Dana Christiaansen Wraps Spots for Jeep and Suzuki

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Sun, 03/13/2011 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Respected for his work on high-profile automotive commercials director of photography Dana Christiaansen recently shot commercials for both Jeep and Suzuki. Christiaansen is known for capturing delicate detail on the rugged terrain of challenging car and truck shoots. The Suzuki material was shot for Siltanen and Partners Advertising using the Fujinon PL mount 14.5-45mm T2.0 18-85mm T.20 and the 75-400mm T2.8-T3.8 zoom lenses on an Arri Alexa digital camera. For Jeep via Publicis/Leo Burnett he used the Fujinon Premier Series 18-85mm T2.0 zoom on an ARRI 435 film motion picture camera.
  “I still remember the first time I looked through a Fujinon 18-85mm T2.0 lens mounted on an Arri 435 at Otto Nemenz ” Christiaansen says. “I was amazed at the crisp image at 18mm. It was sharp from edge to edge no softness around the perimeter of frame and no light falloff. The image just seemed to jump off the ground glass at me.” 
 The visual approach on the Suzuki spots made this an ideal job for a full set of Fujinon PL Mount zooms according to Christiaansen: “Some of the great advantages of the Fujinon Premier Zooms are the incredible sharpness and flat field of focus these lenses offer at wide open apertures along with the lack of any noticeable distortion. I was locked into a parking lot location with very little variety in the backgrounds.  I used longer focal lengths and kept the aperture wide open so the images would benefit from softer backgrounds.” Christiaansen used Tiffen ND’s to filter down on every shot to a T2.0 on the Fujinon 18-85mm zoom or a T2.8 on the 75-400mm zoom to defocus the background as much as possible. 
During the Jeep shoot Christiaansen again relied on the speed of the Fujinon 18-85mm by taking advantage of the Premier’s image quality at T2.0 while shooting dark overcast exteriors. The Jeep shoot differed slightly. The concept involved Jeeps driving within a large landscape. Christiaansen used the 18-85 on the wide end for most setups. However the shoot encountered the flat low-contrast light of rainy December days common to the north of Santa Barbara County California. “Being able to shoot wide open at T2 and minimize the depth of field helped separate the cars from the background at that location ” he says. “The Premier PL zooms provided a sharp prime lens feel that helped define detail in the environment and in the hero cars.”