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.
During the 2020 industry slowdown Zeiss safely sustained consultancy and demonstration services at their Cinema Lens Demo Center resource for cinematographers and ACs, opened in Los Angeles in 2019. With the launch of the Supreme Prime Radiance lenses later that year, and four additional focal lengths added this April alone, Zeiss’ LA-based, head of cinema sales and lens expert Snehal Patel, points out the benefits of the well-appointed facility.
“Even during the global pandemic,” he says, “we were able to keep demo lenses flowing out to rental houses and DPs, and our team used online tools to keep in touch with the community." With restrictions easing, the comfortable Los Angeles space provides ample room for safe in-person lens demos and educational seminars.
All this activity calls for an even more robust team. After a comprehensive search they are eager to welcome the renowned Jean-Marc Bouchut to the Zeiss family. A thirty-year alumnus of French lens maker Angenieux, Bouchut takes the reins as Zeiss' director of cinema sales, building out the Zeiss presence on the East coast by providing support to cinematographers and crews from the New York office. Jean-Marc and I have known each other for a long time," Patel notes. "With an extensive background in optics to share, he's here to support filmmakers at all levels."
Visitors to the Los Angeles headquarters can also meet another addition to the team, Anna Schmidt, who moves to Zeiss from Dynamic Rentals. Working with Tony Wisniewski, Senior Manager of Marketing, Anna supports Zeiss’ marketing activation and educational events.