Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Captain's Log


My celestial ride with Star Trek: Picard began when I was shooting Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 in Toronto. Thank you to Olatunde Osunsanmi, who gave me that call. He was running the show, and he was a director I had previously worked with in New York on the series Gotham. Also, thank you to Alex Kurtzman, the grand-master executive of the Star Trek franchise, who gave me the live long and prosper' thumbs up.

I wrapped my season of Discovery, and I was going to remain on the team for the next season, but after a few weeks of prep, the executives asked if I would entertain going back to L.A. to work on Picard Season 2 and 3 back-to-back seasons! I live in Los Angeles but had been away from home for most of the past seven years, working all over the country except for L.A. I said yes, and three days later I was in a conference room with the entire writing staff, producer Dylan Massin, and one of the showrunners, Akiva Goldsman. They were breaking down the next two seasons, but concentrating on Season 2, which was to start production very soon. Gulp.

I thought Picard Season 1 was fantastic, so I had a knot in my throat as I stepped in to help helm this ship that was already sailing toward Season 2 and 3. My rotating partner for Season 2, Jimmy Lindsey, ASC, was also hired, and guided by our Zen master and Wizard of Oz,' Alex Kurtzman, we began our prep immediately and diligently. Alex loves Panavision, especially their lenses, and so do I, so our conversations were immediately aligned regarding the look. He is very specific, meticulous, and had a very clear picture in his creative mind.

Look books were important to communicate attitude, emotion, feeling, colors, compositions, etc., especially during this Covid time of meeting over Zoom as opposed to being tactile and direct with meetings around the drawing table. I looked at all the Alien films and studies the colors and movements of their great DPs: Derek Vanlint, CSC; Adrian Biddle, BSC; Alex Thomson, BSC; Darius Khondji, ASC, AFC; Dariusz Wolski, ASC. These films were seeds to fuel my inspiration. And of course, the granddaddy of all sci-fi films for me is Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, photographed by the great Geoffrey Unsworth, BSC. I would watch this film before each season of work, just to keep it in to my DNA.

Jimmy and I were discussing lenses for Picard, and we're both huge fans of Panavision's T Series anamorphic lenses. I like the Ts because of their undeniable personality and presence, with an inkier bite of contrast I did not want to use softer lenses with lower contrast. In outer space and in the dark galleys of spaceships, I felt the darkness of the blacks should be deep and haunting, and the roll-off into darkness should be discernibly sharp and defined.

My chief 1st AC, Chad Rivetti, was key on executing the prep of our camera package for these next two seasons of work. We had an enormous amount of detail in our equipment, and Panavision's David Dodson made sure we had what we desired and needed, always with unconditional love and enthusiasm. This is the philosophical strength and backbone of Panavision: servicing their clients in a personal way.

I have been part of the Panavision family going on 40 years now, from when I was a camera assistant in New York, prepping at General Camera. As a Sicilian, family and loyalty are most crucial to me, and Panavision has always made me feel safe and secure. I've always known I can rely on them in any difficulty that may surface technically or even personally any time of the day.

We had three Panavised Arri Alexa Minis for Picard, one each for A and B camera, and the third was either built for Steadicam or crane. These tools were operated by a great team of camera operators: Nicholas Davidoff, SOC, on A camera and Brian Joey' Morena on B camera, with Brian Bernstein, SOC and Brooks Robinson, SOC, filling out our team of day players.'

Picard Season 3 mostly took place in our spaceship set, the USS Titan. When production designer David Blass and his great team including Doug Drexler, John Eaves, James Addink and Bill Krause designed this set for Season 2, it was the USS Stargazer, but we knew that we would be repurposing it as a new ship for Season 3. There were numerous discussions on the subject, led by Season 3 showrunner Terry Matalas. As mentioned, these two seasons were shot directly back-to-back we finished Season 2 on a Friday and started Season 3 that Monday!

My personal approach shifted from Season 2 to 3 because Season 3 was a different beast: more visceral, bolder action, backstory drama, bringing back the world-famous Next Generation cast, and bringing on legendary actress Amanda Plummer, who entered our cast as the dark and unhinged Captain Vadic, commander of the Shrike.

For Season 3, Jon Joffin, ASC joined me as my alternating partner. I love executing close-ups with close-focus wide-angle lenses; I love that round, super-close, intimate feel when it's a very important line. Jon was awesome with his own aesthetics as well. We had individual thumbprints, but we collectively adhered to the story and the mission at hand. My personal Zen approach was to not be fearful and to conceive outside the box as much as I could without breaking the canon methodologies' the franchise adheres to so vigorously. I needed to remind myself with a mental pinch every now and then that this is the largest franchise in history!

