Welcome To the Latest Endeavor

Michael Scott

A great man once said, "Sometimes I'll start a sentence and I don't even know where it's going. I just hope I find it along the way." That man, was Michael Scott. As we begin this journey together (you are reading this after all), I promise that I will always do my best to stay informative, stay interesting, and stay on topic. Nevertheless, I can’t always promise that I’ll know where it’s going. In fact, I’m not exactly sure where this venture itself is going, but I’ll do what I can to make it worth your while. 


Branden Stanley with Red Epic on Glidecam

On that note, welcome to the blog titled, appropriately, That Vintage Lens! I’m so pleased that you’re here, and I hope you stay. In the upcoming weeks and months, I hope to discuss a wide range of photographic and cinematographic topics, largely centered around film photography and the equipment involved in it. Before we start, I know you’re dying to know more about the guy from whom you’ll be hearing, so let me introduce myself. 


Hi, I’m Branden Stanley. We might not have met, but you’ll get to know me pretty well on here. I’m a cinematographer, originally from Indianapolis, who now resides with his wife and a little one on the way just outside the grand city of Chicago, IL. I grew up in a small town on the outskirts of Indianapolis in a Catholic home schooling family, where I was given the opportunity to practice photography and videography on a relatively frequent basis. It wasn’t long before my parents relinquished their roles as documenters of our lives and turn it over to me. 


Part of the Spirit Juice crew. We're missing a few in this picture.

Part of the Spirit Juice crew. We're missing a few in this picture.

In high school, I started a small production company called Starlight Media Productions (what a name, right?) and started producing short promotional videos for events around Indianapolis. After attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana (go Cardinals!), I ditched the Starlight Media name and started my professional career in earnest. 

Fast forward to today, and I work with a group of incredibly talented people at a Chicago production company called Spirit Juice Studios, where I help to craft the beautiful pieces you’ll see on the company homepage. We've won a couple Emmys for our short films, and we stay pretty busy, but all of that is just to say: "I think we're fairly good at what we do." We often have crazy office shenanigans, and our travels typically elicit some pretty phenomenal stories.

Aside from the benefits of working with such an incredible group of people, one benefit my position allows me is the ability to work with an incredible range of equipment. At this point, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find equipment we haven’t used. Arri, RED, Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fuji are just a few of the brands one would see when walking into our camera room, or as I call it, my lair. As I find myself responsible for the setup, teardown, and care of all these magnificent machines, I spend quite a bit of time in there.

A few of the arsenal are situated behind me in this shot. 2x C300 Mark II's, 1x Red Epic Dragon, 1x Arri Amira.

A few of the arsenal are situated behind me in this shot. 2x C300 Mark II's, 1x Red Epic Dragon, 1x Arri Amira.

When it comes to camera gear as a whole, a few of us are pretty hardcore. Others, not so much. The great thing about this diversity, however, is that we balance ourselves out well. A whole company of gear nuts wouldn’t do us any good whatsoever. While we might use the latest and greatest for many pieces, however, we still branch out into the unique and vintage at times. Every lens from vintage Nikkors to French Angenieux lenses make their way in front of our RED and Arri sensors, and we're constantly experimenting with new lenses. They may not be as cutting edge as our Zeiss Ultra-Primes, but they bring something that modern lenses can't: character.

When I'm not working (and sometimes even when I am), I shoot on a small personal arsenal ranging from modern Canon DSLRs, to 1950's Bronicas. While I consider myself a rational equipment purchaser, I have a soft spot for vintage cameras, and especially for vintage glass (much to the chagrin of my wife). What I plan to talk about on this site is a bit of a combination of both the old and the new. My true love lies with the world of film photography, but that doesn't mean I can't see the benefit and use of modern digital equipment. Different tools for different projects!

If either of those topics interest you, feel free to subscribe! Let's embark on this journey together. I may not know where it’s going, but I hope I find out along the way.

Branden Stanley