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What lens is commonly used...


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#1 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 07:41 AM

...to get the over the typical over the shoulder shot? Is it always a zoom to create the depth of field or am I wrong to think that a zoom only constitutes a lens that goes from 100 to 1000? I assume so, but, I've seen this type of shot in rooms where it seems a zoom cannot be used due to space limitations. I'm a total newb when it comes to lens talk. All I really know is wide angle=everything in focus/exaggerates depth and zoom=different focal plains/flattening depth.

Here is an example of a shot I'm talking about where the background and foreground are out of focus and the middleground is in focus.

Posted Image

Edit: Ahh crap, I posted it in the wrong forum. If a mod can move it, that would be great! :angry:

Edited by Jamie Lewis, 15 April 2008 - 07:45 AM.

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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 09:27 AM

...to get the over the typical over the shoulder shot? .......
Edit: Ahh crap, I posted it in the wrong forum. If a mod can move it, that would be great! :angry:

I don't think so - you've posted with a direct question about Cinematography, not a "techie" question about lenses.

The only determinants of depth of field are: focal length, aperture, and format. It doesn't matter whether a lens is zoom or prime. There's a great calculator on Panavision New Zealand's website that enables you to experiment with those variables. I suggest you draw some scaled plots of a given setup and then plug different numbers into the PV DOF calculator to get some feel for the results.

http://www.panavisio...calcFOVform.asp

Also, do you have a video camera you can play with? Unless you have pro camera with 2/3" sensors the calculator won't work but it's always very instructional to set up a scene with some lighting, etc. and experiment.
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#3 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 09:39 AM

Thanks for the link Hal. That calculator will come in VERY handy. My vid camera is an HV20, far from a 2/3. But I'm leaning towards getting/building a DOF adapter. It's tough (impossible) getting a shallow depth of field in a room with my camera. Yeah, not everything has to have DOF/FOV but it's a nice option to have and it gets tiring having everything and their mother under the sun in focus!
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 10:57 AM

Hello Jamie,

The shot you posted has some of it's lens clues included within the shot. It is an exterior (allowing the camera to stand farther back). The subject's face is significantly flattened out (indicating a longer lens, 100mm+) with an open iris (it is night). Her eyes point to a possible blocking cheat (the guy is standing farther away from her than normal to push him more out of focus).

You mentioned tight spaces. Remember that big budget features can afford sets with break-away walls. This has always been a necessity when lens choice and framing have been a directing priority.

If I recall correctly, Kurosawa was notorious for using longish lenses on interiors. I read a story about how they often jammed the camera against the wall of the studio to get wide shots on long lenses. It's hard to detect them in his movies.
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#5 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:11 AM

They're actually inside of a diner.

Posted Image

I've done the blocking cheat, and works to some extent. I think with the addition of a 35mm adapter, and some block cheating, I can get pretty close to that look.
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#6 Paul Bruening

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:14 AM

I never saw this movie. It looks like there's enough throw in that space to back the camera off. They could also have used a staging cheat for the close-ups (move the subjects to different tables to allow for more camera distance). The distance between them accounts for the eyes.

All of this is just a guess, of course.
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#7 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:17 AM

About the eyes, how so? To me it looks as if she's looking straight ahead at Damon :blink:
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#8 Paul Bruening

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:22 AM

I could be wrong. It takes a while to get an idea of how eye angles look and what they say. On top of that, some directors have rules about where to look. Some require " camera-side ear" as the focus point. Some don't care and the actor can look cross-eyed on close-ups.
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#9 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 02:06 PM

If I recall correctly, Kurosawa was notorious for using longish lenses on interiors. I read a story about how they often jammed the camera against the wall of the studio to get wide shots on long lenses. It's hard to detect them in his movies.


But with deep focus, or pan-focus as it's called in his interviews.
"Pan" meaning "all", as in panchromatic.

On the moniter I'm using the first posted photo is damnear solid black with a barely visible shadowy red face.
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 02:21 PM

On the moniter I'm using the first posted photo is damnear solid black with a barely visible shadowy red face.


