Godfather of Harlem Season 2

Calculated Moves: Behind the scenes of Godfather of Harlem Season 2

Cinematographer Jack Donnelly discusses windowing DXL2 for 6K capture and pairing the camera with Super 35-format Primo lenses for Godfather of Harlem Season 2.

When Godfather of Harlem Season 2 begins, it’s February 1964, and the series’ eponymous gangster, Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson (Forest Whitaker), has been in hiding for three months while notorious mafioso Vincent “Chin” Gigante (Vincent D’Onofrio) and his men scour New York City for him. Behind the scenes, cinematographer Jack Donnelly was again behind the camera following his work on Season 1, returning to shoot Episodes 1, 4, 6, 8 and 10 of the second season, with cinematographer Jay Feather photographing the remainder. 

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For Season 2, Donnelly brought the show to Panavision New York and elected to work with Millennium DXL2 cameras and Primo optics. “When it was my choice this year, I wanted to go to Panavision for a number of reasons,” he says. “I really like the DXL2 with its large Monstro sensor and the Panavision color science, and I’ve always liked the Primo lenses.”

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DXL2’s large-format 8K sensor can be windowed-down in-camera, with the 5K capture area matching a Super 35 gate. This allows the camera — in combination with field-swappable lens-mount adapters from the camera’s native SP70 to either PV35 or PL — to be paired with Super 35-format optics. “We actually went to 6K,” Donnelly explains. “We only carried one full set of Primos, but I’d say 65 percent of the time we shot two cameras, so we would occasionally step down to 5K on one camera just to match sizes if we were cross-shooting — for example, with a 40mm and a 35mm, or a 50mm and a 40mm.”

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