EQUIPMENT AND THE FILMLOOK
Creating the film look for every project
Good visuals let us explore our humanity, and remind us of what is really important in life. In short: they tell a good story. For over 100 years, these stories were presented in a certain look.
The filmlook remains the golden standard of cinema and movies. Thank goodness it can be simulated in the digital world now. With Panasonic´s Varicam LT camera, great lenses and my own postproduction I bring the beauty of film in a modern flavour to all my digital projects - be it the chrystal clear 65mm look, the velvety texture of 35mm, or the gritty grainy 16mm look.
It´s a lifetime dream come true - the achieve the image quality of film and beyond at very low cost for even the smallest projects.
Velvety 35mm filmlook at ISO5000, with difficult mixed low light and high contrast scenes...
Testing lenses and the camera to their breaking point - exploring the extremes.
MY MAIN EQUIPMENT
Varicam LT camera
4 cherrypicked HD cinezooms with HDx35 adapter, 4K capable, but small and lightweight - to get all the unique shots a still lens will never capture. From 20mm superwide to 3900 mm supertele (focal length are all full frame equivalents).
- Canon HJ18x28 F2.9-4.7 - a stunning telezoom at a mere 2kg (110mm-1950mm, 3900mm with extender), the standard wildlife lens still and will probably be for another 20 years.
- Canon Cinestyle 21x7.5 (30-600mm) - very practical due to high contrast and a huge range from wide to supertele
- Secret weapon lens - my favourite zoom ever. Until I get a second copy for back up it will stay my secret weapon lens. It is a true cinema zoom and the most 3D rendering zoom I ever used, superb sharpness, contrast and bokeh, very clean, beautiful images.
- Angenieux Cinestyle 5.3-61 T1.9-2.6. (20-240mm) - it´s a lovely Angenieux full of character, sharp in the center, especially at the wide side, and softer in close up and at the long end and towards the edges. Unique deep blue tunnel flares that I love. It is based on the 7-81/T2.4 S16mm lens from 1999 (whish I had that lens in my 16mm era), so it is an older design probably without asphericals, bringing some vintage taste but with good contrast.
Nikon AF-S 10-24/3.5-4.5 (15-36mm) - I selected this sample from 3 lenses and it is a very good superwide, with an extremely deep 3D rendering of space - something which is getting rarer and rarer these days with ever flatter fields. Very resistant to flare, excellent close-up performance and very small. And the front element is flat, so a polarizer can be used. I even like the bokeh at open aperture in close shots.
I made a new selection for my most used focal length - 24 and 50 - and discovered I really love the ones from Zeiss. They stand out by their superb mechanics and handling, their 3D high fidelity, super sharpness with beautiful bokeh, a sublime rendering of skin and faces - their cinematic look that blows away most competitors. These are all new designs.
- Zeiss Distagon Classic 25/2 - masterpiece and instant favourite, more 3D than the bigger F1.4 brother. Makes people look so real and alive. Stunning yet sublime.
- Zeiss Milvus Makro Planar 50/2 - WOW.
Thank you, Zeiss. I plan to invest in Milvus 15/2.8, 35/1.4 and 85/1.4.
- Nikon AF 70-180/4.5-5.6 - a superb, truly invaluable lens and one of the very few macros with a totally round aperture for natural highlights. Bokeh at macro distances is superb.
- Kilfitt Kilar 90/2.8 - a very special old German lens in a rare cherry sample with intact coating, inherited from my dear friend and mentor. Softest bokeh ever, but the Nikon zoom comes very close.
- Nikon Micro AF 200/4. Could not quite believe it when I saw the gorgeous images. Great working distance, much bigger than in the zoom.
Drone - always subject to change but always with me to use any magical light anytime.
For all lens lovers out there, a little list of lenses I do not use anymore:
Canon 16-35/4 L - it is just terribly flat. Otherwise close to perfect, but the flatness makes the images somewhat dull and not immersive. A symbol lens for the dilemmas of modern lens designs.
Sigma Art 24/1.4 - it is a good lens for the money, but the Zeiss 25/2 is so much better in every respect. It is immediately clear after the first shot of a face. The Zeiss is even sharper with better edge performance and less chromatic aberrations than the Sigma stopped down to F2. Most of all the Sigmas have very rough manual focus, making them a pain to use in cinematography (I had 5 samples of different focal length in my hands, they were all the same). I did not like the 50/1.4 at all, way too clinical. IMO the ART line as cine versions do not have a great future, they are too expensive for what they give and the image is not in the league of classic cinema lenses - too flat, too cold. The Canon CN-Es are much nicer for the same money, and supersharp from F2.
Tokina Cine 11-16/2.8 - impressive sharpness, excellent edge performance and good although not great 3D rendering - but the flaring is just unbearable. Coating wise they are lightyears behind the competition. This bodes not well for their cine primes.