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#1 agcowie

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 03:12 PM

Hi guys i am a new director and about to go in to my first film production with a qualified DOP. I was woundering if you guys new a good website to swat up on different lenses and there effect on screen. just basically a crash course so i dont sound like a arse about lenses in fron of him.
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#2 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 09:03 PM

Hi guys i am a new director and about to go in to my first film production with a qualified DOP. I was woundering if you guys new a good website to swat up on different lenses and there effect on screen. just basically a crash course so i dont sound like a arse about lenses in fron of him.


Just tell the DoP what you want to see, and let them recomend the lenses. :P That is one of the skills that a DoP is suposed to posess, as well as an eye for lighting.

Quick view:

Wide angles - Under 18mm in 16mm film - make things look father apart distance, and let you get more "stuff" into the shot at any given distance . Can make actors look like they have big noses.

Telephoto , brings things up close, things tend to look closer together distance wise. lets you stay away from explosions, but maginfies camera sake if hand held or on a cheep tripod.

Normal lens, for everthing else. 25mm is typical in 16mm shoting.

Zoom Lens, can sub for any of them, but sometimes does not give as great a picture.

watch and listen and you will probaly pick up a feel for it.
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#3 David Sweetman

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 10:04 PM

geez, how is it you become a director without knowing this stuff?

prime lens: the glass is fixed within the lens, you cannot zoom in and out.

zoom lens: the elements move so that you can see things closer or father away

Lenses are measured in millimeters:
Wide Angle (zoomed out): 25mm -
Normal (in the middle): 50mm
Telephoto (zoomed in): 80mm +

every lens has an aperature, a HOLE, which opens and closes to limit the ammount of light that passes through. the apperature is called an "f/stop." The smaller the f/stop number, the farther open the aperature is. You've got f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, and anywhere in between. (in between an f/8 and an f/11 could be called an "eight-eleven split.") Theoretically, those numbers go on into infinity.

Here's how I remember the relationship: say you are at an f/2. That's like a fraction, with the variable f in the numerator. f/2 is a bigger number than f/16, because, say, (16)/2 = 8, but (16)/16 = 1. So f/2 is a big number, so it is a bigger hole, so it lets more light in. If there is not much light where you are shooting, you will be fairly "stopped open" (f/2 end of the spectrum), if there is a lot of light, like the sun, you'll be fairly "stopped down" (f/16 end of the spectrum.)

Hope this helps, and good luck. Just relax and have fun with it!
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#4 agcowie

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 05:04 AM

Thanks guys But it is more a case of telling him the correct lense for the correct time if you know what i mean. I have worked on alot of HD and DV productions sorry was not to clear this i s my first 16mm film production. just wanted to get a kind of overveiw of the whole thing. Thanks again Andrew
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#5 David Sweetman

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 06:27 PM

well as far as the correct lens for the correct time, you'll tell him either wide, normal, or telephoto; though generally, the dp will probably decide, and it would probably be wise to allow him to do so.

Normal lenses, obviously, will represent spatial relations closely to how we percieve things with our eyes. (which, as stated earlier, is 25mm in 16mm, 50mm is for 35mm.) Lenses with film work much the same as lenses with video, so if you use a telephoto lens, it will have the same effect as if you had zoomed in with a video zoom lens. It will flatten out the image, which is a cool effect when there is foreground and background motion. wide angle will have the oposite effect.

I personally think all this is invaluable for a director. A director familiar with this jargon will be able to request a certain lens or f/stop, which is the reason I know it, plus right now i just DP my own stuff. of course the key is collaboration, and I think that for optimal collaboration each must have an understanding of the other's job. When I finally get to the point where I pass of my DP duties, I'm glad I'll know exactly what's going on, because I consider the visuals themselves just as important as the story.

I hope we've helped you out...I dunno maybe I misunderstand the question
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#6 agcowie

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 07:49 PM

Thanks alot guys much help
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#7 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 08:13 PM

Hi guys i am a new director and about to go in to my first film production with a qualified DOP. I was woundering if you guys new a good website to swat up on different lenses and there effect on screen. just basically a crash course so i dont sound like a arse about lenses in fron of him.



I think that what you're probably referring to is learning which lens will give you a particular field or angle of [horizontal] view so that you can block the action within the frame. Even if you know lenses well, there are times when you need to check to be sure; you don't want to just guess. So in these situations, the DP can put a particular prime lense onto a director's viewfinder [what you see me holding in the picture below, standing next to my DP Johnny Ching ] so you can look through it and see if it gives you the frame you want.


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#8 agcowie

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 08:25 PM

Got the view finder in my gear so need to get out and about to all the locations with that and jot everything down so when push comes to shove i got the lenses down. Thanks alot mate.
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#9 Hans Engstrom

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 11:37 PM

Hi guys i am a new director and about to go in to my first film production with a qualified DOP. I was woundering if you guys new a good website to swat up on different lenses and there effect on screen. just basically a crash course so i dont sound like a arse about lenses in fron of him.


