Creating a haunting atmosphere in the thriller ‘Odds Are’
Shooting in a dimly lit house, Andrew Fronczak needed every extra stop of exposure he could get. Read here why ZEISS Otus and Milvus lenses were the right choice for this project.
For the thriller, we shot with a Canon c300 Mark II, recorded externally to the oddessey Q7+, and utilized the ZEISS Milvus 2.8/21, and ZEISS Otus 1.4/28, 1.4/55, and 1.4/85 lenses. My only qualm when first testing these lenses was that they were too sharp; I have always had a tendency to throw diffusion in front of the lens anyway so it became a positive. As a result, I could choose what I wanted to keep sharp and where I wanted softening or light halation. I ultimately went with a low intensity Formatt Hitech Supermist Black Filter. With these tools working together, I received extremely sharp images without distortion or blurring around the edges even while shooting wide open. Light sources had an extremely subtle halation from the filter and the skin tones received a beautiful softening.
For the majority of the shoot, we played with the three Otus lenses. Although it would seem like these three unconventional focal lengths and the lack of options between them would make coverage difficult, It created a nice uniformity and simplicity of style through the film. We played the majority of the scenes on the 28 mm, providing a wide enough frame to capture the whole scene, while also giving intimacy if we got in closer on the subjects. The 55 mm was a perfect close-up lens, and the 85 mm with its competitive close focus distance lended itself perfectly as an insert lens or even for a long lens wide shot. When needed, I jumped down to the 21 mm for specific wides or for close-‐ups that needed heightened eeriness. The build is extremely solid on the lenses and they are compact enough to be low profile when we were forced to some gorilla-‐type shooting in public spaces. To me they perform just as well as most of ZEISS’ PL mount lenses at a fraction of the price.
During the shoot, I shot with a pretty contrasty LUT that takes down a lot of the levels that one would normally have in the log image. As a result I found myself pushing the lenses a lot and shooting wide open, as I prefer to not mess with ISO. The lenses performed incredibly wide open and provided a medium format type focus fall off and bokeh.
I’m extremely happy to have gone with the ZEISS Milvus and Otus line of lenses.
Take a peek behind the scenes.
About the author.
Andrew Fronczak is a Los Angeles based Cinematographer who specializes in narrative films and music videos. Andrew enjoys pushing himself stylistically to achieve something new with each project he takes on. He has crafted over 30 short films, 6 music videos, and a feature. Andrew is currently being mentored by Oliver Bokelberg, A.S.C., Mark Irwin A.S.C., and David Darby A.S.C.
Odds Are… is a thriller feature that follows three high school students as they play odds are, a chance-driven game of dares. The game leads them to the doorstep of a mysterious man who takes one of them hostage and leads the other two on a life and death mouse hunt to save their friend. Relationships are questioned and motives are revealed.
The film was shot over 24 days in Santa Monica and Mojave, California. He used the C300 Mark II and ZEISS Otus and Milvus Prime Lenses.
Check out Andrew on IMDB.