Shooting news programme
Sette Storie with the
CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS

CEO and art director Riccardo Mastropietro used the Canon Compact Cine Servo lens to film challenging walking interviews on bustling Italian streets.
A man holding a Canon EOS C300 Mark II camera with a Canon CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS lens.

Although the team at Italian production company Pesci Combattenti regularly use the Canon EOS C300 Mark II (now succeeded by the Canon EOS C300 Mark III), along with other Cinema EOS cameras such as the Canon EOS C200, Sette Storie was their first time working with CN-E lenses – and they were hugely impressed. "We realised they are perfectly matched with the EOS C300 Mark II, so now we're using them daily, mainly the Canon CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS," says CEO Riccardo Mastropietro.

When Italian production company Pesci Combattenti was tasked with launching a fresh current affairs programme for leading channel RAI1 last summer, CEO and art director Riccardo Mastropietro immediately started thinking about which lenses would work best with their trusted Canon Cinema EOS Cameras to bring the stories to life. Sette Storie (Seven Stories) would place a unique demand on its cameras and crew, as the teaser interviews would be conducted while journalist Monica Maggioni and her interviewees walked through city streets.

The weekly broadcast, inspired by the French programme Conversation Secrète, explores the pressing issues of the day. Studio interviews are preceded by the host and interviewee meeting for the first time on the street, shot with hidden cameras, to create a feeling of eavesdropping on a private conversation.

"There were a number of difficulties to overcome, such as how to shoot, in a single take of around an hour, a walking interview almost one kilometre long," says Riccardo. "It was necessary to have high quality, cinematic lenses with an extensive focal range, but at the same time something that was easy to pass on in a relay race among the camera operators."

Riccardo and his team specialise in factual docuseries and documentaries. They say that filming huge names around Italy – from former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on the streets of Rome to pop star Mika by Florence's iconic Ponte Vecchio – has been a true challenge but a "great adventure".

Turning to Canon's Compact Cine Servo range, the crew teamed their Canon EOS C300 Mark II cameras with CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS lenses and Canon Extender EF 2xs (now succeeded by the Canon Extender EF 2x III) to achieve a high-quality aesthetic with great versatility and speed of use in the field.

A CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS lens with an extender attached.

For Sette Storie, the Canon EOS C300 Mark II was paired with a Canon CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS and Canon Extender EF 2x to create a compact, portable package that still had the necessary zoom range to film from afar.

Hidden footage of celebrity guests in conversation

For each episode, Riccardo and his team were tasked with capturing an hour's worth of footage – as interviewee and journalist chatted while walking through bustling Italian streets – which would then be edited into a 20-minute introduction to the beginning of the studio-based programme.

"It was to be shot in a sort of spying or paparazzi mode," explains Riccardo. "The cameras were hidden from the interviewee during the walk. Although, of course, they knew we were filming, we had to stay very far back from them so as not to be discovered." At times this meant the camera operators were 100-200 metres away from their subjects, although when shooting in narrower streets, such as in central Rome, this came down to about 50 metres.

In order to shoot this format, Riccardo needed a flexible lens with the right depth of field, rapid zoom capabilities and reliable image stabilisation, which could pair with a light camera. "We tried built-in camera lenses, but the image quality wasn't high enough for me," says Riccardo. "Then I remembered a Canon CN-E lens that I had tried in Canada a couple of years ago and realised that those were the kinds of lenses I was looking for."

With a 2.85x optical zoom, 4K optimised image and 9-blade iris, the Canon CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS lens offered high-quality cinematic performance and beautiful smooth bokeh effects in a lightweight build. Its EF-mount meant that it could be paired with the Canon EOS C300 Mark II for image stabilisation and advanced autofocus, although on Sette Storie the team manually focused.

A technician wearing white gloves cleans the sensor of a Canon camera.

Do you own Canon kit?

Register your kit to access free expert advice, equipment servicing, inspirational events and exclusive special offers with Canon Professional Services.

Adding a Canon Extender EF 2x offered the expansive focal length needed to film at a distance, extending the 70-200mm range to 140-400mm, while still keeping the set-up compact enough to be nimble in the field. "That was a flexible lens, light enough so we could run fast on the streets easily, with stabilisation providing a spectacular result in terms of image quality," Riccardo says. "With this programme, there was zero possibility of redoing the interview shots. We achieved the match we needed with the Canon EOS C300 Mark II and the Canon CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS lens."

A man filming an aerial view shot from the balcony of a cream-coloured building on a sunny day.

"As we needed to improve the focal length of the Canon CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS, we added the Canon Extender EF 2x," says Riccardo. This meant that the team could cover even longer focal lengths when shooting at distances of up to 200 metres on Italian city streets from Rome to Florence.