Don´t worry. Making movies is all about cooperation. Just tell the DOP what you want to convey with a scene and he will then make suggestions and set up the camera with a lens that he belives is appropriate. Then you can have a look in the camera/monitor and continue the discussion from there. On most of the films I have worked on the director (thru the FAD) usually just say for example "now we´re moving on to the close up on Maria", then it´s up to DOP to choose if he wants to go telephoto from a distance or wide from close range. I think many DOP´s like to atleast make a suggestion before the director says "I want to have the 85mm lens 9,7m away with a 4/5.6 split. There are offcourse directors that knows exactly what they want and study every part of filmmaking to get it, then there are thoose who knows exactly what they want but instead of studying communicates with the team and rely on the expertise they bring in their specific area. I recommend that you sit down with the DOP and if not storyboarding the script atleast make a detailed shotlist, then things will move a whole lot faster on the shoot. Even if you decide to improvise and change things when it´s time to roll camera you will have something to fall back to if your new ideas dont work.
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#10 william koon

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 05:30 AM

Don´t worry. Making movies is all about cooperation. Just tell the DOP what you want to convey with a scene and he will then make suggestions and set up the camera with a lens that he belives is appropriate. Then you can have a look in the camera/monitor and continue the discussion from there. On most of the films I have worked on the director (thru the FAD) usually just say for example "now we´re moving on to the close up on Maria", then it´s up to DOP to choose if he wants to go telephoto from a distance or wide from close range. I think many DOP´s like to atleast make a suggestion before the director says "I want to have the 85mm lens 9,7m away with a 4/5.6 split. There are offcourse directors that knows exactly what they want and study every part of filmmaking to get it, then there are thoose who knows exactly what they want but instead of studying communicates with the team and rely on the expertise they bring in their specific area. I recommend that you sit down with the DOP and if not storyboarding the script atleast make a detailed shotlist, then things will move a whole lot faster on the shoot. Even if you decide to improvise and change things when it´s time to roll camera you will have something to fall back to if your new ideas dont work.


Hi,
Hans said it right. It is all about cooperation but I personally feel that a director should know the principles and choice of lenses, sound recording and even technique of lightings. He may not have to learn them formally but he should gain the knowleges from the DOP during off-shooting time. Otherwise it would cost the production time quite a some. With this knowledge, a director can exploit the equipments to give a better impact on the visual to effectively pass his message in the film. David Sweetman sounds it rightly in the beginning of his reply. I fully support him. In fact, I have been trying to pass this thought to many potential directors as I find many living directors still ignorant about these.
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#11 santo

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 03:29 PM

First, I'd be dubious of the info you're getting on this board. :blink:

50mm is a normal for 35mm still film, not motion picture film. That's because 35mm still film is 24mm x 36mm while normal 35mm motion picture film is smaller. This is because 35mm still film came about when motion picture film was used sideways to come up with the 35mm still camera.

The correct 35mm motion picture normal is 35mm, not 50mm.

The correct 16mm motion picture normal is 17.5mm. More typical is 16mm thanks to Zeiss/Arriflex popularizing it for hand-held Arriflex work. 25mm became popular in the US because of the Filmo and because, believe it or not, it can be described simply as a "1 inch lens".

Using a 50mm as your normal for 35 or a 25mm for your normal 16 results in slightly flat and industrial looking images lacking in the 3-D effect you can get. This is especially true when watching American 16mm efforts from the 60's and 70's and comparing them with European 16 efforts. The American films appear less visually richer and more industrial.

The person talking about noses looking more flattering with a 25mm in normal 16 is right. They do. That's because 25mm is more rightly categorized as a "long" for 16mm work and best used for close-ups. Although 35mm is even better for a 16 long.

If I were you, I would simply think of it this way. Shooting 16mm for example.

You want a master shot of the scene, tell the cameraman you want to use a 10mm. A 16 wide.

You want a shot of the actors knee or waist up? Tell the cameraman you want to shoot it with a 16mm. A 16 normal lens.

You want a close up shot? Tell the cameraman you want it shot with a 35mm lens. A 16 long.

And beyond that, hopefully you'll work together as has been suggested already, on bringing more to the process than that.
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#12 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:37 PM

It's not so simple as a 16mm lens for this and that. An exterior master shot can happen with a 300mm lens if compressed perspective is desired and space permits.
Closeups can happen with extreme wide angle lenses as well.
I suggest looking at films and photos with your DP and talking about what you want to accomplish.
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#13 santo

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:56 PM

No, it's not so simple. Obviously.

There is a reason an accomplished filmmaker like Hitchcock or Kubrick could look at a set-up and call out a good lens for it without looking through the camera. And there is nothing magical or mysterious about it. It's about understanding the basics of photography and the "Hollywood standard" and applying logical deduction. Then you temper that with artistic concerns specific to the shot at hand.

I'm only pointing out the actual manufacturer's and time-established industry standards. You go ahead and shoot your 16 interior master shots with a 300mm lens if you want. There is nothing stopping you, Danny. Except that all you'll get is a close-up of somebody's eye.
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:57 PM

You go ahead and shoot your 16 interior master shots with a 300mm lens if you want. There is nothing stopping you, Danny.


A tiny room may stop him...

The truth is that in small interior spaces with solid walls, lens choice for masters is mainly a practical matter. In larger spaces, or stages with moveable walls, or outdoors, you have more freedom to pick a focal length for its perspective / compression characteristics. For example, in the Great Plains of Montana on "Northfork" I used a 75mm anamorphic lens for wide shots when I wanted the Rocky Mountains in the background to loom larger, but I used a 40mm anamorphic when I wanted the plains to stretch out wider or to see more sky overhead.
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#15 santo

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:59 PM

A tiny room may stop him...


I hope so.
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#16 bolshevik

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 03:31 AM

if youre a filmmaker you should own the cinematographer's field guide.


Hi guys i am a new director and about to go in to my first film production with a qualified DOP. I was woundering if you guys new a good website to swat up on different lenses and there effect on screen. just basically a crash course so i dont sound like a arse about lenses in fron of him.


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#17 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 06:23 AM

Santo,
I did say an EXTERIOR master shot. If you are a director you should know how to read.
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