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Cooke SP3 lenses capture the P!NK Summer Carnival Tour

P!NK Carnival Tour shot on Cooke SP3
By: The Cooke Team  |   1 Lesezeit

David Spearing is a British director, editor and cinematographer with over ten years‘ experience in the film, TV, publishing and music industries. David started his career touring the world with legendary UK group; McFly. He quickly gained recognition and went from shooting behind the scenes to helming multi-cam concert films and directing music videos for multiple artists.

Spearing regularly collaborates with director Michael Gracey (The Greatest Showman) and in 2019 the director bought him onboard to DP the narrative moments of P!NK’s documentary ‘All I Know So Far’ for Amazon Prime. Spearing remembers the shoot as being “a great, small set up, comprised of just myself and Michael traveling around with Pink and her family for a few months, capturing all the intimate moments that would eventually be cut in and amongst the concert shot at Wembley Stadium.”

When it came time for Pink’s Summer Carnival Tour in 2023 Spearing was asked to come back on the road to capture behind the scenes footage across Europe and the US. He approached the tour along similar lines to most of the documentary work he does – prioritising truthfulness and being as observational as possible.

P!NK Carnival Tour shot on Cooke SP3
P!NK Carnival Tour shot on Cooke SP3

“I like to try and find the heart of the story and in this case, it was by representing and showing what I experienced in my time on the road with Pink, her family and her crew. Pink’s got such a great team of people around her, a group of dancers and band members some of whom have been with her right from the start. So I just tried to represent this hugely talented and dedicated group of people doing what they love for a living, and projecting that out to every stadium they played at.”

To capture this tour in a cinematic way, whilst remaining small and nimble on the road and being able to shoot for long periods of time, Spearing turned to the Sony FX6 paired with Cooke SP3 lenses – finding it to be “a lightweight combo, that doesn’t sacrifice at all on quality.” Being this striped back allowed for him to be quite inconspicuous and he could easily shadow Pink and her family without being intrusive.

Spearing had been on the lookout for a set of small prime lenses for quite some time and found the SP3s suited his needs perfectly. With a little sling back bag for the lenses and same spare batteries he was able to easily run around the variety of locations and stadiums, carrying out quick lens changes on the fly as a one-man band which he did so for roughly five months.

Lighting conditions varied massively, and he’d regularly have to transition from extremely dark backstage areas to fully lit show moments. The variable ND of the FX6 and smooth iris of the SP3 proved to be a winning combination in these scenarios.

P!NK Carnival Tour shot on Cooke SP3
P!NK Carnival Tour shot on Cooke SP3

“The SP3 lenses instantly made the FX6 shine for me. As a camera I had used a lot, with a lot of different glass, I had never seen a better image until I used these lenses. There’s just something about the way they render things. The SP3 gave me that beautiful character I always like in a vintage lens, but with fully resolved and crisp imagery. They’re super sharp where they need to be, then the rest just falls off nicely. And also… one of my favourite things about any lens, they have a great flare!”

Having the robust cine housing of the SP3 was also a great benefit in this environment, they “didn’t feel delicate compared to other vintage lenses” Spearing owns whilst also delivering all the character and resolution he wanted from the imagery. He also found they held up better in low-light than other lenses he’d worked with – and he employed the second base ISO of the FX6 (12,800) more than he had previously as the image didn’t fall apart as much as he was used to with different glass.

The 32mm became David’s go to lens, especially on fall frame. “For moments like soundcheck it was super valuable as I would want to cover wide establishing shots, but then also run in close if I saw some good conversations or discussions happening. This lens let me do all of that. A close second was the 25mm, there’s something about the character of the 25mm when you are close focusing. The bokeh and falloff is just stunning and almost swirly.” And for the times where he couldn’t get so close to the action the 100mm was just a short reach away.

Having previously used the Cooke S4 lenses on a fashion shoot for the Morelli Brothers, Spearing purchased the SP3 lens set via CVP in London just weeks before going out on the US leg of the tour and was incredibly impressed with the results.

“I just knew this was the perfect set of lenses for me, so I wanted to own them rather than rent as I could tell they’d easily become my go to lenses.”


David Spearing

P!NK - Summer Carnival Prayer - 2023