Website Logo

Search for lenses, articles and help

Blog News Productions

Maxime Cointe chooses Cooke special flair Anamorphics, Lupin Series 3

By: The Cooke Team  |   2 min read

In early 2021 a French mystery thriller series took the world by storm. Watched by 76 million households during its first month on Netflix, Lupin became the highest streamed non-English series on the platform at the time. Now a third season has been released with Maxime Cointe taking over the duties of cinematographer and utilising Cooke Anamorphic/i FF Special Flair lenses to dazzling effect.

Lupin is set against many iconic Parisian backdrops and stars the endearing Omar Sy as Assane Diop who is inspired by Arsène Lupin, a famed fictional gentleman thief created in the early 1900s by Maurice Leblanc. When his immigrant Senegalese father is framed for the theft of a diamond necklace and dies in prison, fourteen-year-old Assane is forced to fend for himself. Later in life and inspired by stories of Lupin, Assane sets out for revenge armed with his undeniable charisma and criminal skillset. Series three follows Assane’s theft of the priceless Black Pearl and his attempts to rebuild the relationships with his family.

Cinematographer Maxime shot the first and second episodes of series three with director Ludovic Bernard and episodes three and four with Canadian director Daniel Grou (Podz). Lupin was an anamorphic show from its origin, with cinematographer Christophe Nuyens opting for a 1.5x squeeze lens set. Ludovic had previously directed a couple of episodes in the latter half of series two and on pairing up with Maxime asked the cinematographer to find him a “more organic, more sensitive” lens set. This combined with Netflix’s requirements for 4k and Maxime’s familiarity with the Arri Alexa camera family led him towards large format anamorphic options.

“I was searching, I was searching and then in time I remembered Bruno Delbonnel told me one day that he worked with the Cooke S4s for a long time and remembered the softness of the optics on the skintone. And I said okay, let’s go with Cooke!”

Maxime Cointe | Director of Photography

Previous to Lupin Maxime had worked mainly with 2x anamorphics on super35mm 4-perf and digital 4:3. Utilising 1.8x squeeze on full frame he was impressed by the new scale of his canvas and Cooke’s offering of wide angle full frame coverage lent a unique energy to certain sequences.

“It’s really massive, shooting in anamorphic and full frame. It’s completely different. It’s really immersive. That’s why I use it. I worked with another director called Julien Lacombe. I did a series called Missions and we spoke a lot about anamorphic. He told me each time ‘I would like to shoot in full frame, but I never find a real anamorphic lens’ And we share some stuff together and he said, ‘oh, Max, look at this series, it’s a real anamorphic lens’ and I test it and it’s really massive. When we were supposed to shoot in Place La Donna it’s a really crowded place is – Assane is supposed to do a robbery. I said okay let’s shoot with a wide angle and it works really well.”

The production carried two sets of the special flair version of Cooke Anamorphics along with the 85mm Macro which offered a unique perspective and quickly became a hero lens.

“The first time I used it Ludovic said ‘okay that will be our lens.’ You can look close and open the rest of the frame – it’s amazing! It changes his way of filming to tell the story about Assane’s relationship with his kid.”

When it came to flares Maxime felt that the special flair coatings lent themselves to an organic look that never overpowered the emotion of the scenes.

“Even on the police lights it was really, really soft. You say in France ‘la douceur’” [the gentleness]

Lupin was a predominantly location based shoot and the production moved from cars to trains, wide vistas to small cramped rooms sometimes within a matter of a couple of days as was befitting the face paced action. There was a push from the production designer to shoot in genuine environments which, coupled with Ludovic’s affection towards “tiny spaces”, especially for the Q-like character of Ferel, could have posed a challenge. Maxime credits the larger format and wide angle offering of the Cooke’s with making these spaces workable for the story.

Lupin Series 3 BTS
Lupin Series 3 BTS

The fast paced schedule required Maxime to take a prep based approach to the lighting relying on discussions on location scouts with gaffer Brice Tupin and developing a sixth sense with one another as they worked across the two blocks together.

Not being rooted to a single ISO allowed Maxime the flexibility he needed within the locations, he’d build different LUTs for each location and then work on set with the DIT to finesse. When it came to finishing, Maxime sings the praises of colourist Aline Conan who’d overseen the previous series. Finishing in Dolby version they worked first on the HDR grade before doing SDR trims.

Maxime remembers the series fondly, in part due to Omar’s temperament and support of the project and the locations they had access to.

“Omar is a incredible, incredible guy. I worked with my crew and I shot Paris by night. And it was so fun to do Paris by night It was incredible to have the Place Vendôme by night, close to Christmas. You have the Christmas trees and it makes the bokeh and background look really organic, it’s fun!”

All three series of Lupin are streaming on Netflix.