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Lenses 101 from Les Zellan of Cooke Optics at Dubai’s AM Studios

Les Zellan, Chairman and Owner of Cooke Optics Ltd

“The Cooke Speed Panchro lenses made talking movies possible, ” revealed Les Zellan, Chairman and Owner of Cooke Optics Ltd, at a presentation on lenses and lens technology. The half-day event on January 17, 2017 was hosted by Advanced Media at the AM Studios’ facility in Al Quoz, Dubai.

The presentation began with an extensive filmography of the lenses starting with the silent era and Charlie Chaplin films to the present day Iron Man franchise and the Harry Potter series, among other films.

“With a new camera being launched every other week, it is challenging for us as lenses manufacturers to keep up,” admitted Zellen.

He added that while directors of photography were the easiest to convince, the big challenge for lenses manufacturers was to anticipate what the industry would need in two or three years’ time and manufacture accordingly.

The presentation covered topics that highlighted how different coatings can bring different ‘looks’ to lenses, the differences between spherical and anamorphic, how Cooke handcrafts its lenses, and the importance of lens metadata on set and in post. Also highlighted was the /i Technology, an open protocol available to manufacturers of lenses, cameras and post production equipment (/i partners include Sony, RED, Avid, Canon, Fujinon and around 25 other brands) to capture information such as depth of field and focal length, towards saving time and money in visual effects post production.

BroadcastPro ME had reported in 2014,  that Dubai-based distributor Advanced Media Trading LLC (AMT) had expanded its service facility at Al Khaleej Centre, Dubai, to include a service centre for lenses. AMT’s service centre includes a team of engineers and technicians who specialise in servicing and repairing broadcast video and photo equipment.

Speaking to BroadcastPro ME on hosting the Cooke Optics event, AMT’s CEO, Kaveh Farnam said: “We organise such events not only for the information about lenses and updates on latest technology, but having somebody like Les Zellan on board means understanding the history of cinema and the technical advancements that were driven by the needs of storytelling.  It goes without saying that we really need such exposure in the Middle East if we want to be a part of a global cinema industry. “