DP Steeven Petiteville chose the Angénieux Optimo Primes and the Optimo 12x to shoot "Une Affaire de Principe" (Smoke Signal), a political thriller in the european parliament. In this testimonial, he shares his shooting experience with the Angénieux Optimo Primes

Can you describe the movie in a few words ?
The movie is a political thriller based on real events in European Parliament involving tobacco lobbys…. an office thriller.
M.E.Ps (Members of the European Parliament) are not detectives but they still can open cases and enquiries at parliament level.
The idea with “Une affaire de Principe” (Smoke Signal) was to shoot it as a thriller despite the fact that they are working mostly in offices and parliaments
What were the director’s inputs and ideas on the look ?
Antoine [Raimbault, the director] did his previous film in anamorphic and wanted to find a new grammar.
As the whole movie is build upon real events and characters we wanted to find a natural texture, something photorealistic and sharp at the corner of film and digital (to stay close to media POV) as well as using very slow Zoom in to underline key moments and tension.
The use of long and very long lenses came very early in Antoine’s mind too.
How did you pick the Angénieux Optimo Primes and why ?
I did preliminary tested a lots of primes, old and modern for the film, (7 different sets). Knowing we were looking for clean sharp long lenses the vintage options went out early. We were aiming to use long lenses and electric zoom moves as a statement too.
So it came together, the Angenieux look (that I would describe as warm and sharp with a lower contrast) was the good bet. The primes match the zooms and are very close focus. They are a coherent package.
Which camera did you used ?
Looking for definition, and large format we picked the RED V-Raptor to maximise the sensor side (40.96mm x 21.60mm) and definition.
It gave us “wider” shots with longer lenses and the compact size of the camera let us work easily on gimbal and stay light.
What is the benefit of those choices ?
We wanted to underline realism, without using the codes of television and news and keep everything cinematic.
We decided to embrace spherical and sharp lenses and stay away from anything vintage, something sharp and clean almost “clinical” but also smooth to give a neutral take on the story, giving our heroes isolation from the crowd and be focused on as the investigation goes on.
The shallow depth of field, and increased sharpness with the combination of resolution and lenses got us there.
Plus they were reliable and stable and easy to work with for our 1st AC Maryline Touret that had already a hard work dealing with long lenses wide open.
What feedbacks ?
The optimo primes are reliable and compact, the IOP system is a great addition to the system (I’ve used some IOPs in the past).
I will shoot again with the primes, looking forward to have the oval iris and uncoated flare to get crazy 😉
Did you used other Angenieux lenses on previous shoots ?
I used Angenieux zooms since I started and usualy use zooms for telephoto on most of my work.
More recently I’ve used an anamorphosed 25/250 HR on a western (“Terror on the Prairie”) to match the vintage anamorphic look of our primes.
Did you used other lenses on the film ?
No, “une affaire de principe” (Smoke Signal) was fully shot on Angenieux, optimo primes set and optimo zoom 12x.
More information about the Angénieux Optimo Primes here !
Watch the trailer here !

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