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Satya Rai Nagpaul

Optimo Spherical

“The choice of the 24-290 was to have one zoom in the lens package that can be a life safer !”

Chauthi Koot (The Fourth Direction) Producteur: Kartikeya Narayan Singh
Director: Gurvinder Singh
DoP: Satya Rai Nagpaul
Release date: September 2015 (India) Lens : Optimo 24-290

Your last movie Chauthi Koot has been selected to be part of the Cannes Festival 2015, on the “Un certain regard” selection. You represent, with Masaan by Neeraj Ghaywan, the Indian new generation of cinema in this prestigious festival! First of all, congratulations to you and all your colleagues/team! To begin, could you please give us a quick overview of your movie, Chauthi Koot?

Chauthi Koot, is a film aimed at evoking the years of the militant movement in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

During the preparation of Chauthi Koot, what were the constraints, the requirements and the artistic choices that were imposed by your Director, Gurvinder Singh? What kind of look did you particularly look for?
The best part of collaborating with Gurvinder is that he does not impose any of the above. My work comes mainly from responding to the script with a lighting and lensing design that can facilitate what is at the heart of the script. For this project, this heart lay in the idea of how a common citizen is caught between the state and the militants. The main constraints come from the limitations set by budgets available for such projects. The look that I tried to create for this film was in the realm of realism, but a very palpable realism, almost an expressionistic realism.

In general, what are the main criteria that define your choice of lenses on a project? Can you let us know more about your approach between prime lenses and zoom lenses?
Given that work is now increasingly happening in digital, lens choice has become extremely critical. Other than the standard criterions of lens design, the most important ones for me are colorimetry, contrast and resolution. Of course the love of primes is non-negotiable. But I am equally enamored with short zooms.

What is your point of view about HD/2K/4K resolution? Is it a major concern for you to select your equipment?
The resolution choice is only a concern vis-a-vis the final intended projection.

Have you used any Angénieux zoom lens? If yes, which one?

For this project, we used only one Angénieux lens – the Optimo 24-290 zoom.

Could you please give us your impression regarding this lens? How and why this lens has fulfilled your expectations?
The film was conceived to be shot mostly with primes. The choice of the 24-290 was to have one zoom in the lens package that can be a life safer! The lens served us well especially in the shooting of an extremely significant scene – the coming of the rains. This period was very short lived and we had to move very fast. The possibility of quick and critical reframing and getting enough material for the edit, was only possible because of this lens.

Could you please give us your point of view regarding this Angénieux zoom lens compared to other zoom lenses? Is there any specificities you particularly enjoyed?
The best parts of this lens are of course its maximum opening aperture, its color renditioning & contrast, and its sharpness, especially for digital acquisition when the script demands a “not so sharp” an image!

Globally, what is your point of view between film and digital?

The decision on the acquisition format for this project was a tough one. We did have the opportunity to go with 35mm film negative but my own instinct was to go digital. Given that labs have been shutting down the last one year and more, it meant that I may be giving up my last chance of exposing film, but I am glad we went digital, since a large part of the film is at night and we really benefitted from using the digital format.

Would you like to shot with anamorphic lenses?

Yes! Absolutely!