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https://www.panoramaaudiovisual.com/en/2022/02/08/sandra-valde-hansen-shoots-plan-b-sony-venice-zeiss-supreme-lenses/

Sandra Valde-Hansen - Sony Venice - Zeiss Supreme - Plan B

The combination of a Sony Venice film camera and Zeiss Supreme lenses has brought Plan B, a film photographed by Sandra Valde-Hansen, to life.

Cinematographer Sandra Valde-Hansen (The L Word: Generation Q, Now Apocalypse, White Bird in a Blizzard, Kaboom) was challenged to capture scenes in a variety of weather and lighting conditions for Natalie Morales’ film Plan B. The road movie, which is now available on Hulu, follows a pair of teenage friends during their daytime and nighttime search for emergency contraception.

The pandemic caused the production to be delayed: the production had to abandon its plan to shoot the story in snowy weather, so Valde-Hansen was forced to adopt “the warm tones of autumn”. Anamorphic lenses, Valde-Hansen notes, might have been a good choice for an approach anchored in decades past, “but one of the discussions I had with Natalie was based on recent testing with anamorphics for The L Word: Generation Q. For that show my co-DP, Moira Morel, and I had tested numerous anamorphic sets. We found that they weren’t fast, really fell apart when shooting wide open, and concluded that the falloff in sharpness on the sides would not work for the show’s aesthetic.”

Valde-Hansen evaluated his options: “I thought, OK, what did we want out of an anamorphic? We wanted intimacy, natural perspective, natural magnification, and very shallow depth of field. We wanted to be able to see the world these girls live in, and to go out into that world, but we also wanted it to be very intimate. Once it was clear anamorphic presented challenges, I started looking into large format.”

Sandra Valde-Hansen - Sony Venice - Zeiss Supreme - Plan B

Large format with Zeiss and Sony

The cinematographer tested for the film over a weekend. “That’s when I was able to test the 2500 ASA on the Sony Venise plus the T1.5 on the ZEISS Supreme Primes. I was absolutely blown away by the combination. The lenses were beautiful. They were very clean. I proposed to Natalie that the pros of anamorphic matched the pros of large format, while the cons of anamorphic were not present in large format. She was all for it,” recalls Valde-Hansen.

Autumn in Syracuse leads to early evenings and unreliable weather, problems Valde-Hansen encountered during a scene in a children’s playground over the course of two nights: “It was cold, it rained, it snowed— our time was heavily truncated because of the weather. It was crazy, we had to light quickly—but the speed of the Supreme Primes helped us overcome some of the issues and keep on schedule.” Valde-Hansen appreciates the authenticity that the Primes bring to sequences like this: “One thing about the Supremes that I absolutely love…they create such a naturalistic look without compromise to sharpness or contrast. This really allowed us to keep that naturalism throughout the film. All together, seeing how beautiful the Sony Venice is at 2500, and how clean the Supremes look at f/1.5, I knew I’d made the right decision.”

After shooting Plan B, Valde-Hansen began shooting the second season of The L Word: Generation Q (airing on Showtime) with the same camera and lens combination: “I’ve been working with the Venice and Supreme Primes for a year and a half now, and I’m really impressed. Using these lenses with amazing color rendition, great skin tones, nice fall off, no lens distortion, and consistency all the way through, is just wonderful.”

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Pour • 8 Feb, 2022
• Section: Bassin versant