Burbank, California, might not have the immediate name recognition that Hollywood enjoys, but look around and you’ll see plenty of well-known content entertainment companies with offices in the area. It’s a good place for a company who has leveraged a background in ultra-high megapixel digital photography to transition into the challenging world of cinematography.
For instance, if Japanese-based lens-maker Sigma were to open a Burbank office smack dab in the midst of the filmmaking community, well, that would be a good thing — and it just so happens that they have. Last week, the brand new Sigma Cine Burbank office hosted an open house to introduce themselves.
An inside look at Sigma Cine Burbank
Upon arrival at the new office, we expect to see Sigma Cine lenses inside, but first, we have to navigate a parking lot that’s located next to what appears to be — at least from the outside — a sort of Disney recreation of a medieval castle. It’s all modern 21st Century on the inside, though.
Being that Sigma plans for the following week to be their “soft open,” we’re anticipating a tour amidst areas where some work is still needed for making the office’s truly ready — it’s not a consumer space selling products but designed to provide space for Sigma’s line of products to be viewed through product demos, along with the ability to have seminars and provide support where needed. As we’re taken past the reception area, the group heads into the back where diagnostic and support equipment is being readied for use. It’s a bit antiseptic when compared to the initial vista upon entering the store, but that’s to be expected. This is where the serious support will be going into effect.
Back to the main reception area — there’s plenty of room for people to mill about and experience the Sigma line. This includes room for creating sets for lenses to capture — right now a Japanese room is in the process of being completed. To its back is a long counter serving not beverages, but a bevy of lenses that can be removed from their wall casing and brought up front for intimate viewing.
A chat with Sigma’s President
But even an open house needs some explaining, so we prepared a few questions for Mark Amir-Hamzeh, President, Sigma Corporation of America.
Videomaker: What is the significance of Sigma opening an office here in Burbank?
Mark Amir-Hamzeh: In 2016, Sigma entered the cinematography market with its Cine product line that retained the optical design of its acclaimed Global Vision lenses, yet featured a brand new mechanical structure to cater to the needs of modern cinematographers. Opening a physical location in Burbank, the hub of television and filmmaking, demonstrates Sigma’s continued commitment to and investment in this market. The new LA area facility offers Sigma dealer support, customer service for Sigma gear owners and community education for the West Coast photo and film creatives.
Open to the public and boasting Sigma’s full line of cameras, lenses and accessories for hands-on product experience, Sigma Burbank strives to become an accessible resource for the community to not only obtain information about the gear they need to realize their projects, but a destination where they can exchange ideas, experiences and techniques, and share alongside Sigma their passion for creative arts whether it’s filmmaking or photography.
Videomaker: In opening this office, what has Sigma put in place for working with its clients and customers?
Amir-Hamzeh: The breadth and depth of the Sigma offering serves all levels of the creative filmmaking and photography market from novice to expert. Our signature Global Vision lenses, including Art, Sports and Contemporary series, designed for the utmost creative expression and widely used by photographers across all genres, have been adopted by student and emerging filmmakers, YouTubers and run-and-gun videographers as the lens of choice, while the new Cine line has been embraced by commercial and feature film DPs alike. Certain groups like indie filmmakers have embraced both photography and cine lenses for their projects as the learning curve is minimal and the image quality both produce is outstanding. Sigma Burbank offers LA area creatives hands-on access to product that reflects this reality with on-site support to discuss their in-depth needs, as well as a screening room to showcase some of the best work shot with Sigma glass.
Videomaker: What are the opportunities that Sigma plans to put into effect and what are the benefits?
Amir-Hamzeh: As we did with the grand opening, we will have filmmakers and technical experts deliver focused seminars on the craft of filmmaking such as working with lighting, camera tips and techniques, and of course lens technology. As a community-focused destination, we will be putting quite a bit of effort into connecting with artists of all skill levels and creating a space where they can share their experiences and grow in their craft utilizing all the resources Sigma Burbank has to offer.