A Canon CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS lens with grip.

Small form factor and a light weight were crucial when Riccardo was selecting kit to film Sette Storie. "Even if it's a light camera and a light lens, after half an hour, everything becomes really heavy," he explains.

A four camera relay race on the streets

The team had just an hour to film a natural conversation between Monica and her celebrity guests, while contending with all of the unpredictability of busy city streets. "It was a very challenging production because, as we were outside, there were a lot of things you couldn't control," says Riccardo. "Things change from how you'd planned them just 10 minutes earlier. There are people shouting, there are cars, there is a van blocking you. You must be quick to change your mind, change your idea, and find another spot to shoot from."

The crew had to cover extensive routes around 800m long, sometimes with one camera operator filming aerial perspectives from balconies. "We had to cover all of the angles with just four cameras, so we had to be able to run with all the video equipment," Riccardo explains. "We needed a minimum of one shot, but to be able to edit it, we really needed two angles, all while remaining hidden from our subjects.

"It was a relay race between cameras to cover every spot and have the perfect shot. Sometimes we had to use a moped to get the camera to the next spot. With broadcasting, you cannot make mistakes."

Canon Cinema EOS cameras set up on tripods in a studio.

Filmmaking basics for professional results

From frame rates and HDR to codecs and composition – here are six golden rules for capturing footage that captivates.

Typically, the team had one of their Canon EOS C300 Mark IIcameras on a tripod and the other three handheld, so they relied on image stabilisation to capture sharp footage. Alongside this, they also shot BTS-style shots zooming in and focusing on the pair in conversation. "To set the story, we used a lot of zoom shots and focus adjustment that would usually be cut in the edit, but which were the language of this format," says Riccardo. "We used a lot of this in order to make the audience feel that this filming was real. This was the aim of the format, for the audience to feel that they were really hidden, that they were really spying on these two people walking on the street."

A close up of a Canon CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS lens attached to a camera being operated handheld.

"The kind of footage Canon is able to give to me is still the best I can think of," says Riccardo. "It's like when you shoot a film – the image is less like a television picture, and something more cinematic. That is the quality I appreciate."

High quality sensor and beautiful 4K images

When filming high profile guests for Italy's leading broadcaster, reliable equipment that delivered outstanding picture quality was essential. Riccardo found the 4K-optimised image and colour technology in the Canon CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS lens matched beautifully with the Canon EOS C300 Mark II's Super 35mm CMOS sensor.

"One of the main features of the EOS C300 Mark II with CN-E lens was the high performance of the camera's sensor," he explains. "We shot some interviews with very low light or sometimes at night, filming in 4K in order to magnify digitally during the editing process, rather than using the Canon Extender EF 2x. No matter the lighting conditions, the camera is really sensitive, in both HD or 4K. We had great images with light equipment."

This sensitivity came into its own when filming one of the series' most important interviews. "We were called just 12 hours before, because it was with our former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte," says Riccardo. "Where he would be moving had to be really secret – nobody could know. The crew didn't know who they were filming until they got to the site of the shoot. And we shot that at night, for extra security, close to the Colosseum. We did a great job with little lighting because, I can tell you, the street from the Colosseum to Della Cina Roma is really dark."

After the high-octane shoots, there was always a wonderful reward for the team. "The best part of this project was the face of the VIP at the end of the shoot because they weren't able to see the cameras during the whole interview," says Riccardo. "They were really surprised at how far away and hidden we were. I'll never forget filming like this because it was really hard, but it was a format full of adrenaline. It has been a great adventure."

Lucy Fulford

Related Articles

  • KIT

    Netflix approved: Canon Cinema EOS cameras

    From the EOS R5 C to the EOS C500 Mark II, find out how the Cinema EOS range meets the image capture standards for Netflix Originals.


    Shooting Cyn with Canon Sumire Primes

    Cinematographer Tania Freimuth on how Canon's Sumire Prime lenses helped to bring John Lennon's first wife, Cynthia, out from under his shadow.


    Epic scenery, adrenaline… and "a crazy sport"

    Discover how director Regan Hall captured the extreme sport of BASE jumping with Canon Cinema EOS cameras.


    Cum producţia la distanţă i-a făcut pe realizatorii de filme să continue

    Doi realizatori de filme ne povestesc cum carantinele globale i-au obligat să inoveze pentru a-şi continua producţiile şi ce ar putea însemna acest lucru pentru viitor.

  • Get the newsletter

    Click here to get inspiring stories and exciting news from Canon Europe Pro