ENG in it’s “Prime”

For the most part, we are booking “Prime Lens Cameras*” for ENG shoots…but these often front-heavy, small cameras weren’t necessarily designed for these on-the-run applications. The C300, C500 4K Cinema CameraSony NEX-FS700R, Sony PMW-F3 XDCAM, Sony PMW-F5 and Sony PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K Digital Cinema Camera are all the most requested cameras with us right now. Productions want a shallow-depth of field for their interviews, they want crisp, vivid b-roll. BUT, they are still shooting the same content and have the same demands that they had long before these cameras came into the forefront.

Accessories such as shoulder mounts, sliders and a myriad of lenses and follow focus options are stepping in and making these highly requested cameras work for our Camera operators / DP’s in the field – and keep the client happy. However, let’s face it, even with the market-ready options, sometimes you just need to get creative to make it work for the shoot!


Mark Whaley, DP, created this above, as he jokingly calls – a “FrankenCamera” shoulder rig for his Sony F3 for a recent shoot.  

Aspen shoot - ES

Above – A Canon C300 rigged to support a front-heavy camera + lens for use on a recent multi-camera interview shoot.

Here is another example: Recently, we crewed a live music festival for Yahoo / Live Nation. The shoot required 4 Sony F3 cameras. One of the cameras was used for ENG only using PL mounted Canon 17×40 and 20×70 lenses – the camera op found himself among the fans, shooting concert and MOS interviews. They were shooting various depths, angles and distances at any given time. The cameras gave the producers everything they needed for beautiful concert footage, live interviews and some fun b-roll…even cameraman Ruben Rodriguez below, enjoyed a few days on location with the Sony F3 on location and handheld.


As a crewing service, most of our requests are for interviews and b-roll in more reality type settings.  Crews need to be ready for multiple lens changes depending on the interview space they are working within and the b-roll they are shooting.  A good example can be found here: https://screen.yahoo.com/ram-country/road-trip-minneapolis-mn-145448089.html  Shot entirely with Canon C300’s, the crew included a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Zoom, 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Zoom, 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Zoom, 35, 50 and 85mm Primes in their arsenal for the day-long shoot with log-rollers on a lake in Minnesota. They were ready for anything the producer could place before them, that is how adaptable we have become with the new formats, and the same ENG shoots.

Bottom line–these cameras are the most popular formats we book. They have been adapted into a world they made a surprise entry into, thanks to the popularity of the DSLR forefathers (Canon 5D and Canon 7D).  The footage is as close to real-life as can be before entering into 4K…but that is another topic.

*Note from the author. These cameras accept far more than prime lenses…clearly. Just a good way to refer to the new family of cameras. (Thanks to DSLR’s w/primes, paving the way.)


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