Covering the technology, gear and talent behind film and video production

Cooke Optics to be honored at 85th Academy Awards®

Patricia Greene  January 9 2013 02:01:42 PM
Cooke Optics will receive an Academy Award® of Merit — an Oscar® statuette — for its continuing innovation in the design, development and manufacture of motion picture camera lenses.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® created the Scientific and Technical Award to honour the men, women and companies whose discoveries and innovations have contributed in significant, outstanding and lasting ways to motion pictures. Each year, the academy honorees are celebrated at a formal dinner held two weeks prior to the Oscar® ceremony. This year’s Scientific and Technical Awards presentation takes place on 9 February 2013 at The Beverly Hills Hotel, LA.

The Academy commented that Cooke receives an Award of Merit because it "helped define the look of motion pictures over the last century." Cooke lenses are renowned in the industry for the ‘Cooke Look®’, which gives a warm, natural feel to images on the screen. The British company’s innovations over the years have included zoom lenses for movie cameras, the ‘fast’ prime lenses that eliminated the need for bright lights, and more recently its ground-breaking /i Technology protocol, a system adopted by many leading camera and lens manufacturers, that collects crucial lens metadata to provide more accurate information to camera operators and post-production teams.

Les Zellan, Chairman and Owner, Cooke Optics, said, “We are thrilled that the company has been recognised by the Academy after 120 years’ continuous service to the motion picture industry; I’m humbled to accept the award on behalf of all the talented people currently working at Cooke as well as the thousands that have gone before.  Cooke has been an innovative force in this industry from the birth of motion pictures to the current digital film revolution.  Our commitment has always been to enable customers to realise their vision and help them create the films that capture the imaginations of audiences around the world.”

Each Cooke lens is hand crafted at the factory in Leicester, UK, using a combination of state-of-the-art technology, traditional 100 year old techniques and personal dexterity that come together to create the unique and famed ‘Cooke Look’.

Cooke lenses have recently been used on film projects including A Good Day To Die Hard, After Earth, Hugo, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Midnight in Paris and My Week With Marilyn, and on television productions including World Without End, Game Of Thrones, Downton Abbey, True Blood, The Borgias and Chicago Fire.
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About Cooke Optics, LTD.
Cooke is a storied name in both cinematographic and the ultra-high-end professional photography markets. Known worldwide for their precision, exacting tolerances and superior quality, Cooke lenses are specified by many of the world’s most respected cinematographers. Cooke is also the developer behind /i Technology, the protocol enabling vital lens and camera information to be captured and passed digitally to post-production teams. Features in production or recently shot with Cooke lenses include  A Good Day To Die Hard, To Rome With Love, Filth, After Earth, Hugo, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Midnight in Paris, My Week With Marilyn, Red Dog, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and Angels and Demons. Television shows in production or recently shot with Cooke lenses include Chicago Fire, Game of Thrones, World Without End, The Borgias, Downton Abbey, Upstairs Downstairs, Trollied, Trauma, Community, Back, Journeyman, State of Mind, Life, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, and Entourage.



Media contact:
Wendy Mattock, Bubble & Squeak
e: wendy@bubblesqueak.co.uk   t: +44 (0)7912 300231

Cooke miniS4/i lenses are the popular choice in Uruguay

Patricia Greene  December 18 2012 08:25:21 AM
Press Release:



- ‘Terra Ribelle 2’ is one of many recent miniS4/i shoots
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Leicester, UK - 13 December 2012

Image:Cooke miniS4/i lenses are the popular choice in Uruguay



Cooke miniS4 lenses (formerly known as Panchro by Cooke) have gained rapid popularity in Uruguay, with many international feature film, television and commercial productions turning to the small, lightweight lenses to bring warmth and personality to digital images.

“The miniS4s have proved to be very popular in our market, and have quickly become the workhorses of our rental department, working with everything from RED and ALEXA to Canon and DSLR cameras,” says Ernesto Musitelli, Owner and Managing Director, Musitelli Film & Digital. “These digital cameras are very sensitive and usually require filtration, so the T2.8 speed of the minis4/i is not an issue. They match well with Cooke S4/i lenses so we are comfortable to supply mixed sets, and the camera crews like the miniS4/i because they are small and lightweight.”

The rental house recently supplied two units comprising RED cameras and Cooke miniS4/i’s for a six month shoot for ‘TERRE RIBELLE – IL NUOVO MONDO’, a television drama series for the Italian broadcaster RAI.

