“Purple Hearts,” a low-budget Netflix feature, has been captured with Cooke Optics

Netflix’s independent feature Purple Hearts, directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum and lensed by Matt Sakatani Roe has been captured with Cooke Optics S7/i FF Prime Lenses.

“Cooke lenses have been my lens of choice since I started doing narrative projects,” said Roe. “They were with me on my first TV show, my first major studio film production, and on most narratives I’ve shot. It’s because of the way Cooke lenses render tones and have this three-dimensional plane. With a close focus range, faces just project depth, the out of focus falls off. It’s almost like a smooth circular pattern that glides your eye to the character and then to the rest of the frame without being distracted by overly sharp areas while maintaining detail. It’s simply a very pleasing image. And whether it’s full frame, S35 or anamorphic, the Cooke 65mm is my favourite focal length.”

Purple Hearts tells the story of Cassie and Luke who couldn’t be more different. In spite of those many differences, Cassie, a struggling singer-songwriter, and Luke, a troubled Marine, agree to marry solely for military benefits. But when tragedy strikes, the line between real and pretend begins to blur. For Purple Hearts, Rosenbaum and Roe wanted the cameras to be “with” the characters, according to Roe. “We wanted the cameras to be subjective, feel the depth of the space, like the camera work is being done with the characters. That told us what lens we wanted to be on, and after doing my lens tests, the S7s just stood out.”

With lens testing completed at Keslow Camera in Los Angeles, Roe would have the camera and lens rental house supply him with a set of Cooke S7/i FF Prime Lenses consisting of the 18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 27mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 75mm, 100mm and 135mm for two – and sometimes three – of the original Sony VENICE cameras shooting full frame, 17:9 X-OCN ST with a 2:1 matte. “I really wanted to max out those cameras for the Cooke S7s,” said Roe. “I wanted everything the lens could give me.”

“Shooting Purple Hearts gave us almost every environment that you could think of from desert to water,” said Roe. “But our biggest challenge was having to light six real-life practical concerts that we had to design, produce and host. Three of those would be in a bar and one in collaboration with a live venue at the Oceanside Pier in California that had no lighting plan. So, my gaffer Black Farmer and I designed the light show with a truss moving head array for both Sofia Carson. That’s quite the event for a film production to put on during an actual film shoot.”

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