In the case of his recent work on "Homeland," Emmy-Nominated Cinematographer David Klein, ASC, chose to shoot primarily with Canon Cinema Zoom Lenses mounted on an Arri Alexa. The "Homeland" kit also featured a RED Epic, a Canon Cinema EOS 1D C, a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, and a set of Canon Cinema Prime Lenses modified by Duclos Lenses to add a PL mount. In a recent behind-the-scenes video, Klein and his key collaborators talked about crafting a look for "Homeland."
Klein is a longtime Canon user, which has made using Canon lenses and cameras on the shoot second nature to him. “I’ve been a Canon still shooter since the beginning,” says Klein. “My first 35mm camera was an AE-1, and I went from there, and every one of my still cameras has been a Canon. And so, when I heard that they were getting back into the motion picture business, I was pretty excited because Canon has always made great glass. I’ve always been a fan of the glass.”
Several different tests took place to find the perfect lens for the feel Klein was going for before settling on the Canon glass. “I’m very thorough and I won’t shoot with something unless I know it’s 100 percent,” he says. “And that’s why I got the Canon lenses here and we did all sorts of tests: different focal lengths and different apertures and different ISOs and different cameras…I think [Canon zoom lenses] are sharper then the glass that has been used on the show in the past and there’s is a little bit more contrast.”
According to B Camera Operator and 2nd DP Bob Newcomb, the Canon lenses in combination with Dave’s style of lighting make for a great fit that draws attention to detail. “Dave uses very soft light but from numerous sources, and so, the face picks up very subtle nuances of shape and form,” says Newcomb. “The performance of the Canon lenses captures all that subtlety.”
For 1st Assistant, A Camera Operator, Dominik Mainl, the lenses are wonderful to work with because “there is never a question [of] is it just borderline in focus or is it out? It’s either in or out. They are very assistant friendly. If I had to describe a Canon Zoom in one word it would be, sharp. They are ridiculously sharp.”
Klein’s goal was to stay true to the spirit of what "Homeland" had already done while at the same time, creating something of his own. “I inherited the look of "Homeland" and I tried to make it feel like the same show, but I’m going to do my own thing,” he said. “I found that these Canon PL zooms really have that snap I needed, that sharpness I needed, to make a very realistic and gritty looking TV show.”
“He’s brought a visual sophistication to the show this season while staying true to the "Homeland" book as it was established initially. It’s "Homeland," only better,” said Newcomb.
Season 4 of "Homeland" is set to premiere Sunday, October 5th.