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.
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.
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.
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.