Marcelo Camorino A.D.F., Director of Photography, said, “The combination of Cooke MiniS4/i lenses and digital capture with RED MX and EPIC has yielded excellent results as regards texture, contrast and resolution. During the 24 week shooting of ‘TERRA RIBELLE – IL NUOVO MONDO’, the combination was put to intensive use in many different lighting conditions and I am fully satisfied with the final result.“

One of Musitelli’s most popular sets of miniS4/i’s has uncoated front elements, which give a particular look to digital material. “We found that our DPs really liked how the uncoated lenses behaved more like old lenses, especially with digital cameras – the images are not so ‘pristine’, and the DPs like the softer, more flattering effect especially for beauty work,” comments Musitelli.

Panchro/i officially renamed miniS4/i: S4 Quality Deserves the S4 Name

Patricia Greene  November 19 2012 12:18:05 PM
The “Panchro/i by Cooke” prime lenses are being officially renamed “miniS4/i.”  

                                                       Image:Panchro/i officially renamed miniS4/i:  S4 Quality Deserves the S4 Name
Why?  Because resurrecting the venerable name, Panchro, one of the most popular lens names in film history, has apparently caused a whole lot of confusion for filmmakers.

Turns out, the name “Panchro” is more than just a legendary Cooke brand name.  People are asking if the new Panchro lens is the same as the original Cooke Speed Panchro, used extensively during the 20th century.  The answer is, not at all, but apparently people assumed the “Panchro/i by Cooke” lenses were an updated version of the original Panchro.

This new lens design was purpose-built as the T2.8 version of its brother, the T2.0 Cooke S4 lens with the same image quality, the same Cooke Look and color matched to the other Cooke lenses including the old Speed Panchro. It’s smaller and lighter weight than the S4 lens. It really is a “miniS4.”

The original Cooke Speed Panchros are still in circulation and being used to shoot certain scenes for a more retro, nostalgic flavor.  They’re also used remounted for both motion and still photography.  So, the name “Panchro” carries a certain personality that has little to do with merely bringing forward a legendary name.  

As of November 15, 2012 the prime lenses formerly engraved “Panchro/i” will be engraved “miniS4/i”.  Nothing else has changed.  It’s exactly the same lens, it’s merely a new name. We will be mailing new labels to Panchro/i owners, with the miniS4/i logo, to be placed over the Panchro/i engraving for those who would like to update the name on their lenses.

Cooke brings its latest lenses to IBC 2012 as demand for PL glass continues to grow

Patricia Greene  July 25 2012 02:00:58 PM
Cooke brings its latest lenses to IBC 2012 as demand for PL glass continues to grow
- Prototypes of new focal lengths on display -


Leicester, UK – 25 July 2012 – Cooke Optics, the premier manufacturer of precision lenses, will bring lenses from its three ranges - S4/i, Panchro/i and 5/i – to IBC 2012, including a prototype of a 65mm lens for the Panchro range. The company also continues to expand its production capacity with more new hires at its Leicester factory to meet increased global demand for PL glass.

“Many broadcasters around the world are switching from cameras with 2/3” sensors to those with PL mounts that give a full-frame 35mm picture, such as the Sony F3, F35 and F65, the ARRI Alexa, as well as RED and Canon cameras - and therefore they need lenses to go with them,” says Les Zellan, Chairman and Owner, Cooke Optics. “Digital images are clean and pure but don’t have much personality; Cooke lenses handle colour and contrast in such a way that they give a warm, organic and much more visually pleasing quality known as the ‘Cooke Look’ that audiences respond to, while still retaining full resolution to beyond 4K. This filmic quality is what persuades broadcasters and film-makers to choose Cooke lenses time and again.”

Recent high profile projects that have been shot with Cooke lenses include the Emmy Award-winning television series ‘The Borgias’ and M. Night Shyamalan’s forthcoming feature After Earth, which is the first feature film to be shot on the Sony F65 camera.



About Cooke Optics, LTD.
Cooke is a storied name in both cinematographic and the ultra-high-end professional photography markets. Known worldwide for their precision, exacting tolerances and superior quality, Cooke lenses are specified by many of the world’s most respected cinematographers. Cooke is also the developer behind /i Technology, the protocol enabling vital lens and camera information to be captured and passed digitally to post-production teams. Features in production or recently shot with Cooke lenses include After Earth, Hugo, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Midnight in Paris, My Week With Marilyn, Red Dog, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and Angels and Demons. Television shows in production or recently shot with Cooke lenses include The Borgias, Downton Abbey, Upstairs Downstairs, Trollied, Trauma, Community, Back, Journeyman, State of Mind, Life, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, and Entourage.

