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Bohemian Rhapsody lensed with Cooke Speed Panchros

Newton Thomas ‘Tom’ Sigel, ASC, chose a full range of Cooke Speed Panchros, with new housing and updated mechanics from ARRI Rental UK, to shoot the early years documented in the 20th Century Fox/Regency production of Bohemian Rhapsody. Sigel needed to capture the energy of Freddie Mercury and his future band-mates when he first came to London in 1970. To accomplish this, he made use of a vintage set of Cooke Speed Panchros, with a light net at the back of the lens and a special LUT for the Alexa SXT that was specifically designed for the period. This set-up was used for the first act of the film, with Sigel relying on the 40mm lens, with the 25, 32 and 50 as secondary lenses.
“It is golden and romantic, but also a raw,hand-held and grainy,” explained Sigel. “I had used the Cooke Speed Panchros in the past, when they weren’t so vintage! While we looked at a few other lenses, we just kept coming back to the Speed Panchros. Combined with the Alexa SXT, the custom LUT and light netting, it spoke to me for the look of the period. I wanted something to reflect the early days of the 70s… a romantic/nostalgic kind of look. I used an ARRI ALEXA 65 mixed with Sony Betacam to shoot the Killer Queen set and while there weren’t a lot of cameras around, finding tape to record on was even more difficult,” he added.
One of the more memorable moments of shooting Bohemian Rhapsody for Sigel was the shooting of ‘I Want To Break Free’ using 16 and 35mm film. “That video was shot on an Arriflex 35 BL — the exact same camera that photographed Freddie’s very last video, just before he passed away,” he added.
The modern version, the Cooke Panchro/i Classic lens range, comes with Cooke’s /i Technology for frame-by-frame digital information capture, while remaining true to the original look. These T2.2 to T3.2 prime lenses are available in 18, 21, 25, 27, 32, 40, 50, 65 MACRO, 75, 100, 135 and 152mm focal lengths.

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