Website Logo

Search for lenses, articles and help

Blog Productions

The Wingman - Shot on Cooke SP3, S8/i and Varotal/i

Header image
By: The Cooke Team  |   1 min read

Esteemed cinematographer James Friend ASC BSC won the Academy Award for ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ in early 2023. In October of that year he lensed ‘The Wingman’, a short film for Sony designed to showcase the upcoming BURANO camera and the well-established VENICE 2. 

 The five-minute piece is a tour de force, a very ambitious “test film” of sorts helmed by Friend and shot over three days. The short is predominantly shot on Cooke lenses including the S8/i FF Primes, Varotal/i Full Frame zooms and recently released SP3 series. 

1 Wingman
2 Wingman

For Friend this project afforded him the chance to test a new camera to its limits. He deemed the unforgiving environment of an aerial setting to be the best way to achieve this. ‘The Wingman’ follows a pilot arriving at an airfield and taking his vintage aircraft for a spin. The setting tips its hat to one of the VENICE’s most high-profile productions, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ shot by Claudio Miranda ASC ACC, whom Friend considers to be “one of the finest cinematographers working today.” 

 Whilst multiple BURANOs served as the hero cameras, when it came to attaching cameras to the 1970s Yak-5 aeroplane every gram counted. Wanting to put the audience in the pilot’s position and striving for realism, Friend opted to employ the Rialto 2 VENICE Extension System for these moments and it was here that he turned to the E-Mount SP3 lenses to help reduce the weight further. 

9 Wingman
10 Wingman

“We needed to put the audience within the pilot seat of a light aircraft in places that had never been done before with cinema cameras. The Cooke SP3’s series combined with the Sony camera systems made the whole profile of the camera extremely manageable in confined situations. Without them, we would have not been able to get the shots or maneuver the aircraft in such a dynamic way.”

James Friend | Director of Photography

When it came to dealing with changing sunlight and cloud cover Friend found that the SP3s continued to shine. “With every type of unforgiving lighting condition in the air the Cookes rendered stunning pictures straight out the box, handling sun flares and extreme contrast beautifully.” 

6 Wingman_stills-6
7 Wingman
8 Wingman

Whilst mixing multiple cameras and lenses might have been reason for concern the BURANO and VENICE 2 share the same colour science and the Cooke lenses proved to be consistent throughout. “They cut seamlessly with the other large format Cooke series, even when projected on the big screen.” 


4 Wingman
5 Wingman WIDE
James Friend ASC, BSC

The Wingman