Sound & Picture has a wonderful written interview with Chris Manley, ASC, the DP behind the AMC series Mad Men. They talk about the style of the show, and how it’s changed as they transitioned from film to digital. The show is now shot on the ARRI Alexa, with the addition of grain in post to emulate 5219 film stock. I appreciated this response to a question about the 1960’s style of camera movement and lens choices:

“The challenge lies in using the right lens for the shot without regards to B camera and only using B camera if it’s useful after A camera is set. A lot of TV shows, because you need coverage, and because you’re cutting to a strict time format and shooting eight pages a day, you tend to automatically set up two cameras. In doing so, both shots get compromised a little because they are fighting for real estate on the set making you use longer lenses than if you were shooting single camera style.

What I liked about season one was the lenses felt very basic and old fashioned. Back then, 25mm, 50mm and 75mm lenses were the work horses. You shot almost everything with those lenses. 100mm was very exotic. We try and stay in the range as well. We are not too strict about it, and work with zoom lenses so we can change focal lengths rapidly on set, but we’ll stay in that range of 25-75mm. Our wide shots are usually 25-27mm; medium shots are typically 38-42mm and close ups in the 58-62mm range.”

It’s a great article, check it out.

(via Tom Lowe)

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