American Cinematographer - April 2017 - 70
Top: Former Assistant District Attorney Paul Robinette (Richard Brooks) makes his case as a
defense attorney. Middle: Valdez and Stone listen to the opposing argument. Bottom: Wiegand
details the desired frame for a courtroom scene.
the whole process. Shooting that scene
was so much fun."
While going the Alexa route was
a no-brainer for Wiegand, selecting the
appropriate lenses for Chicago Justice was
a trickier proposition. She initially
pushed for shooting the show with
Panavision G Series anamorphic lenses
- which she used on the second season
of American Crime for ABC - but
production wouldn't go for it. "I made
this big presentation to show to Dick
Wolf and the guys, and at the end of it
they were kind of like, 'Yeah, that's a
little artsy fartsy, Lisa,'" Wiegand recalls
with a laugh.
Instead she selected Leica
Summilux-C primes and a pair of
Fujinon Cabrio zooms: 19-90mm
(T2.9) and 85-300mm (T2.9-4.0). The
show also carried 16mm and 25mm
Cooke S4/i primes for situations in
which a wider focal length was needed
than the Fujinons could provide.
Before long, Wiegand decided
that trying to favor primes on a show
that barreled forward at the pace of
Chicago Justice wasn't practical. "Once
we got on set I realized that we had so
many shots to do and so many people to
cover, if we didn't have the variability of
focal lengths that a zoom provides, we
were kind of hosed," she observes. "We
just didn't have time to be constantly
switching lenses, so we traded in the
"For me it was all about the
convenience and how lightweight the
Fujinons were," she continues. "It used
to be that back in the day we wanted to
use primes over zooms because of
mechanical things, like the zooms
breathing when you were pulling focus.
But we don't have that problem
anymore with these new zooms. So I'm
not a prime snob."
Chicago Justice began shooting
back in September and wrapped in lateFebruary, just as this story went to press.
That schedule meant that - unlike
most network shows - all 13 episodes
of the first season were completed
before the series premiered on March 1.
Because of that timeline, Wiegand had