Choosing Zeiss CP.3 Lenses for Amal

Updated: Aug 10, 2018

In late November into the first week of December 2017 I was shooting a short

film titled Amal. After extensive tech scouts and many hours spent collaborating the

visuals with the director it was time to frame up. The lens package consisting of three

CP.3 primes (35mm, 50mm, 85mm) and a CZ.2 zoom (28mm-80mm) to mount on the

Arri Amira gave the entire camera department good vibes during a six-day production.

Camera Operator, Jose Sainz-Garcia (left) Cinematographer, Michael Murphy (center) Director, Dilek Ince (Right) discuss framing using Zeiss 50mm lens.

I was loving what I was seeing through the eyepiece, and most importantly so was the director. The Zeiss CP.3’s provided an astonishing high quality image that was valuable to our aesthetic approach intended for the film. We found the lenses to be highly efficient as well in both production and preproduction. The camera crew raved about the smoothness of the focus ring and the simplistic operation of swapping lenses. With further testimony, the Script Supervisor made a remark how grateful he was that the Zeiss CP.3s had a lens metadata display function.

We mostly used the 50mm and 85mm because they helped create an intimacy

between the main characters the story called for and to cinematically distinguish two

different looks of a war-torn Syria and the United States.

C.U. of the actress in the Syrian Hospital setting. Captured with CP.3 85mm @ f/4.

Tight shot in the United States Airport setting using Zeiss CP.3 85mm prime lens @ f/4.

For me creating images with great texture and skin tones of the cast is important.

I was shooting in low-lighting, manipulating practical light sources, and had to make an explosion look believable. I needed a fast lens and the CP.3’s delivered every time.

A great thing about having these primes for our production was consistency. I

found working with them to be fitting to the cinematic style we went with as they catered to the location we were in each day. We shot the film entirely hand held and constantly found ourselves in narrow, odd-shaped interiors. Having the capability to be consistent creating our look and operating in small spaces was crucial during principal photography.

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