AN AUDIENCE WITH CHRISTIAN BERGER

Patricia Greene  July 17 2012 10:33:55 AM
AN AUDIENCE WITH CHRISTIAN BERGER

Award-winning cinematographer, director, producer, writer, film academy professor, developer of film technology … Christian Berger has a storied career in film that spans over 40 years and continues to go from strength to strength. Here he talks about the importance of lighting, the wide-ranging effects of digital cameras, and how Cooke lenses have enhanced his most recent films, including Haneke’s The White Ribbon – for which he was Oscar-nominated and received, beside many other awards, from the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography 2010 – and the latest work, coming in 2013, (working title)   The Notebook by director Janos Zsasz.


I have used Cooke lenses for decades; I particularly like the ‘friendly’ look they give in contrast to a very hard story. The Notebook is such a story; based on the novel ‘Le Grand Cahier’ by Agota Kristof, it depicts the ravaging effects of war on 13 year old twin brothers. Although it is set at the end of World War II the story itself is timeless and we wanted to avoid a ‘historical’ look. This was one of the most important arguments to shoot it digitally.

I had not worked with the director Janos Szasz before but we worked closely together from the beginning and I was able to suggest ideas about how to shoot and how to light the film.  We shot the film on the ARRI ALEXA using ARRIRAW 1:2.35 CinemaScope because we wanted to keep the twin boys in the frame together nearly all the time.

As with all my films in the last 10 years, I used the Cine Reflect Lighting System (CRLS) that I developed with Christian Bartenbach - it simplifies the lighting process, whether shooting into strong light sources or dealing with shadows and darkness. I like to use natural light sources like candles, torches and so on in the frame and Cooke lenses are unsurpassed in their anti-flare qualities, therefore the Cooke S4 lenses were perfect for this project. I like to work mainly with the so-called ‘normal lenses’ – 32/35/40mm – but we had the complete set so that we could use others if it was necessary or made sense.

I also used S4 lenses for The White Ribbon, directed by Michael Haneke. We wanted to achieve a special black-and-white look and, after a serious test phase to compare other lenses, the Cooke lenses were the winners. Besides the well-known anti-flare quality, they were just the best for me – the Cookes are sharp but less ‘hard’ than other lenses, which makes all the difference. Shooting digitally with cameras that are so light-sensitive, I think that T1.4 is not so important any more – aside from the greater focus problems in the digital field with any open lens, T2.0 and the chip sensitivity is more than enough. And you pay the price with too much light: it makes me sad when I have to put a piece of gray glass in front of a high class lens to reduce the incoming light – that makes no lens better.

I believe we need a new way of thinking about light for digital image acquisition; the very fine and precise control of contrast and light distribution is essential, even more than for film in my opinion, if you really want to use the given high dynamic range to its best ability - from the most tender to the most rough lighting style.


Moviecam       The Notebook on set





www.christianberger.at

ZERB Spring 2012: Jeremy Benning CSC explains how they captured the highly charged sequences in “World War II Heroes: The Full Impact”

Patricia Greene  July 12 2012 09:37:16 AM
ZERB Spring 2012:  Jeremy Benning CSC explains how they captured the highly charged sequences in “World War II Heroes: The Full Impact”

An excerpt from the article -  Jeremy Beinning’s choice of lenses:

Cinematic images

For the lenses, I went straight for Cooke 5/i and Panchro/i prime lenses. I have always used Cookes and purchased my own set off Panchro/i lenses last year to shoot Afghan Luke, a feature film about the aftermath of the war in Afghanistan. I really wanted to capture these moving stories with the best lenses available and I have always loved the ‘painterly’ look of Cookes.

What I mean by painterly here is the way Cooke lenses handle focus fall-off, blurred backgrounds (‘bokeh’) and contrast. This way of defocusing out-of-focus areas of the frame is part of the signature ‘Cooke look’. Cooke has a way of making sharp yet gentle images with their optics. The resulting images are velvety and smooth with a shallow depth of field that leads your eye to the subject, bringing a naturalness to each scene. For this series I wanted the viewer to experience the scene as a sympathetic witness rather than as if watching a scientific explosives test. This look would also help the linking from archive footage to the interviews and reconstruction.