Then your monitor isn't set up properly, or has seen better days. It looks fine on my imac LCD, with the gamma I'm using.

Are you using a CRT, or an LCD? Try this:

http://2live4.com/monitor-setup.asp

http://www.beautiful...setup_black.htm
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 03:57 PM

You can use any lens for an over-the-shoulder shot -- just that wide-angle ones make the foreground head look big and the background head look farther away. On my current shoot, the director favors wide-angle lenses but I'm finding that you generally can't get much tighter than a typical head-and-shoulders close-up on a 50mm if you want to have a foreground head & shoulder -- the camera is almost bumping up against the foreground head when it is only, let's say, 2 1/2 to 3 feet from the subject facing the lens. A looser over-the-shoulder can be done fine on a 50mm and that's a common choice for people who prefer to use the middle focal lengths, and then a 75mm for the close-up.

But in this example, it looks like a 100mm probably for the over-the-shoulder. I generally call those "tight overs" when you use a longer lens for a close-up but still have the foreground person's shoulders in the shot.

One thing you'll find is that it is hard to shoot "clean singles" on long lenses in a scene where two people are facing each other and are naturally standing about two or three feet apart. It ends up being a "dirty" single.

If you shoot the clean close-up on a 75mm, for example, the person that the actor is talking to can stand right next to the lens, off-camera, and only be three or four feet away from the actor on camera. But when you start trying to get a close-up on a 100mm or 150mm and the camera is more like five or six feet away, then the other off-camera actor also has to be backed up several feet away to stay out of the shot, and that can get weird for the actors in an intimate scene. So if you want to use the long lenses, then you accept that you probably will end up with the foreground person in the shot as well in a "dirty" single.
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#12 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 05:28 PM

As a complete side note, many directors - like Adrian Lyne for instance - claim that the closer the eyeline is to the lens in an over the shoulder, the more connection or gravitas it has (since it's closer to the viewer's). This stands as unproven, obviously, but it sounds like there could be some truth to it.
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#13 Michael Nash

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 06:53 PM

As a complete side note, many directors - like Adrian Lyne for instance - claim that the closer the eyeline is to the lens in an over the shoulder, the more connection or gravitas it has (since it's closer to the viewer's). This stands as unproven, obviously, but it sounds like there could be some truth to it.


I believe it. Especially when you consider that the more oblique the angle, the more objective and removed the P.O.V. seems from the action.

Following that same logic, I like to move the camera closer to the eyeline as I go closer on the coverage, and never the other way around. Not a hard and fast rule, and there could be many exceptions, but it works well. On a technical level, sometimes that means with two camera coverage the CU camera is on a LONG lens to squeak in between the wider camera's matte box and the back of the other actor's head.
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 07:02 PM

That's the big problem with trying to do overs and close-ups at the same time with two cameras -- if you put the tighter camera "on the inside" then you get tighter to the eyeline but the foreground head also takes up more of the frame (which is what is happening in the example above). Sometimes I've put the looser camera lower to get more of a low-angle raking shot and the close-up camera directly above the other camera.

It all gets harder when you are using shorter focal lengths because of the greater divergence in angle of view compared to multiple cameras on longer lenses.
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#15 Michael Nash

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 07:25 PM

...if you put the tighter camera "on the inside" then you get tighter to the eyeline but the foreground head also takes up more of the frame (which is what is happening in the example above).


Yeah, and aspect ratio is a factor as well. In 2.35:1 like above it's harder to do; in 4:3 TV it's a little easier.
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#16 Max Jacoby

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 02:35 AM

As a complete side note, many directors - like Adrian Lyne for instance - claim that the closer the eyeline is to the lens in an over the shoulder, the more connection or gravitas it has (since it's closer to the viewer's). This stands as unproven, obviously, but it sounds like there could be some truth to it.

The human face is most readable when we see it at a 3/4 profile. Straight on it gets very flat.
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