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Balancing Creativity and Technology in Cinematography: Insights from Commercial DP Nik Pilecki



1. Please simply introduce yourself as a DP.


My name is Nik Pilecki and I am a commercial DP from Toronto, Canada, working on mainly Lifestyle/Product Broadcast spots with the occasional music video or long-form project.




2. In what situations or conditions you had gotten the chance to use our Pavo anamorphic lenses?


I got to use the Pavo anamorphic lenses on a short called “Rogue Wave”, directed by Zach Ramelan.  It's a darker-themed narrative about 2 girls who find out that there are certain audio frequencies that can act like addictive drugs on people.  The crew and lighting package were limited, so having reliable and small form factor lenses with a larger focal length range allowed us to move quickly and shoot in spaces with anamorphics that I would tend to avoid with most other lenses.



3. In what scenarios (type of film/scene) would you prefer to use anamorphic lenses for shooting?


I like shooting anamorphic more for narrative work as I think it puts the viewer in the mindset of a new world.  The Pavos are a perfect fit for Rogue Wave as they have the characteristics of vintage anamorphic in the bokeh but maintain the sharpness of modern anamorphic at a 2.8/4 split.


4. How do you think of the Pavo anamorphic after using them?


I love them! The fact that they are so small in their form factor means we can easily fly them on a gimbal or do extended takes on the Easy Rig without getting fatigued. I also liked, for this project, that the flares are less prominent with the Pavos. This was nice, as we used a ton of stylistic backlighting, and with most lenses, the flares would be distracting. With the Pavos, the control of flaring helped us stay focused on the story.





5. Have the Pavo lenses helped you overcome any challenges in this filming? For example?


The biggest thing I noticed with the Pavos is the large focal length range and the small form factor. This allowed us to shoot in small spaces where it would normally be difficult to even get a camera, and to get the coverage we needed to advance the plot further. The 28mm lens saved us in some rooms where we wanted to capture wide shots, but the physical space on set made it almost impossible to achieve that wide field of view.



6. Which is your favorite focal length in the set to use? Why?


I would say the 32mm or 40mm were my favorite in the set!  I am a big fan of floating around on a single lens to maximize coverage and these 2 lenses rendered faces beautifully with great painterly compression and bokeh without losing too much of the FOV of the sets.

7. How do you feel using the Pavo lenses on  Alexa 35 camera?


I think the Pavo lenses were an excellent fit with the Alexa 35 sensor. When paired with the 6:5 anamorphic sensor crop, it finishes in a nice 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This is my favorite aspect ratio for narrative work because I associate it with entering another world and putting the audience in the headspace that, they are about to experience something new and exciting. Also, the Alexa 35 has a sharper sensor, so having these lenses take the digital edge off was a good pairing.




8. Based on your on-set experience, what innovative features would you like to see in DZOFILM's future products?


Currently, I am in love with a lot of the DZO products. I don't really have any innovative features other than I am excited to get my hand on the Arles lenses to have the option of opening up to T1.4 in situations that call for it!




9. Do you currently have any on-going projects? Have you been using any other DZOFILM lenses in these shootings?


Oh, I am always shooting commercials (Which I love) and one of my mainstays is using the Vespids on a lot of those projects.  I am a big proponent of efficiency and maximizing budgets and I would say in 50% of my commercial work I still reach for the Vespids!