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Let Us Prey: A Ministry of Scandals comes alive with Zeiss CP.3 lenses

Renowned cinematographer Yamit Shimonovitz used Zeiss CP.3 Compact Prime lenses while putting together the four-part crime series “Let Us Prey: A Ministry of Scandals”, a hard-hitting documentary work that shines a light on predatory behaviour within the Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches, and the women who survived it 

Let Us Prey,” from Emmy Award-winning director Sharon Liese, exposes corrupt and abusive practices that specifically victimised young children and women in the IFB Church. Shimonovitz relied on the optic’s specific characteristics to perform in-camera effects to help bring the emotional truth of these stories to life.

Six-hour interviews were shot, along with re-creation footage, developing three main styles to delineate different thematic categories. “We had three buckets,” said Shimonovitz. “First was the kind of B-roll that can fit as missing pieces with the found footage. We would make it feel like SD, grainier and less nicely lit.

“The second were the non-traumatic memories; and finally, there were the traumatic memories.”

From the outset, the cinematographer had a practical effect in mind that involved freehanding a filter in front of her camera lens to get a dreamy, optical result. “It’s all in camera effects,” Shimonovitz explained. This was a crucial consideration for her when choosing what optics to pair with her ARRI Mini LF.

After testing multiple lenses, Shimonovitz decided on Zeiss CP.3 Compact Primes. “Every lens has its own little bit of distortion, and I really liked the way the Zeiss CP.3 lenses’ distortion work, especially in the wide-angle millimeters.

“It gave more of a feeling of openness. It also flares very easily, and I love to include flares whenever I can. They are also compact, which is nice when you’re doing hours and hours of handheld.” 

But what sealed the deal, as she highlighted, was, “I found that because they don’t have a close focus, I could create that in camera distortion, by hand holding certain filters in front of the lens.”“Let Us Prey: A Ministry of Scandals” is available on Discovery+ and MAX.

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