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DP for ‘The Fosters’ Relies on Blackmagic SmartScope Duo 4K

In the ABC Family drama series The Fosters, two moms raise a multi-ethnic family of foster, adopted and biological kids. According to Kees Van Oostrum, ASC, the cinematographer on The Fosters, “It’s a fun project and really walks the line of what is controversial, but that’s what drew me to it. I think it’s a positive, educational experience for viewers.”

As DP on the series, Van Oostrum is responsible for overseeing the technical workflow related to the image, as well as achieving the series’ artistic look. While cameras play a large role, there is an unsung hero in Van Oostrum’s workflow that he relies on daily: his on-set monitoring cart, which houses a Blackmagic Design SmartScope Duo 4K monitor, a Smart Videohub 12×12 router and several Mini Converters.

“I have numerous Mini Converters—four SDI-to-HDMI for village monitors, two SDI-to-SD for scripting, and SD-to-HD ones for the cameras—as well as the Smart Videohub router. They all work behind the scenes on the cart,” explains Van Oostrum. “But the major components are the monitors, of course. I see the images we are shooting come through, and the SmartScope Duo 4K lets me monitor all the technical aspects of the signal, which is a real lifesaver.”

Every shot captured gets evaluated via the SmartScope Duo 4K’s histogram and waveform for exposure, an important part of Van Oostrum’s creative process. “The danger of determining exposure by sight is that it does not always accurately represent the values in the lower end of the image,” Van Oostrum continues. “The SmartScope Duo 4K gives me an instant reference, so I can adjust the visuals accordingly and so I have enough information for post.”