For the new sitcom Zoe Ever After, we decided to shoot in a style that harkens back to the sitcoms of the 1980s and ’90s, before a more cinematic approach became the norm. With three Fujinon Cabrio 4K PL mount lenses—the 25-300mm, 19-90mm and 14-35mm—on Sony F55 large-format cameras, we worked in a multicamera, “live cut” environment, with all three cameras covering the scene at once; however, with the Sony F55 and Cabrio lenses, the show looks more like a single-camera production.
The set of Zoe Ever After
This single operator/multiple camera method of shooting saved us considerable cost and production time. We didn’t have to worry about changing to different zooms for different looks. Camera assistants didn’t spend time paring down the camera to switch from primes to zooms. We were able to use that extra time to focus on other things like lighting, while still keeping a really fast pace on the set.
The 25-300mm has a detachable servo drive for remote control of zoom, focus and iris. With that, there’s no need for rod-mounted motors, so it’s very convenient. The other two Cabrios are used with SS-13 full servo rear lens controller kits.
Even though this was a multicamera, studio-style series with large-format, PL mount cameras, the lenses allowed us to shoot with a minimal crew. We were the first sitcom to use three different Cabrios in this way, and with single operators using the servo rear lens controller kits.
Bill Sheehy is cinematographer on the sitcom Zoe Ever After, set to air in early January on BET.