I chose to shoot the action thriller Stratton anamorphic partly for the aspect ratio, but also because I like the look of anamorphic lenses and the way they render 3D space into a 2D image. I tested Cooke Anamorphic/i lenses and immediately liked what I saw. They give a sharp image that holds contrast and color where others would go milky. Beyond the sharpness, they’ve got “soul”—there’s something beyond the technical performance of the lens. You get a warm feeling from them.
Simon [West, the director] and I wanted to create a naturalistic, atmospheric look. If it looks real, the action is more impactful, and it feels more dangerous and immediate to the viewer.
We had a wide range of shooting conditions, from bright, sunny beaches to dark scenes inside a water pipe, which was lit mainly by torches flashing around and lights that we prepared to look like colored glowsticks. I was really impressed with how the Cooke Anamorphic/i’s held the color and contrast equally well in each situation. They brought out all the nuances within each shot.
For a big action film, you need to be practical—you need a lens set with a big focal range, and you need multiple sets available so that the second unit matches what you are shooting. The lenses need to be light enough to go on a Steadicam, yet rugged enough to cope in different environments. The Cooke Anamorphic/i lenses were ideal. We never had an issue throughout the whole shoot.
Cinematographer Felix Wiedemann outfitted ARRI Alexa and Alexa Mini cameras with Anamorphic/i lenses from Cooke Optics to shoot the action thriller Stratton, which is due for release in 2016.