In the two decades since we first entered The Matrix, there’s been a quantum leap in computing and filmmaking technology. Visionary filmmaker Lana Wachowski made sure she considered both those changes before going back down the rabbit hole. “There have been huge advances in computing that called for an updated visual representation of the virtual world of The Matrix,” explains Daniele Massaccesi, co-cinematographer with John Toll, ASC on The Matrix Resurrections. “Lana wanted to create a synthetic world that would be believable to humans in 2021. It is therefore photoreal and full of color.”
The Disney Channel’s original musical comedy movie Spin is full of the type of color palettes expected of a story that follows Rhea, an Indian American 15-year-old – played by Avantika – who discovers her artistic side through the unique world of DJ culture, and learns she has a passion for creating mixes that blend the textures of her Indian heritage and the world around her. Cinematographer Jeremy Benning CSC and director Manjari Makijany knew from the start that they wanted the film to be shot in large format.
In some of their earliest discussions about the new film The Water Man, both director, producer, and actor David Oyelowo, and cinematographer Matt Lloyd, ASC, CSC, knew that the look of the film would need to be more majestic than a spherical lens could provide. Then, Lloyd met up with Michael Koerner of Koerner Camera of Portland, Oregon, who would provide the lenses and cameras for the project.
Season 4 of Star Trek: Discovery will bring viewers further into the story than previous seasons, as lead director of photography Philip Lanyon added shooting in full frame to his creative look. Lanyon was the driving force behind using full frame for Discovery, although the decision to introduce full frame was also somewhat technically driven. “Discovery used virtual production environments in Season 4 and the large format can effectively give you softer backgrounds, which was important to control moiré and other artifacts you can get on a LED wall,” he said, “but shooting in full frame is what I wanted for the look and feel of Season 4.”
Cooke Optics has introduced two additions to its expanding range of full frame lenses. Two new Varotal/i FF zoom lenses bring modern design and materials to this historic line of zoom lenses that were first seen in 1971, while the extensive Panchro/i Classic FF range offers the beloved vintage Speed Panchro look for full frame sensors.
In an industry that relies heavily on collaboration to combine technical excellence with inspiring creativity, the last two years have been a unique challenge. The Zeiss cinema lens team, meanwhile, has worked hard to not only continue communications, but to also expand and improve its capabilities across the Americas. Whether it’s from behind masks or monitors they have been actively engaging with the filmmaking community, unveiling new technology, maintaining channels, sponsoring online events and film festivals, and producing their Studies in Cinematography series with the likes of Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS, Matthew Libatique, ASC and Alice Brooks, ASC.
The film We Are Lady Parts is Nida Manzoor’s anarchic and irreverent music comedy about a Muslim female punk band – called Lady Parts – who are on a mission to find a lead guitarist and maybe, just maybe, get a proper gig. It was the first time she and cinematographer Diana Olifirova had worked together, but Olifirova described all the people on board for the series as a dream team.
A cinematographer, executive producer, and whiskey aficionado, Johnny Derango was corresponding with the owner of The Bottle Haus, an online liquor retailer, who it turned out was looking for someone to create a series of commercials to promote their business on social media. “The directive given to me was to do a commercial that gives the bottles personality, as well as be funny,” said Derango. “It was very open ended, so I had to conceptualize that.”
Arri Rental has introduced two new large-format lens series—Alfa anamorphic lenses and Moviecam spherical lenses. Both series were conceived and constructed by Arri Rental’s global lens development team, which was also responsible for the company’s DNA lenses for full-frame and 65 mm cinematography.
“When you’re preparing a film you can indulge in dreamy conversations –– it’s an essential part of the process that gets infused into the work,” says cinematographer Sam Levy. “But once you’re on set, and the clock is ticking, you find yourself a passenger on a moving train. Sometimes it’s a slow-moving train, but that train is moving. This was very much the case when we shot Karen Cinorre’s new film Mayday.”