Carl Zeiss has been serving the world of cinema for many, many years. Now, with their new facility in Los Angeles, Zeiss has placed themselves squarely in the middle of the filmmaking community with their new office, offering cinematographers and filmmakers a new home to test lenses with cameras, view their work on an amazing theatre screen and enjoy some amazing Zeiss hospitality. We were there for the grand opening, where Zeiss’ Snehal Patel gave us a full walkthrough of the amazing new facility.
As soon as you walk through the front doors, the entire space is open and welcoming, and very, very Zeiss. That is to say, the entire space is meticulously put together and even seems to almost have a slight curvature to it reminiscent of a lens itself. The signature Zeiss blue accents the space and you always know you are at a Zeiss office with some amazing pieces of history surrounding you at all times.
These amazing pieces include some of their first microscopes, which represent the company’s beginning in 1846. There are even some of Zeiss’ own cameras, such as their 16mm and 18mm cameras, a Zeiss Ikon Moviflex S8, Movikon 8 and more, all on loan from the museum in the German home office. There are even photographs from famous films that used Zeiss lenses on loan from the Society of Motion Picture Still Photography, to be swapped out yearly. Everywhere you look is a piece of Zeiss history, giving you a sense of the many steps the company has taken to get where it is today.
In a beautiful set of cabinets is an example of every Zeiss lens, from their high-end cinema Supreme Prime lenses to their Cinema Zooms, to the more affordable primes such as the CP.3 lenses. They even have their still lenses that are commonly used for cinema applications, such as their Otis and Milvus lens families. These all point toward the prep area, where you can rig out a wide variety of cameras Zeiss keeps on hand for testing with any of their lenses. It has a focus chart and even a couch where you can test the lens on actual people and really see how a lens looks with a particular camera. From there you can take your footage into their editing suite to test it out in post, adjust color, etc., offering you a full start to finish testing area to answer any questions you may have. For the even more technically minded, Zeiss also has a great lens projection room to give you even more meticulous testing of a particular lens’ features, focusing, abberations and more.
Last but most certainly not least is the theatre, an impressive setup where you can show your reel, showcase your test footage from earlier, bring in your own outside test footage to showcase and more. It’s stunning screen and speakers make it the perfect showcase for any footage, giving you the chance to really dive into whatever you’re watching.
The Zeiss Cinema Lens Demo Center is open now, so be sure to make an appointment by emailing CineShowroomLA@Zeiss.com
As always, for all things Zeiss, be sure to visit www.Zeiss.com/Cine