Cinematographer Chuck France explains how the Sigma 18-35mm T2 and 50-100mm T2 High-Speed Zoom lenses helped create the distinctive look and feel of Dogwood Pass: The Series on an incredibly tight budget and timeline.
February 4th this year I awoke to snow hitting the ground about two hours East of Cincinnati, Ohio, it was an early call time. I stepped outside to see my director, Lana Read, coming down a hill all bundled up, “Good morning” I said. She smiled and said, “Good morning” I said, “No, good morning and it’s 15 degrees outside!” This was the first day of shooting a pilot episode for the Western drama, Dogwood Pass: The Series. Directed by Lana Read, written by Brian Dobbins, Dogwood Pass is an independent ambitious period piece. It stars the incomparable Michael Pare, from Eddie and The Cruisers, Streets of Fire, The Lincoln Lawyer, Gone, The Virgin Suicides and a host of other movie and television credits.
I had spoken with Lana early on and had formulated a plan to get the project shot in a fast and efficient manner. We had five days to deliver an hour long pilot episode of sixty four pages. A Western with period costumes, horses, lots of extras, the first day almost all exteriors, means there were lots of moving parts. You must plan for all those things if you want a successful shoot, it certainly was a lot to bite off in short period of time. With a large amount of pages in 5 days, it was essential that all the actors were prepared, which they were, and also required a crew and cast working long hours. We had long days on this set. My team consisted of myself as cinematographer, one camera operator, a first AC, a DIT, a gaffer, a best boy and two grips. We had to shoot single camera coverage, almost all handheld verite style with little fussing about with lens swaps and infinite lens choices. We would have to go zooms on the Red Scarlet-W. I choose the Sigma Cine series zooms to accomplish our, what seemed impossible, task.
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