Cameras, lenses amongst filmmakers' favorites

Director, “2 Days in Paris”
P+S Technik PRO35 Digital Image Converter: “We shot our film on HD for budgetary reasons, but I’ve always been in love with how film looks. The PRO35 — which you put on the camera — helped us get that kind of feel, in terms of image quality and depth of field. It’s just a great tool for making HD look like film.”

Director, “The Station Agent,” “The Visitor”
Leica Digital Camera: “During rehearsals, I’d take the actors to the location and block them. While that was going on, either myself or my cinematographer, Oliver Bokelberg, would shoot digital stills of what we’d want our compositions to look like. We’d then share those photos with the key members of the crew. During shooting, the whole sequence of shots were printed out and taped to the wall. After we got a shot, we’d cross out the photo and move on to the next setup. It was a great way to keep everybody on the same page during a fast shoot.”

Director, “With Your Permission”
Angenieuex Zoom 24-290: “I was inspired by a scene in Brian de Palma’s ‘The Untouchables’ — where Al Capone goes to the opera. They kept the focus on the singer while also on Capone’s reaction — zooming in on his crying. It was edited together with a shooting in an apartment. We see the singers in sweaty makeup, the shooting and Capone’s reaction sort of in 3-D: The melodrama becomes very touching, dramatic and cynical all at the same time. I loved that zoom ‘thing.’ It helped me do the opera sequences in my own film, which I found very hard to figure out. Then, in the end, we still decided to do it a little differently.”

Director, “Donnie Darko,” “Southland Tales”
Panavision 300x Digital Zoom Lens: “As far as I know, it’s the longest zoom lens that exists — it’s about eight feet long. We used it twice in the film , both times to imitate the look of a surveillance camera. On one of them, Justin Timberlake was on top of a roof of a restaurant in Santa Monica. The camera was on a cliff, zoomed in on Justin, then we zoomed all the way out until Duane (“The Rock” Johnson) comes into frame in the foreground. We were the first feature film that ever used this lens.”

Director-writers, “Half Nelson” and the upcoming “Sugar”
Dragon Grips Slide & Glide Camera Mount: “The slide and glide is like a six-foot mini track that mounts on the head of a tripod and allows the camera to glide back and forth along it. It allows for very smooth and subtle movements in tight locations where it would be impossible to lay down a dolly track. It’s been great for shooting sports, too, giving us the flexibility to quickly and quietly reframe when our actors get obstructed by surrounding action on the field.”

Cinematographer, “Hero,” “2046”
The intangibles: “Any digital, analog or acoustic device that gives all (pre-Cheney) ‘democratic’ access that ‘frees’ us enough to learn that (engaging) stories are told by (better) storytellers, that images are ideas well perceived, that performance is an energy engaged and that art is what artists make — to work on the art itself, not the artifice of form.
“Climate change, which makes the unexpected expected: Change that moves us out of the complacency of ‘received’ language or idioms or genres or forms — the cliches and constructs of the lazy and self-indulgent, the habits ‘they’ call rules.
“Youth — in attitude, in culture, in days (rather than years). Wanting is the only answer to the questions old ideas don’t ask.”

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