last one is a low POV of Art (Mike Faist), with the sweat dropping over the lens.

We shoot in full sunny day together with two diffused Arri M90 and an Arri Skypanel S360 on Kodak Vision3 5219.