How Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’ Used the ARRI Signature T1.8 Primes

How Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’ Used the ARRI Signature T1.8 Primes

By Matthew Fresolone | January 5th, 2023

Straight out the gate, the Addams Family spinoff Wednesday has become a massive success. Everyone seems to be winning big: Tim Burton has directed the number three program on Netflix—Jenna Ortega has become an even bigger star, getting twenty-five millions Instagram subscribers and several endorsement deals, and millions of viewers out there are hoping for a second season. But what Bokeh Rentals is focusing on—is the ARRI Signature Primes.

See, the official ‘Wednesdaynetflix’ Instagram account posted some behind the scenes pictures—and we couldn’t help notice this on-set moment of Tim Burton looking through the viewfinder. And the viewfinder is connected to the 95mm ARRI Signature Prime T1.8.

 
Tim Burton ARRI Signature Prime Wednesday
Director Tim Burton lining up a shot with the ARRI Signature Prime T1.8 connected to a viewfinder.
 
 

SMOOTH DARK TONES

  The ARRI Signature Primes have creamy imagery with organic skin tone rendition, which helps the filmmakers establish the gloomy, overcast mood of Wednesday. Additionally, the smooth midtones and deep blacks give a lot of character to the image, serving to ground the image's washed-out, dream-like feel.

As you can see in the shot below, shadows are very important to establishing the mood of Wednesday, the character. The ARRI Signatures capture the deep shadows on the face and let them bleed under the character’s eyes, giving a morose mood that goes much further than makeup. In this frame in particular, the deep black of her eyes, hair, and school uniform all complement one another.

Jenny Ortega Wednesday Still ARRI Signature Prime T1.8
A shot of Wednesday Adams with the shallow depth of field of the ARRI Signature Prime T1.8.

 

FLARES & BOKEH

Wednesday’s visual language is also powered by the ARRI Signature Prime’s containment of flares and smooth bokeh. Although Wednesday has its Burtony charm, it doesn’t wear a bright, cheery mood on its sleeve. Therefore, vintage lenses like the Canon K-35s or flare-heavy glass like the Cooke Anamorphic SF likely would produce loud flares incongruous with the material.

In the frame below, notice the lack of flares despite multiple direct light sources. The anti-reflective coatings and minimized internal flare of the Signature Primes keeps a clean, contained image. Similarly, there is very smooth bokeh, giving a uniformly soft appearance to light sources. Bokeh is nearly circular because of the primes' 11-sided iris. Paired with the shallow depth of field from these super-fast lenses, the uniform bokeh provides a smooth, sensuous frame. In less warm environments, such as the overcast exteriors, the shallow depth of field and smooth bokeh provides a dreamy quality to the images.

Wednesday Still ARRI Signature Primes T1.8
The smooth bokeh and limited flare response provide a gentle feeling to exposed light sources.
The ARRI Signature Primes also allowed the filmmakers to shoot with less available light, since the lenses can push a maximum aperture of T1.8 universally. Similarly, since there is faster turnaround in a Netflix television production than, say, a theatrical release, the LPL mount’s metadata transfer helped speed up the post-production process. 

Other benefits of using the ARRI Signature Primes include zero lens breathing, large format coverage with image circles up to 46mm, and rear filter holders for convenient filter-swapping.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Because Wednesday has the visual motif of darkness, it makes perfect sense that the ARRI Signature Primes came to the rescue. Not to mention its state of the art technical capabilities, incredibly fast T-stop, and rock-solid mechanics.

The ARRI Signature Primes T1.8 are the highest caliber cinema primes on the market, made by the world's leading optical manufacturer. The six-lens package of primes includes an 18mm, 29mm, 35mm, 47mm, 75mm, and 125mm. Individual lenses can be purchased retail for anywhere from $25,000 to $33,000.

Unless you're a well-funded production company or major studio, your best bet is to rent from a dependable rental house-- such as the LA-based Bokeh Rentals!

Considering renting? Why not check out Bokeh Rentals equipment packages!

•Rent the ARRI Signature Primes T1.8 at Bokeh Rentals

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