“And your new Optimo 56-152 2S came out – with a much longer lens range, precision of use for combining very complex camera movements with the complementarity of the zoom, an uncommon softness while still keeping the required definition, a considerable dynamic range, surprisingly light physically (as much on a Panther or a crane as on a Steadycam), and so on. ”
Le Ciel du Centaure: The first feature-length film shot entirely with the Angénieux Optimo 56-152 2S anamorphic zoom.
Le Ciel du Centaure is a film by Hugo Santiago, an emblematic filmmaker in Argentina. This film marks his first film with Buenos Aires as subject since his major visionary work Invasión, before the start of the dictatorship.
The film was made entirely in Buenos Aires, and stars Malik Zidi in the role of a Frenchman who has just arrived in the city and who becomes lost there in a kind of tale that is almost phantasmagorical.
Hugo Santiago and Gustavo Biazzi gave us their impressions after the shooting.
Hugo Santiago -director :
“In 1978, I shot my film Écoute-voir, with Catherine Deneuve and Sami Frey, in anamorphic Panavision, and my choice was to shoot it entirely with the 40-80 Zoom, used as a zoom and also as a fixed lens. My excellent memories of that experience are what led me to look for an anamorphic zoom to shoot Le Ciel du Centaure in Buenos Aires – due to format requirements – that could give me comparable rendering while conforming to other requirements of the project. And your new Optimo 56-152 2S came out – with a much longer lens range, precision of use for combining very complex camera movements with the complementarity of the zoom, an uncommon softness while still keeping the required definition, a considerable dynamic range, surprisingly light physically (as much on a Panther or a crane as on a Steadycam), and so on. I just finished shooting the film, entirely with your Optimo 56-152 2S, using 56 mm as the basic fixed lens and up to 152 mm for very tight shots, with exceptional rendering (naturally, which underlines the perfect consistency of the lenses). I shouldn’t anticipate too much on the final result until the grading stage (we’ll keep you informed as time goes on), but I can say that my Director of Photography and I were aiming at very special images that you won’t see until the final work is complete. But I think I can say that these images won’t look quite like any other, and are intimately linked to the conception of the film, and that your 56-152 zoom is largely to be thanked for them. It’s a superb tool and I predict it will have a remarkable “career. ”
Gustavo Biazzi – Cinematographer :
Shooting of Le Ciel du Centaure has just ended. What impressions has it left with you ?
It was an aesthetic learning process. Beauty is among us, concealed, hidden, and we need to discover it. Hugo taught us that.
What were the director’s intentions for this film ?
To create a fascinating image of Buenos Aires. Combine a look, a face, a tone of voice, a gesture, a colour and movement in the scene, and capture it with virtuosity. In short, to show the beauty of Buenos Aires cinematographically.
What criteria were used in selecting your lenses?
With the aspect we wanted for the film, our first requirement was to have anamorphic lenses. Then, in analysing the storyboard Hugo had put down on paper, where he described all the shots in the film precisely, we realized we needed a zoom. In addition to simplifying the production with its versatility and cost, we needed to combine the physical camera movements with optical movements of the zoom to get a wide variation of shots within a take. And because of that variation we were looking for, the zoom’s minimum focusing distance of 0.63 m was indispensable.
What camera did you use?
The Arri Alexa 16:9.
So you shot the entire film with the anamorphic zoom…
What were the specific conditions of the shooting (climate, etc.)?
Shooting took place in spring and early summer in Buenos Aires, and the weather conditions were good, with moderate temperatures.
And how did our zoom behave under those conditions?
What types of images did it give you? Mr. Santiago mentioned some very distinctive images…?
The specificity of the cinematography is the result of a set of aesthetic decisions, choreographed camera movements, the counterpoint of the grey of the city with the emphasis on the colours that move across it. The architectural shapes, the faces, the costumes, the decors, the contrast. The image of fascination, where everything shines, but without being blinding, and where a camera movement counts for as much as a gesture or a line of dialogue, a colour or a musical passage.
What qualities did you especially appreciate about the zoom – weight, bulkiness, optical performance, colorimetry, etc.?
Visually, the colorimetry is the remarkable characteristic of this zoom. It faithfully reproduced the nuances of tone that are there in reality. Mechanically, it’s exceptional – in situations where you change focus suddenly, the lens never “breathes.” And obviously its lower weight and bulkiness differentiate it from other anamorphic zooms, which gives it great versatility.
What’s your feeling about making a film entirely with a zoom?
For me, there’s no great optical difference between shooting with a zoom or with high- quality fixed lenses. The decision has to do with the specific needs of each film.
The most frequent problems I see with using zooms are related to the maximum aperture of the diaphragm, which is a disadvantage compared to fixed lenses. But, currently, with the extraordinary sensitivity of digital cameras, that’s less and less significant. And breathing when changing focal length is an issue, but with the Angénieux zoom it’s not a problem.
Can you tell us when this film will be released and how it will be distributed?
We aim a selection in a great festival. The French distribution will be done by Epicentre films.