Cooke Varotal/i FF in Industry City Video

Took a Look at Cooke Varotal/i FF Zooms

FDTimes looked at Cooke Varotal/i FF Zooms on VENICE 2 at Industry City, in Brooklyn, NY.

You can see the 4K video on YouTube at:

and on Vimeo:



Cooke’s Chief Marketing Officer Danny Haikin was nattering on the dog ‘n bone (phone): “Under your eternal NDA, we’re introducing the new Cooke 19-40 Varotal/i FF. Could you have a look?” A few days later, the lens arrived. It came, I saw, I commented. “Danny,” I said. “It’s vibrant. Vivacious. Images are almost three-dimensional.” 

Danny said, “Vivacious? That’s a new one. You wouldn’t let me use the word ‘organic’ in the FDTimes write-up of our S8/i. You insisted on ‘filmic’ or ‘film-like.’ But now, ‘luscious’? “

“Well, well, well,” I sputtered. “We may be running low on words, art galleries, wine tastings or food allusions to describe these vivacious, vibrant Varotal/i zooms.” 

Danny replied, “I like the alliterative V. But if a picture is worth more than all the V letters you can muster, how about a video with all three Varotal/i zooms. But please, no models with bad makeup. No fairy lights bokehing in the background or flashlights flaring from the front. Something serious. Not the hilarious spoof Cine Lens Test directed by Ben Siow and Kelvin Chew. And spare us a remake of the Omar Sharif riding toward camera shot in Lawrence of Arabia.”  

Faster than you could say “The Hunting of the Snark,” with apologies to Lewis Carroll,

The crew was complete, it included an AC—
A Gaffer mainly for negative fill—
An AD, brought to arrange their disputes—
And a Broker to insure their goods.    

Full Frame Faces

The idea was to focus on faces, since so much of what we do is all about the faces of actors and actresses and real people. These are Full Frame lenses—so that meant a Full Frame camera with the widest range of internal NDs because I love to shoot wide open. We wanted the lenses unadorned, without filters. Skin tones appeared beautifully smooth and gentle when captured on the latest 8K sensor and delivered in 4K. 

We looked at 19-40, 30-95 and 85-215 Cooke Varotal/i zooms on the latest Sony VENICE 2, recording 8.2K 17:9 DCI at 24 fps. Jon Fauer assembled the rough cut with music on DaVinci Resolve Studio. Corey Abel did the final cut on Adobe Premiere,  which made the round trip back to DaVinci Resolve Studio for grading and delivery. 

AbelCine Camera Technology Specialist, DIT and colorist Geoff Smith notes: “For grading, we only used native tools in the Studio version of Resolve 18.0.4 – lift, gamma, gain, offset, curves, color temperature, etc. Color management was performed ‘manually’ with Resolve FX Color Space Transforms applied pre- and post- the clips in a group (a ‘CST sandwich’).


“The first CST node (in ‘Group Pre-Clip’) converts from Sony S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine to DaVinci Intermediate/DaVinci Wide Gamut and the second CST converts from DaVinci Intermediate/DaVinci Wide Gamut to RecC709 (i.e. an output transform).

“The idea is that one should be able to change the output target in the second CST to another OETF (e.g. ST.2084 PQ/P3-D65) and observe/trim the grade on an appropriate display (such as a BVM-X300 or BVM-HX310) without re-grading from scratch. The Color Management tab in Project Settings should be set to DaVinci YRGB (the default) rather than either DaVinci YRGB Color Managed or an ACES flavor.”

The List of Thanks is Long:

AbelCine for production services, equipment and locations.

Pete Abel for his enthusiasm and generous support of this production. Pete and Rich Abel for starring roles in the film. Eric Johnston, Cooke Director of Business Development for organizing the Varotals and taking the BTS photos. Tanya Lyon, Sony Marketing Communications Manager—Cinema Division, and Paul Healy, Business Development at Sony, for diverting a VENICE 2 to our 1-day prep / 1-day shoot.

Locations were all within Industry City, a vibrant, creative community with more than 500 businesses, including media and technology companies, art studios, sports facilities, restaurants, bars, and shopping in 16 huge buildings on the Brooklyn waterfront.

AbelCine’s huge windows provided beautiful available light for a large cast of AbelCine staff who patiently endured available props, butterflies on their noses, and bad jokes to make them grin. Moore Brothers Wine Company is across the street from AbelCine. The store is chilled to wine-cellar 55 degrees, so wear a jacket while you browse their vast selection of wines from small-family estates in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Argentina, and the United States. Christophe Pourny Studio is one flight upstairs, with Travaux En Cours woven hats and all manner of French furnishings, home goods, soaps, chefs aprons, books and designer tote bags.


  • Director/Cameraman: Jon Fauer, ASC
  • Focus Puller/AC: Tom Kane (photo at top of page)
  • DIT: Geoff Smith
  • Tech Services Supervisor: Avery Venable-Turner
  • Gaffer: Ross Faccio
  • Production Coordinator: Nastasia Avrutin
  • Production Services: Megan Donnelly


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