I know this isn’t VR-related but being a huge Star Trek Fan and the new Strange New Worlds series I thought that my fellow Tech-minded Trekkies might enjoy this story about the fabulous new Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus Special Flare Lenses.
– Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, spin-off from Star Trek: Discovery, uses three sets of new Special Flare primes to add more organic qualities to the image –
Leicester, UK – 11 May, 2022 – Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will bring viewers to where no Star Trek viewer has gone before – to a world with a look all its own. Using three sets of Cooke Optics Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus Special Flare lenses, cinematographer Glen Keenan, CSC, achieved his desire for the most organic, non-studio look to convince the audience they were seeing a real location.
A spin-off from Star Trek: Discovery and a prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series, it follows Captain Christopher Pike and the crew of the USS Enterprise. The Star Trek Universe’s journey for its streaming series to get to anamorphic full frame with special flare started with Star Trek: Discovery (Disco), where Keenan served as cinematographer for seasons one through three.
“Season two of Disco was our move to anamorphic primes [for 2.39:1 for streaming], and that won me over,” said Keenan. “For Star Trek, there’s a studio, but no reality. I want to convince the audience that we are in a real space with a lens that would add more organic qualities to the image. The Cooke anamorphic special flares have the right amount of aberrations and flare for the signature Star Trek blue streak flare. Two things really help with reality: the expected inconsistencies between lenses help to ground the story like we were really there and the anamorphic falloff. Both of those features help to deliberately frame the action to where I want the audience to focus on.”
The offer for Keenan to move to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and develop the look came from Alex Kurtzman, creator and executive producer of Star Trek: Discovery.
“I worked with Alex during Sleepy Hollow, and I was already in Toronto with an opening in my schedule which is how I got Disco,” said Keenan. “Alex had a bunch of projects, but he wanted me for Strange New Worlds. It struck the right chord, with an element of change that I wanted mentally and visually to get to the audience.”
While Star Trek: Discovery was an HD production, Keenan had bigger plans for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
“There was a moment when shooting Disco in anamorphic that I knew I really wanted full frame special flare for 4K for Strange New Worlds. My supplier got on the horn with Cooke. And Cooke built a custom set for Strange New Worlds, delivering two sets before episode one, then the third set once they were made. Cooke stepped up with a full-frame anamorphic special flare for day one. It was remarkable. Three sets in two months.”
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ three sets of Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus Special Flare lenses consisted of the 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 85mm MACRO, 100mm, and 135mm for three ARRI ALEXA LF and four ARRI ALEXA Mini LF cameras.
“During episode seven, I discovered the macro on the 85mm for close-up work,” said Keenan. “It became our favorite close-up lens as it’s just lovely with great falloff. Our main lens was the 40mm which can be seen in every episode and then the 75mm for our Steadicam, where the full-frame anamorphic allows me to have a great focal range. Steadicam helps tell the story well and gives you a nice shot that you don’t have to edit.”
Unlike other current Star Trek series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is more in tune with Star Trek: The Original Series with each episode standing on its own, and thus being shot out of sequence. Keenan shot episodes 1, 2, 4, 7 and 9, with cinematographer Magdalena Górka shooting episodes 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10.
“With me shooting episodes 1 and 2, it helped us to set the tone for the series,” said Keenan. “This really is more like The Original Series. You can see it in the main themes of our showrunners and the nostalgic quality of the sets, wardrobe, characters, and photography. We’re being as honest as you can be to a show shot in the 60’s with a minimal budget. When talking with my crew – camera, lighting and rigging – we look at our problems as though we’re in the 60’s. We have a lot of tools, but that doesn’t mean we should use everything and abuse it. The Disco approach has the camera always moving and being aggressive with cameras spinning in every episode, we’re different…it’s a living space and we don’t get in the way unless called for by the script, which allowed me to go for a bigger camera – with variations in episodes based on the scripts. Thematically, we take an episode and device the lighting scenario for that. Our challenge was to make it its own version of the Star Trek Universe…even the language of this show is just different enough to give it its own voice.”
Lighting Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is an elaborate process, according to Keenan. “The set’s not ready until the lighting is ready. We’ve got over two million LEDs embedded in the sets, with five lighting boards and four operators rotating between setup, shoot and programming. What works is when the set lights the actors. We’re always in an artificial space that’s not real. Our challenge is to make it real. The more they’re lit with the ship, the more real it is. Any other lighting is minimal.”
In addition to the Cooke Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus Special Flare lenses themselves, Cooke’s /i Technology lens metadata was an extra feature that Keenan appreciates.
“I always have the data…always pulling that data for the post. I knew everything about that camera and could police it. I don’t think I could do a show without it…I’m addicted to it.”
