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The Replacement shot with irreplaceable Cooke lenses

Cooke Optics, the multi-award winning manufacturer of precision lenses for film and television, is pleased to reveal that The Replacement, the new three part drama that starts on BBC 1 on 28 February 2017, was shot with Cooke S4/i lenses by Nick Dance BSC.

Written and directed by Joe Ahearne and starring Morven Christie and Vicky McLure, the unsettling drama follows the story of a woman who falls pregnant just as she lands a big contract at work. Her maternity replacement, Paula, seems ideal at first – enthusiastic, competent and personable – but as Paula shadows Ellen through the last few months of her pregnancy, Ellen begins to worry that Paula has another agenda.

Nick Dance BSC, who also recently shot the BBC’s Poldark with Cooke glass and ARRI ALEXA cameras, says that Cooke S4/i’s are his ‘go to’ lenses. “The S4/i’s tend to be my first choice, as this range generally covers most requirements,” he said. “I find the Cookes more forgiving than other lenses, especially when shooting digital; the focus roll off is closer to the look when shooting on film. Although the story needed to feel real and naturalistic, we still wanted the female protagonists to look as good as possible but keeping it believable, and these lenses do this.”

Shooting in Glasgow meant that the weather and lighting conditions could change in an instant but, Dance says, a combination of Cooke lenses, ALEXA cameras and the colorist, Sonny Sheridan, made it work.

“The lenses greatly contributed to this as the contrast holds through all lighting conditions,” he said. “We did embrace lens flare, especially in the story when paranoia sets in, and the lenses handle this well - the image remains solid and doesn't blow but has a beautiful subtle flare and bokeh.”

The main set, the architects’ offices, also posed a major lighting challenge as it features almost 360 degree plate glass windows and walls. “As the window was massive, it was not possible to ND, and also we would be shooting throughout the day, so it would be tricky and time consuming to remove ND when the light starts to drop or the weather changes,” added Dance. “I didn't want to over-light the interior, and using big lamps would cause more reflection issues, so less was definitely more in this instance! We soon discovered what worked and what didn't, and the lenses helped me greatly with holding contrast with all these challenges. I have to say it was all worth it as the natural reflections gave us extra depth and texture that otherwise we wouldn't have had with flat solid walls.”

The Replacement starts on Tuesday 28 February 2017 at 9pm on BBC1.

Cooke’s S4/i lenses will be on show at NAB 2017, together with the first lenses from its highly anticipated Panchro/i Classic range, Cooke’s second front Anamorphic/i zoom lens, and lenses from the Anamorphic/i, 5/i and miniS4/i ranges.

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