Sundance 2018 – Meet the Cinematographers: Rudy Valdez

January 25th, 2018 Jump to Comment Section 1
Sundance 2018 - Meet the Cinematographers: Rudy Valdez

It’s that magical time of year when filmmakers flock to Park City, Utah.  We’re giving you a brief on the cinematographers who are showcasing their work at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival – one DP at a time. 

Rudy Valdez is the director of The Sentence, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Nadia Quinn. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.


DP: Rudy Valdez
FILMS: The Sentence (dir. Rudy Valdez)
SUNDANCE CATEGORY: U.S. Documentary Competition
CAMERA:  5D MarkII, C300, & C500
GLASS: Canon  L-Series

cinema5D: Why did you choose this particular camera body?

RV: I really like using the 5D and C300/500 cameras on my projects because they really allow me to stay small. I think for the type of work that I do and especially this film, it’s important for me to not take over a room with a giant rig. Most of the work that I do is verité, and I need to be able to move quickly and shoot wherever the scene/character takes me. These cameras allow me to do this while still capturing beautiful images. The 5D MkII worked so well, and I loved the images that the larger sensor allowed me to capture. I ultimately started using the C300/500 because of the C-Log option and the audio workaround was starting to become a bit of a pain.  

cinema5D: How about the lenses? 

RV: My go-to lenses on the project were the L series 24-105, 24-70, and the 50mm (1.2). I also used some of the Cine Lenses when I had them at my disposal. The 24-105 is a great run and gun lens for me, especially when I paired it with the large sensor of the 5D. In this film, I was often trying to isolate the subject. 

Director of The Sentence Rudy Valdez

cinema5D: What was really pivotal for you on this production?

RV: My Sanken short capsule shotgun mic, as most of this film was literally a camera body/lens/and camera mic.

cinema5D: Talk a little about your approach to lighting this film in particular.   

RV: Other than a couple of interviews, this film was shot entirely with natural light. I have never been afraid of shadows, and I love using natural light as much as possible. If I ever did anything to the lighting in a room, it was usually turning off practicals.

Sundance 2018

cinema5D: Anything you want to add about the style of The Sentence?

RV: I LOVE shooting wide open on my 50mm 1.2. I love the way it has the ability to single out a person or element in the frame.  I rarely get the opportunity to just run and gun wide open like that on other people’s projects, and felt like it really lent to this.  I often found myself trying to make sense out of a chaotic scene with many people in a room. That lens really let me single out what I wanted.

You can watch a featurette produced by the Sundance Institute to learn more about  about Rudy and his film The Sentence here.

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