I get so very excited to explore new chapters in my photographic life. Before the science-fiction world of Star Trek, I was photographing the DC Comics show Gotham, which allowed me to create worlds that were colorful and surreal, far from reality, filled with supervillains and inspired by a young Bruce Wayne's desire for justice. This is what keeps me inspired, learning from and bei
See more stories from panavision

More from Panavision France


Perfect Pairs

Based on the true story of two best friends, Jane (Yara Shahidi) and Corinne (Odessa A'zion), Sitting in Bars With Cake depicts a harrowing journey of matur...


Seeing in the Dark

Set in 1950s France, The Deep Dark (Gueules noires) follows a group of coal miners who are commissioned to escort a professor through dangerous depths to retrie...


Wistful Thinking

Writer-director Le Chau was born in Vietnam, moved to the United States when she was 22, and graduated from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in 2...


A Collaboration With Panavision: Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC

Like the spoken word, visual language is a gift passed down from previous generations and capable of robust growth through shared use and collaboration. For cin...


Unmistakable Charm

The story of a shy photographer who breaks out of his shell after attending a succession of drag shows, Three Nights a Week offers an honest look behind the vei...


A Collaboration with Panavision: Alexis Zab, ASC, AMC

An expert in the exacting craft of commercial cinematography, Alexis Zab , ASC, AMC is equally adept at lending visuals of distinct humanity to long-form projec...


Sam Daley Nominated for HPA Award

The Hollywood Professional Association has announced the nominations for the 2023 HPA Awards, which will be presented on November 9. Light Iron senior colorist ...


To Be Believed

Director Charl ne Favier's feature La fille quon appelle focuses on Laura Le Corre (Alba Ga a Bellugi), a young woman placed in a vulnerable position after ...


In Focus: Panavision Manufacturing

This video takes viewers inside the manufacturing department at Panavision's headquarters in Woodland Hills, California. Follow along from blueprint to CNC ...


A Collaboration With Panavision: John Seale, AM, ACS, ASC

Before going on to serve as cinematographer on such varied and beloved features as Witness, Rain Man, Dead Poet's Society, The English Patient, The Perfect ...


Launchpad Season 2 Takes Flight

Now streaming on Disney+, Launchpad Season 2 comprises six original live-action short films from underrepresented filmmakers whose unique voices bring new persp...


A Collaboration With Panavision: David Procter, BSC

It's one of the most powerful mediums of art, I believe, that we have, David Procter, BSC says of motion pictures. Having gotten his start in documentaries...


LEE Filters launches LEE100 Deluxe Kit+

ANDOVER, England (19th September, 2023) LEE Filters, a leading manufacturer of high-quality lighting gels and photographic filters and a member of the Panavis...


Tall Tale

Boots Riley writer, director and acclaimed vocalist of the hip-hop group The Coup is the definition of a colorful and exacting thinker. Some five years afte...


Creative Exercise

Created by Annie Weisman, the 1980s-set Apple TV+ series Physical focuses on Sheila Rubin (Rose Byrne) as she navigates a path toward self-discovery after unloc...


A Collaboration With Panavision: Ben Davis, BSC

My first day on set, I thought, This is what I want to do,' reflects Ben Davis, BSC, whose credits range from dramas like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing,...


Kim Snyder Receives HPA Alchemist Honor

The Hollywood Professional Association recently announced the latest recipients of its League Honors. This year's honorees include Panavision President and ...


Winning Depth

Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is back for its second season on HBO, pushing deeper into the 1980s as it continues to recount the on- and off-cour...


Political Colors

Created by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck and directed by David Mandel, the five-part miniseries White House Plumbers shines a fresh light on the real-life comedy...


A Collaboration With Panavision: Stephen H. Burum, ASC

I was a kid who liked to play, and cinematography is like playing, shares Stephen H. Burum, ASC, the recipient of the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award from the C...


The Thrill of the Ride

The new feature Haunted Mansion delivers spooky fun inspired by the famed Disney theme park attraction. Telling the story of single-mom Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) ...


Surreal Sympathies

Director Yuval Adler's Sympathy for the Devil is a road movie designed to subvert expectations. The story depicts one extremely long night for one sorely un...


A Collaboration with Panalux: Ben Smithard, BSC

Ben Smithard, BSC's credits include the features The Father and The Son, both with director Florian Zeller. In this video, the cinematographer retraces his ...


