By Sarah Shachat, IndieWire
Every year, IndieWire reaches out to the cinematographers behind the films premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and asks which cameras, lenses, and formats they used and why they chose them to create the looks and meet the production demands of their films. While budget is always a concern — and certainly was mentioned by several filmmakers who responded to our survey — it’s amazing to see just how many ways cinematographers can create wildly different visual and emotional landscapes.
The 2024 Sundance narrative features span formats from 16mm to 8K and everything in between, using a range of camera systems and every kind of lens from modified photography lenses to the full range of a 24-290 Angenieux Optimo zoom. What unites all of the responses is a concern with how the cinematography brings audiences closer to each film’s characters: how they feel, how they see the world, or how the story informs the way we understand our own. Here are the responses from filmmakers who brought scripted narrative features to the festival; you can also check out our cinematography survey on the 2024 Sundance documentary features.
Photo : Allen Fraser
Dir: Susanna Fogel DP: Steve Yedlin, ASC
Format: ALEV 3 Sensor (in 3.4K Open Gate mode, recorded to ARRIRAW)
Camera: ALEXA Mini
Lenses: Zeiss Supreme Primes and Fujinon Premista Zooms
The Look: Our cinematographic style comes more from shot design and lighting than from gear selection. Tonal, color, and textural rendering are often (mis)attributed to gear but are actually authored primarily in the processing pipeline, not camera selection. So we chose gear for versatility and logistics, not look-making, and crafted the photorendering look in our pipeline.
Photo : Jenny Anderson
Dir: Caroline Lindy DP: Will Stone
Format: ProRes 3K (3072×3072) 2x Anamorphic (final ratio 2:1)
Camera: ALEXA 35
Lenses: Neo AO Anamorphic lenses from Lensworks
The Look: The ALEXA 35 paired with Lensworks Rentals’ Neo AO 2x Anamorphic lenses was the perfect package for “Your Monster.” The ALEXA 35 allowed us to be bold with our visuals, and we could really play in the dark with the additional stop of range in the shadows. Also, the additional 1.5 stops in the highlights are super helpful when moving fast on a small film. Lensworks’ Neo AOs gave us the perfect aesthetic reminiscent of ’90s romantic comedies, while still allowing for us to be creative and bring a more modern feel to the image.
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