Kristin Fieldhouse filmed the CBC/IMDb TV crime drama “Pretty Hard Cases” with Arri Alexa Mini and Cooke lenses

The crime drama series Pretty Hard Cases from CBC/IMDb TV was shot in Toronto. The second season was photographed by DoP Kristin Fieldhouse and she used Cooke Optics 5/i prime lenses. Lenses, cameras and lighting equipment were provided by Sim Toronto.

“Colour plays a big role in the look of Pretty Hard Cases,” explains Fieldhouse. “The show has a hybrid quality to it. On paper, it’s a comedic ‘buddy cop’ movie, but goes deeper into the lives of two women in their 40s with very different backgrounds who together find a shared friendship,” explains Fieldhouse.

Fieldhouse got the project from working with Pretty Hard Cases creator and show-runner Sherry White, with whom she worked with on the comedy TV series Little Dog. “Pretty Hard Cases has the same producing team – an awesome group of women,” assures the cinematographer.

Shot using three Arri Alexa Mini in 3.2k ProRes (finished in 2K) with a wide range of Cooke 5/i prime lenses – 18mm, 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 75mm, 100mm and 135mm – Fieldhouse doubled up on the 40mm, plus added a Cooke S4/i 150mm and an extender for the 5/i 135mm to bring it to about 300mm. The choice of using Cooke lenses was relatively easy for Fieldhouse. “I felt a difference when testing with the colour and texture of the 5s. The falloff was lovely and I liked how they played more when wide open – I got more from the 5s. And I appreciate how they work in lower light conditions compared to the 4s, with a bit more texture.”

A second DP, Ray Dumas, was brought in at the end of season two as production became more ambitious. Also, the production became multi-camera. According to Fieldhouse, Pretty Hard Cases used their A camera as a moving master with orchestrated blocking to start a scene. Then cameras A and B were used in a traditional 2-camera setup, with camera C on Steadicam. “I love working with the Alexa Mini because I get excellent color reproduction and it allows me to focus on faces and motion. I love the look of the Alexa with the Cookes, they are a great combination.”

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