In a second lot of tests for the TV series I’m currently in pre-production for, my colleague Bonnie Elliot and I tested a range of different cinema lenses.
We set about creating a bit of a torture test. Our set will have a lot of practical lights built into it by design so we started off with a dedo pointing right down the lens against black. Then as the shot pans we find another couple of fluro tubes in shot, one at the same distance as the cast and one deep. I find, against black, it’s a good way to reveal chromatic aberration where the colour fringing starts to play on the edges.
By panning the shot we can also look at how the lens flares move and travel. I find the way a lens flares can be quite different when the source is on the edge of frame, in frame and just outside of frame.
In the deep background we have some xmas lights which are great for revealing how the lenses render out of focus highlights and an object at minimum distance that allows us to rack focus to minimums before going to the deep background and then back to mid ground. This should show us what kind of breathing the lenses are exhibiting.
The fluro tubes at close range also reveal how the contrast is affected by what I call veiling flare or the milkiness in the blacks when a hot and broader light source is in frame.
We were also interested to see how the skin tones rendered and compare the geometry of each lens, that is, how they render a face !
The setup director, himself an ASC accredited cinematographer, had a predilection for the Cooke S4’s.
We shot a T2 take and a T4 take of a wider lens, the 32mm/35mm and a longer 75mm/85mm lens of the same action.
I’ve cut the shot’s up, repeating them in bits a few times over. this way you get to see and lock in each lens in that area, before moving to the next one.
I’ll endeavour to upload the T4 version, but this is the T2 pass.
Camera was an Amira shooting 23.976 1920 ProRes, and we have our WIP production LUT applied.