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What Prime to use


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#1 Michael Paulucci

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 02:41 PM

Hello,

I am just starting out as a student, and I was wondering how one goes about selecting which lenses to use for particular shots? Is there a rule of thumb? Besides the obvious (deep focus, shallow depth of field) how does one go about choosing whether to use a 28mm or a 50mm? Are there some questions you should ask yourself on set to make these decisions?
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#2 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 02:56 PM

Hello,

I am just starting out as a student, and I was wondering how one goes about selecting which lenses to use for particular shots? Is there a rule of thumb? Besides the obvious (deep focus, shallow depth of field) how does one go about choosing whether to use a 28mm or a 50mm? Are there some questions you should ask yourself on set to make these decisions?

I would suggest that you take a camera stills or other and look at the difference between the two.
You will notice for example that the same frame can be obtained with any focal length lens by moving closer or farther from the subject. What changes is the perspective. There is flattening of perspective with longer focal lengths and "distortion" with shorter focal lengths.
The choice of focal lengths is determined by how you want the subject to look.
Often we are forced to use certain focal lengths because to achieve a certain composition in a tight space it is necessary to use a wider focal length than we would like.
A lot of it is a mix of personal taste, common sense and the limitations of the set.
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#3 Tom Jensen

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 03:35 PM

On a set you don't normally shoot too wide because you see off the set. You don't shoot too tight because you can't get back that far. Generally you will be between a 35 and a 135mm. Over the shoulders and close ups are in this range. Typically you are getting coverage. You shoot a master on a wider lens then bumped in for tighter shots. Outdoors, you can shoot much wider because you aren't limited by sets. However you can see trucks and equipment. You can shoot much longer lenses in the 300mm to 1000mm range because you can get much further away. It all depends on the shot you want. None of what I said is written in stone. Big budget movies can have bigger stages and sets.
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#4 Ben Brahem Ziryab

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 03:47 PM

Besides the obvious (deep focus, shallow depth of field) how does one go about choosing whether to use a 28mm or a 50mm? Are there some questions you should ask yourself on set to make these decisions?


Yes, the difference is in the focal length of the lens. That might also be differences in color, contrast and sharpness, depending on quality of the lens (different lenses even by the same manufacture can have different qualities).

What are the f-number for these lenses? Because they may not have the same max. aperture, which will affect the depth of field and therefore also control the amount of light you let though the lens.

As mentioned before, it's a good idea to put the lens on a still camera and decide what focal length to use for the particular shot.

Unless you'r using PL Cine Lenses and you don't have the ability to use them with still cameras, you have to use a director's viewfinder for this task...

Edited by Ziryab Ben Brahem, 28 September 2009 - 03:47 PM.

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