A Collaboration with Panavision: Piotr liskowski, PSC

Since childhood, I had a photo camera, reflects acclaimed Polish cinematographer Piotr liskowski, PSC. In this exclusive video, he recalls preparing for entra...


Personal Mission

In writer-director Leo Milano's debut feature, The Crusades, three friends find their school year thrown into turmoil by the possibility that their all-boys...


Coming in Hot

Eva Longorias feature directorial debut, Flamin' Hot, tells the story of how America fell in love with the Flamin Hot Cheeto. Longorias inspired direction c...


Legends in Living Color

The story of the friendship between Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana has captured the hearts of teenaged readers and the adults who care for them since Benj...


A Realm of Great Escape

Cinematographer Camilo Monsalve, ADFC understands the language of cinema as well as he knows his hometown of Medell n, Colombia. When presented with the opportu...


A Collaboration With Panalux: Harry Wiggins

I suppose you've got two sides to your lighting, says chief lighting technician Harry Wiggins. One is what you're going to rig, and the second thing i...


LEE Filters introduces LEE Compact 2-foot lighting gel and diffusion rolls

LONDON, England (13th June, 2023) LEE Filters, a leading manufacturer of high-quality lighting gels and photographic filters and a member of the Panavision fa...


A Collaboration With Panavision: scar Faura, AEC

My first idea was not to be a cinematographer, says director of photography scar Faura, AEC. I wanted to be an editor. In this exclusive video, Faura discus...


Isolated Incident

Written and directed by Miles Warren, the feature Bruiser takes an unflinching look at the role that hand-to-hand combat plays in a boys maturation into manhood...


The Making of The Silent Twins

The Silent Twins tells the story of identical twins June and Jennifer Gibbons, who grow up only communicating with each other. The movie which was serviced by...


Hyper-Natural Force

The BBC drama series Blue Lights tells the story of three rookie cops on the police force in Northern Ireland's capital, Belfast. Directed by Gilles Bannier...


Twins Again

Director David Cronenberg's 1988 horror film Dead Ringers, about twin OBGYNs whose penchant for tricking others threatens to shatter their own psyches, has ...


A Collaboration With Panalux: Julian White

Chief lighting technician Julian White's credits include features such as Locke and Murder on the Orient Express with Haris Zambarloukos, BSC, GSC; Control ...


The Making of Landscapers

The four-episode HBO Max limited series Landscapers focuses on an ordinary couple, played by Olivia Colman and David Thewlis, who become entangled in an extraor...


Creative Signature

Created by Tony Basgallop and executive-produced by M. Night Shyamalan, the horror series Servant has delivered 40 episodes of psychological torment across four...


Journey of Extremes

Cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski and writer-director Ari Aster began their long-running collaboration when they were both students at the American Film Institu...


Captain's Log

My celestial ride with Star Trek: Picard began when I was shooting Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 in Toronto. Thank you to Olatunde Osunsanmi, who gave me that c...


Say G'day

Viewed over 19-million times, Tourism Australia's G'day, the short film has set a new bar for tourism videos. The short follows two talking toys, one a ...


Intense Drive

Cinematographer Erik Henriksson knows how to deliver a well-curated visual aesthetic the expertly blends experimentation, experience and craft. Having worked wi...


LEE Filters introduces direct-to-consumer channel for US customers

LOS ANGELES (April 12, 2023) LEE Filters, a leading manufacturer of high-quality lighting gels and photographic filters and a member of the Panavision family ...


Room to Move

The CW original series Kung Fu follows the life-changing decision of Chinese American college student Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang) to trade her life as a student f...


The Making of Black Bird

For the Apple TV+ limited series Black Bird, cinematographer Natalie Kingston worked with Panavision New Orleans to assemble a camera and lens package that incl...


Inspired Choices

Cinematographer Sebastien Pfaffenbichler, AAC has been behind the camera on commercials for such well-known brands as Adidas, Toyota, American Express, Samsung,...


Choreography Is Key

As the storied fast-food chain's recent U.K. ad campaign makes clear, Fancy a McDonald's? is a question best asked and answered with a raise of th...


The Making of Wakanda Forever

For director Ryan Coogler's feature Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, cinematographer Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC worked with Panavision's Woodland Hills a...


Johanna Gravelle appointed Managing Director of Panavision Canada

TORONTO, Can. (March 29, 2023) Panavision, the entertainment industry's leading designer, manufacturer and rental provider of high precision optics and ca...


Frivolity and Power

The feature Soft follows three adolescent queer friends as they navigate the pardons and perils of summer break in the streets of Toronto. Written and directed ...