Shane Hurlbut ASC used a series of ten Cooke S4/i focal lengths to shoot Gabriele Muccino’s latest feature Fathers And Daughters, starring Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried. Hurlbut’s lens package for the Canon EOS D500 and MÖVI digital 3-axis gyro-stabilised handheld camera gimbal, included the Cooke S4/i 14mm, 18mm, 21mm, 27mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm, and 135mm lenses. Fathers And Daughters marks the ninth feature film Hurlbut has shot with Cooke lenses.
“After two days of lens tests with a variety of manufacturers’ prime and zoom lenses, it became very clear once we projected onto a 40-foot screen, that Cooke was the best lens to tell our story,” said Hurlbut. “The ‘jaw drop’ for Gabriele was the three-dimensional quality of the Cookes versus the one-dimensional quality of the other lenses tested. We were going to be shooting in small places – a New York City apartment, a social services office – and the Cookes pulled the actors out of the background, giving more depth to the image. Actors appeared to be 30-feet away from the background with the Cookes versus 10-feet away with other lenses. We were able to get a three-dimensional feel through the optics. In the hair and make-up tests, the lenses made the actors come alive.”
Hurlbut says physical attributes of the S4/i lenses helped with the camera’s manoeuverability. “The MÖVI has a unique energy all of its own, and the camera never really settles – but it needs a lightweight lens – the Cooke S4/i lenses are light enough for it.”
With a circumference of 3.5 to 4-inches of glass, the Cooke lenses gave Hurlbut lots of glass for faces. “You could almost see around the face, and what the Cookes did to Amanda’s face was incredible with its 3D-like quality. The Cooke lenses are a very neutral piece of glass, which then gave me the ability to go very warm and golden with the lighting. The design of the film’s look is through the eyes of what an eight-year-old girl sees and remembers in her mind, which both Gabriele and I thought was typically warmer and nicer than reality.”
As an emotional rollercoaster, the producers and director of Fathers And Daughters did not want the look of the film to be that as well. “Katie’s [Amanda Seyfried’s character] vision of her dad, life and apartment needed to be warm, golden, and saturated. A complete polar opposite of the film itself – losing her mom, dad, and every relationship she finds herself in, not being able to love. We needed the ability to tell the story through younger Katie’s [Kylie Rogers] eyes. The Cooke S4/i lenses were instrumental in helping me do that,” concluded Hurlbut.