Cinematographer Eric Branco wanted a new style for Rap Sh!t season 2. For storyteller Issa Rae’s series, Branco wanted the aesthetic to evolve with its characters and growing success in the music world. To do so, the artist changed up the lenses.
Branco went with Cooke® Optics Panchro/i Classic FF for two ARRI ALEXA Mini LF cameras shooting 4K.“Although I’ve used Cooke lenses many times, I’ve never used these lenses,” said Branco in a statement. “Moira Morel, who I shared DP duties with – and who provided input to the look for the first few episodes – had used them before and thought they would be great to handle the show. We did our lens tests with the Cooke Panchro® Classics, another Cooke lens range and lenses from other manufacturers and found that the Panchros gave us the most cosmetic and flattering look. Plus, with Cooke, you know that the colour rendition is going to be fantastic and that you’re going to get great skin tones to do justice to the actors and make them look great.”
BECiNE supported Rap Sh!t with a set of 11 Panchro/i Classic FF primes: 21mm, 25mm, 27mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm MACRO, 75mm, 100mm, 135mm and 152mm. Branco mostly used the 40mm and 65mm MACRO as a standard 65mm.
The Cooke Look® helped the cinematographer out especially in more darkly lit environments. “Whenever we’re in a darker environment, with one strong source, the Cookes shine the best,” he said. “We had a few locations that were very dark, but the Cooke’s falloff from warmth into darkness is just beautiful.”
The Cooke’s /i® Technology lens metadata on set for monitoring was of great assistanc as well on the acclaimed series. “There’s no need to go to the camera reports,” the cinematographer explained. “I have the lens and the f-stop information embedded in the monitor feed and rather than going to the camera reports to find that information, I can just look at a frame grab from the day. It’s all right on my phone now, which is great.”