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Shooting in the Kitchen with Schneider Kreuznach

Director/cinematographer Andrew David Watson has traveled the world, following his passion for interesting and challenging documentaries. Watson was recently called on to profile chef Yoji Tokuyoshi for Red Wing Shoe Company. The challenge was to capture the dedication and perseverance required to transform Tokuyoshi from sous chef to world-renowned chef and owner of a cutting-edge restaurant in Milan.

Deciding to shoot with Canon’s EOS C300, Watson searched for prime lenses that covered the full image area, offered the characteristics he was after and were priced to own. He chose Schneider Kreuznach Xenon FF-Primes (all T2.1 in 25, 35, 50, 75 and the coveted 100mm).

“I was drawn to them first and foremost because of their color rendition, particularly the way they handle skin tones,” Watson explains. “I noticed this immediately in the color grading. We had to do very little to match shots, which was helpful since the project was documentary in nature and shot almost entirely with natural light.”

While he used the 100mm for detail shots throughout, Watson shot in Tokuyoshi’s kitchen, handheld at very close distances, with the 35mm and 50mm, which allowed the background to fall off and the bokeh to shine. “These lenses have a nice classic cinema look, which I think is due to their 14 iris blades,” he says. “I also like the character of the flare.”

In the compact kitchen, he appreciated that the lenses are all identical in size and configuration, so “it made swapping them out really quick and easy. That’s always key with a small crew.”