On ABC Disney, Detroit 1-8-7 is a scripted police drama that captures the essence of reality police shows like Cops or The First 48 with spontaneity and grit. With that visual goal in mind, Director of Photography Lisa Wiegand worked with Fletcher Camera and Lenses, a rental house in Chicago, to assemble just the right Fujinon ENG lens package. HA13X4.5BERM HD ENG wide angle lens with 2x extender, HA20x7.5BERM HD telephoto lens, and HA22x7.3BERM HD ENG/EFP lens were selected for use on Panasonic VariCam 3700 P2 HD camcorders. The HA42x9.7BERD lens is also used for the show on occasion.
Wiegand designed a lightweight camera package, and the Fujinon ENG lenses were ideal because of their wide range and compact size. We were going for a real documentary-style look, she said. I knew I wanted to use ENG lenses because my camera operators are holding the cameras 90 percent of the time, so they must be light.
The crew shoots a one-hour episode in approximately eight days. That usually means four days on stage and four days on location in Detroit. On location, the HA13X4.5BERM lens is used for close focus work, such as car interiors. In keeping with the realistic tone of the show, a shot might start from inside a car with the detectives, and then the camera jumps out of the car with them, runs up to a house, runs inside the house, and up the stairs. For the most part, our longer zooms are our workhorses, said Wiegand. So the documentary-style lens is more appropriate for our show. It makes a huge difference that all the different focal lengths we need are right on the camera, and we dont have to change lenses much at all.
Wiegand explains that she chose the Fujinon package because of the more realistic, natural look it provides: Its more pleasing. I dont have to filter these lenses, and I dont have to diffuse them. Thats a big deal for me for the kind of shooting were doing. I dont want to be swapping out filters all the time or wearing filters which could create more flare issues than we want.