The first episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds premiered on Paramount+ on May 5, 2022. A second season began filming on February 1, 2022, four months before the season one premiere.
About Cooke Optics, LTD
Cooke is a storied name in both cinematographic and 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. Cooke was honored with a 2013 Academy Award® of Merit (an Oscar® statuette) for its continuing innovation in the design, development and manufacture of motion picture camera lenses.
Features in production or recently shot with Cooke lenses include Nine Bullets, Chaperone, The Last Thing Mary Saw, We Are Lady Parts, Mayday, Birds of Paradise, The Forgiven, Sixth Reel, No Loss // No Gain, The Marksman, Fugitive Dreams, Supernova, I Still Breathe, Legacy of Lies, I Know This Much is True, Pinocchio, Onward, Toy Story 4, Birds of Prey: and the Fantabulous Emancipation of Harley Quinn, Motherless Brooklyn, Sweetheart, Vice, Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star Is Born, Venom, Call Me By Your Name, Motherless Brooklyn, Stan and Ollie, Darkest Hour, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House. Television shows in production or recently shot with Cooke lenses include, King of Boys: The Return of the King, The Gilded Age, In From the Cold, Guilt: Series 2, Star Trek; Discovery, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, Kevin Can F**K Himself, Meet Your Master, Below Zero, Fate: The Winx Saga, Behind Her Eyes, Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar, A Suitable Boy, The Mess You Leave Behind, Flight Attendant, The Chosen, The Great, HALIFAX: Retribution, The Luminaries, Lost in Space, Star Girl, Dead to Me, Save Me Too, Insecure, Dark Crystal, Star Trek: Picard, Peaky Blinders, Osmosis, Top Boy, David Makes Man, Catch-22, The Perfection, Ozark, Gentleman Jack, Free Rein, Skam France, Doctor Who, Fleabag, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, The Crossing, The Crown, Westworld, Poldark, Game of Thrones, Midsomer Murders, Orange is the New Black and Fargo.
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Getting Geared Up
Here are the specs of the Atomos Ninja V+
|Panel Type IPS-Type LCD|
|Display Size 5.2″ / 13.2 cm|
|Resolution 1920 x 1080|
|Aspect Ratio 16:9|
|Maximum Brightness 1000 cd/m2|
|Bit Depth / Color Support 8-Bit+FRC (1.07 Billion Colors)|
|HDR Compatibility Advanced HDR|
|Pixels Per Inch (ppi) 423 ppi|
|Color Gamut 100% Rec. 709|
|Real-Time LUT Monitoring SDR|
|Image Controls Anamorphic De-Squeeze, Blue Only, False Color, Focus Peaking, Pixel Zoom, RGB Parade, Scaling, Vectorscope, Waveform, Zebra|
|Video 1 x HDMI Type A (HDMI 2.0) Input|
|1 x HDMI Type A (HDMI 2.0) Output|
|Embedded Audio HDMI: 2-Channel|
|Audio 1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm Mic/Line Input|
|1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm Headphone Output|
|Built-In Speaker None|
|Power I/O 1 x D-Tap Input|
|Other I/O 1 x LANC (2.5 mm)|
|Media/Memory Card Slot None|
Video Format HDMI (8/10-Bit 4:2:2)
8K Raw: 30
4K Raw: 120/60/30
DCI 4K: 120/60/50/30/25/24
UHD 4K: 60/50/30/25/24
|Gamma Curve Rec709|
Video Signal Conversion HDMI to SDI
DCI 4K: 60/50/30/25/24
UHD 4K: 60/50/30/25/24
Timecode Support Yes
Pulldown Conversion 2:2, 3:2
Camera Trigger HDMI
Pre-Roll Record 4K: 2 Seconds
Full HD: 8 Seconds
Encoding Formats Up to 7680 x 4320
ProRes 422, HQ, LT, Raw, Raw HQ 8/10-Bit 4:2:2 at up to 120 fps
H.265 422 10-Bit 4:2:2 at up to 120 fps
H.265 422 8/10-Bit 4:2:0 at up to 120 fps
DNxHR HQ, HQX, LB, SQ 8/10-Bit
|Maximum Audio Tracks 12|
Metadata Tagging 10
DC Input Power 6.2 to 16.8 VDC
Built-In Battery None
Battery Type 1 x L-Series
Power Consumption 10 W (Typical)
22 W (Maximum)
Mounting 2 x 3/8″-16 Female
Operating Temperature 104°F / 40°C
Material of Construction Aluminum, Polycarbonate
Dimensions 5.9 x 3.6 x 1.2″ / 151 x 91.5 x 31.5 mm
Weight 12.7 oz / 360 g
Package Weight 3.575 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 10.7 x 7.1 x 4.7″
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