Go behind the lens of the Leica SL2 and SL2-S with cinematographer Bret Curry (@bretcurry) as he shares the influences, inspirations, and muses behind his visible journey with filmmaker and photographer, Nicholas Kalikow.
“Bret Curry and I met in late 2018 and instantly discovered we shared a really comparable set of influences and philosophies relating to cinema and images. We rapidly found that we had been each drawn to Leica to create our visible tales, and have been collaborating on numerous tasks shot on Leica cameras and lenses ever since. When the SL2-S got here out I used to be completely smitten, Bret advised me that if I wished to purchase the SL2-S, he’d fortunately take the SL2 off my fingers. We took a couple of minutes earlier than taking pictures our “NEBULA” venture to speak cameras.” – Nicholas Kalikow
Nicholas: You had been often called the Q photographer, what has SL2 given you that Q couldn’t?
Bret: I shot with my unique Q each day for over 5 years. For my part, there is no such thing as a extra completely designed digital camera, significantly for somebody like me who feels most at dwelling taking pictures a 28mm and considers a 50mm to be telephoto. More often than not – and that is what I like to recommend to folks – I shoot the Q spot AF, auto ISO capped at 1600, and at f1.7 (until I have to cease down for some artistic function). Clearly, there are 100 alternative ways you would shoot with the Q however that is my favourite. With the Leica Q, the extent of high quality you get in relation to the low quantity of effort spoils you.
I did nevertheless want the flexibility of the SL2 system, particularly as my work has developed to 50/50 movie and movement. I used to be particularly bought on switching as soon as I used the APO Summicron SL lenses. That being mentioned, the each day lens I carry on my SL2 is a 28mm Summilux-M – so I principally put collectively an interchangeable lens Q for myself. Some habits die exhausting.
Nicholas: Inform me about how you utilize the SL2 and SL2-S for movement work and the way you construct out the digital camera to suit comfortably on a movie set.
Bret: The very first thing I’ve to say is how purposefully designed the SL2 and SL2-S are for somebody who shoots each stills and movement work on the identical venture. You may change between the stills and video mode by the fast menu display and their particular person settings are maintained. That’s big, significantly whenever you most frequently need a 180-degree shutter, constant ISO, and colour temp whereas taking pictures movement.
The wonderful thing about the SL2 and SL2-S is you can deal with them the best way you deal with every other high-end digital cinema digital camera – primarily as a sturdy field with a sensor, lens mount, and some intuitive buttons that mix into the background and melds seamlessly with industry-standard digital camera equipment. I make the most of the Lock Circle Full Steel Jacket 2 cage to encompass the digital camera with mounting factors and a rod system and construct out the digital camera the identical approach I might with every other cinema digital camera. I output a really malleable log picture to the Atomos Ninja V recording monitor, though in-body recording additionally will get you a incredible high quality. The digital camera, monitor, and wi-fi equipment are all powered by one battery mounted on the finish of the rod system. Urgent the document button on the digital camera triggers recording to the monitor as properly. Every thing you’ll count on out of a typical cinema digital camera – and definitely rather more easy than most DSLR-based rigs I’ve used prior to now.
Nicholas: What issues do you make when selecting the SL2 vs. the SL2-S for a given venture?
Bret: The pure choice, when you have the choice, is to shoot the SL2 for stills and the SL2-S for movement. I feel that applies more often than not, though the SL2-S excels in uncontrolled low-light situations and the SL2 shines in lit or managed environments. There’s a purpose for each cameras to exist side-by-side, however you’ll be properly served by both in virtually any scenario. The Venn diagram of those two our bodies would present many extra similarities than variations.
Nicholas: Once I first shot with you and your spouse Pleasure, I spotted that she’s greater than your muse and favourite topic, she appears to virtually be a collaborator, are you able to discuss the way you guys work collectively?
Bret: Pleasure has been beside me whereas I’ve had a digital camera in my hand greater than anybody else, besides perhaps my good friend and most important digital camera assistant Justin Scheidt. I can’t start to clarify how a lot she has influenced each a part of my method to images, and to life normally. She brings views and concepts which might be utterly separate from my instincts, and as somebody with a B.A. in Artwork Historical past, she has a sure visible literacy that may typically assist me with issues I’m caught on. She can also be utterly uninterested within the technical aspect of images, which is refreshing since I’m surrounded each day by folks like me who can’t cease speaking in regards to the technical aspect of issues.