To read the rest of the article go to:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/82310721/WWII-Heroes-Final

Image:ZERB Spring 2012:  Jeremy Benning CSC explains how they captured the highly charged sequences in “World War II Heroes: The Full Impact”

Juergen Schwinzer joins ZGC and Cooke Optics

Patricia Greene  May 9 2012 09:23:59 AM
Juergen Schwinzer joins ZGC and Cooke Optics
 
- Schwinzer brings over 40 years’ experience at ARRI -


New Jersey, USA – 9 May 2012 – ZGC, the premier supplier of film, photography, motion picture and digital video production equipment for the Americas, and Cooke Optics, the premier manufacturer of precision lenses, have appointed industry veteran Juergen Schwinzer in a wide-ranging sales and technical capacity, bringing his vast industry knowledge and technical expertise to both organisations.

Schwinzer started his career in 1959 as an apprentice with Siemens AG in Berlin, studying to become a mechanical and optical master craftsman. A temporary transfer to Arriflex in New York resulted in Schwinzer remaining in the USA and spending a total of 43 years at ARRI in a variety of roles, starting as a Technical Representative for Arriflex cameras. Over the years he held management responsibilities for various product lines including new cameras, lighting products and tripods. He was promoted to Vice-President, Technical Services/ Sales in 1986 and then Vice President of the Camera Division in 1990 where his responsibilities included all technical, marketing and sales activities of that division, including the ARRI ALEXA camera system and the collaboration with Zeiss lenses.

Schwinzer is an Associate Member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and serves on the Scientific and Technical Awards committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. He has also been a member of SMPTE and many other motion picture trade organisations.

Les Zellan, Chairman and Owner, Cooke Optics, and President, ZGC, said, “We are delighted and honoured to welcome Juergen to the team. He is well-known and respected throughout the world for his incomparable technical knowledge and his passion for the film making world, and ZGC and Cooke will benefit greatly from his expertise and global contacts.”

Color Matched Across Full Range of Cooke Lenses

Patricia Greene  January 25 2012 12:47:43 PM
All of the Cooke lenses are color matched and interchangeable. This means the Panchro by Cooke, S4/i Primes, 5/i Primes, CXX 15-40 mm  T2 S4/i Zoom, 18-100 mm T3.0 and 25-250 mm T3.7 and the SK4 16 mm lenses can be mixed on a shoot with full confidence that the images will match. Consistently maintaining the color balance across the full range means all Cooke lenses give a seamless look when shots are mixed in production.  This painstaking process is part of the reason why Cooke lenses take time and skill to construct.

According to Alfonso Para's cinematographic evaluation: "These lenses do not only show a precise reproduction of the color series, but also contribute clearly to a nice reproduction of skin tones."

Cooke prides itself on creating lenses that match as closely as possible. The Panchro/i lenses are no exception. Using a Panchro is like using S4s that open up to a T2.8. DP Timur Civan explained, "They match so closely, that my friend and fellow DP Ryan Patrick O'Hara, when comparing the iPachros to the S4's, found that they matched so well that the differences were akin to the difference between different sets of S4's.... not a completely different product line. That says a lot when talking about the quality of the design, and the stance behind these lenses."

Last month Indent Studios organized a lens test with RED Pro Primes, Illumina S35, Cooke Panchros, UniQoptics Signature Series, Schneider Cine-Xenars, Leica R (Duclos Mod) and Zeiss Compact Primes (V2).  They found the Panchro/i lenses were the overall favorite, "Overall this is a very well color matched set of lenses." and in their conclusion Indent Studios judged: "The general consensus on the day of the test was that the Cooke Panchro /i's were the best all around lens package. They were the most uniform in consistency, had the best skin tone reproduction, covered 5k from 18mm and longer, the focus marks were accurate, and the build quality was very solid."

    Raffle

    zgcblog  January 16 2012 02:01:00 PM
    Enter a raffle to win a Cooke Optics T-shirt!  Leave a comment on our blog, Facebook page or tweet about ZGC and your name will be entered into our weekly raffle.  Each week we will choose two names at random.  (Choice of Panchro/i, S4/i, 5/i, and size is subject to availability.)

    Image:Raffle

    Cooke Panchro/i Lenses

    Patricia Greene  January 11 2012 11:51:08 AM
    Need a "vintage" look with more flare and softer contrast?  Cooke Panchro/i are now available with uncoated front elements.  Offered as a set of 6, they can be swapped with the standard coated elements by a qualified technician.   Cooke Panchro Front Element

    Bobby Bukowski discusses how these were used for the film, Rampart, written by James Ellroy and staring Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver and Steve Buscermi.   You can read about it is an article by Debra Kaufmam in Creative Cow: Behind the Lens: Bobby Bukowski, Cinematographer