Cinematographer Felix Wiedemann, BSC chose Cooke Optics’ S7/i Full Frame Plus prime lenses to film the six-part Netflix mystery, Behind Her Eyes. The story, based on the novel of the same name by Sarah Pinborough, follows Louise, a single mother with a son and a part-time job in a psychiatrist’s office. Louise begins an affair with her boss and strikes up an unlikely friendship with his wife, but finds herself caught in a web of secrets and lies where nothing is what it seems.
Wiedemann explained his lens choice: “It’s a story full of mystery and suspense, and there’s a sense that the audience doesn’t know whether characters are telling the truth. To counter that, we wanted the photography to be very clear, detailed and honest, letting the audience ‘participate’ and allowing their eyes to wander around the screen to take in all the details. This led us to look at shooting full frame, to bring as much clarity and resolution as we could to the image.”
Wiedemann shot the series with the ARRI Alexa LF for the first time, which he tested with a variety of full frame lenses before going for the Cooke S7/i range.
“I have enjoyed using a variety of Cooke lenses in the past, I love their technical qualities but also the photographic character they give to the image,” he says. “For this project, our main criterion was to find clarity of image. We looked at many full frame lenses, but we were blown away by the S7/i’s for both portraiture and wide shots.”
Movietech, based at Pinewood Studios in the UK, supplied Wiedemann with a full set of S7/i lenses for the production, with the exception of the 65mm focal length which was just coming into production at the time of the shoot.
“We were very lucky that Carey Duffy [Director of Sales, Europe] helped us out and lent us one of the first production models,” added Wiedemann. “The field of view of the 65mm on Full Frame Alexa LF is pretty much the equivalent of a 40mm lens on a Super35mm sized sensor. In the past the 40mm has always been my go-to lens for portraiture, so the 65mm was a hugely important lens for me on full frame and was used on most close-ups of the series.”
The production saw a wide variety of shooting conditions, including interiors/exteriors and day and night shoots in London and the Highlands of Scotland, on location and in studio sets.
Wiedemann concluded, “The S7/i’s dealt with every scenario really well. As well as the precision of the lenses, they also had a photographic quality that elevated the image, whereas some other lenses seem more ‘matter of fact’. This was important as the story goes into dreams and supernatural worlds as well as the real world, and they captured the nuances of the more expressionistic scenes without being heavy-handed”
Produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television, Behind Her Eyes is now streaming on Netflix.