Nicholas: Your first e-book, A Ghost Story: Pictures was lately launched this month by Mood Books. The entire pictures within the e-book had been shot on the Q, right? Are you able to inform me slightly extra about that venture and the way it feels to be a broadcast photographer?
Bret: All the photographs within the e-book had been shot with the Q except a number of shot on one other digital camera. I used to be the gaffer and second-unit DP on the movie A Ghost Story, which was directed by David Lowery and got here out 2017. The making of the movie was a really distinctive scenario. A bunch of Texas filmmakers and another shut collaborators who had been working collectively on numerous tasks for the previous decade bought collectively to make a small film with some very recognizable actors, one in all whom was in a basic bedsheet ghost costume for many of the movie. It’s not a scenario that comes up typically! The Q is the right digital camera for somebody taking images on set on high of their most important job. I used to be in a position to seize stills that took benefit of the placing visuals of the movie and the intimate nature of the set. After a protracted however pleasing course of, the e-book will probably be launched by way of Mood Books. It’s a fairly particular factor to have a e-book revealed and I’m trying ahead to the followers of the movie and its imagery lastly having the chance to personal a replica.
Nicholas: Getting again to the SL2 system, the Summilux-M 28mm as you’ve said is your “go-to” lens, however on our collaborations, you fairly often use the Summicron-SL 28mm, and also you’ve had a protracted historical past of taking pictures 28mm on Leica Q. What qualities do every of those lenses convey to the desk for you?
Bret: To me there may be nothing higher than a quick, sharp 28mm lens on a full-frame sensor. It truly is the candy spot: You get context however separation. Additionally, if you find yourself taking pictures folks, you typically should get of their “bubble” to realize the framing that you just want. You find yourself sharing an area with one another separate from all the pieces else round you – there generally is a sense of conspiring along with your topic. It sounds bizarre to say, but it surely’s a dynamic that interprets to the sensation of the picture.
Every of the lenses you talked about have distinctive qualities. I’ve talked about to you earlier than that the 28 Summilux-M feels has a unique character than the APO-SL and Q variations, I feel it’s essentially the most classically “Leica” of the bunch, it’s tough to explain. The APO-Summicron-SL sequence normally is simply mind-blowing when it comes to high quality, significantly when the photographs are carefully inspected. Nevertheless, 28 Summicron nonetheless retains that attribute Leica falloff. The 28 Summilux on the Leica Q is a marvel, and I assume as a closed system it’s tuned to the sensor and vice-versa to realize optimum high quality, significantly huge open. The macro mode with that lens can also be a extremely spectacular achievement of mechanical design. Leica and their 28mm’s remind me of a band who modifications their sound drastically with every album, however are nonetheless instantly recognizable as them if that is smart.
Nick: Whenever you shoot movie you appear to fluctuate evenly between colour and B&W, however in digital, you virtually solely shoot in colour? Is there a purpose for that?
Bret: No matter format, I really like daring colours and a way of heightened actuality, and that’s the reason I principally appear to shoot and ship pictures in colour. I feel it’s additionally a operate of viewing in colour whereas taking pictures digital and never having the ability to unsee these pictures in colour. My movie cameras are actually virtually all the time to seize “bonus” pictures on a venture that’s being shot on digital, so I’ll typically put black and white in to combine issues up. I might like to make some extent to shoot extra purposefully in black and white on digital sooner or later, my subsequent Leica would possibly very properly be a Q2 Monochrom or M10.
Nicholas: Do you ever watch movies and say, “I ponder if I can recreate that as a nonetheless?”
Bret: That may be a nice query. On a regular basis. I can particularly consider a current shot that I did of Pleasure that was immediately influenced by Mulholland Drive, the place a shot of palm bushes dissolves right into a shot of Naomi Watts mendacity on a sofa. The mix between these two pictures by DP Peter Deming made an iconic double publicity that we wished to recreate. It was enjoyable to share the ensuing picture and see how many individuals made the connection.
Nicholas: Spielberg or Hitchcock?
Nicholas: What’s subsequent for you?
Bret: Properly I’ve bought to get SL2 on this underwater housing and also you’ve higher get your wetsuit on, NEBULA ain’t gonna shoot itself!
Nicholas: Let’s do it!
Take a sneak peek of Bret’s most up-to-date journey with Nicholas.