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Long Vs Wide Lens


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#1 Deji Joseph

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 02:41 PM

I understand everyone has their own directing style, and was wondering how this affected your lens choices. I am currently a film student and while i haven't shot alot of Drama, i like the look of a long lens and the perspective it gives. most of the time i go, long for subjective and wide for objective shots. i rarely use wides unless i want to show the whole scene. what are your opinions?
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 04:25 PM

I tend to go with Wide lenses, al'la Gilliam when I want to distort people or showcase a skewed vision. I don't like it when it distorts the image too much; just enough to be subtly noticeable. I've been known to do a close up on a 9.5mm (S16mm film) about 1 foot from the actor's face.... . At the same time, I tend to avoid longer lenses-- the longest I've thusly reached for often (on 35mm) has been an 85mm lens, or my 75mm. It's not that I don't like longer lenses, I just often find myself in interior locations which are pretty small, and I also don't like too much how long lenses compress the background. I like a little bit of a deeper background which I feel makes talent stand out more.
But, in the end, I'm not a director, so I'll also throw on whatever lens the Director tells me to ;) unless I have some strong misgiving, which I'll voice to him/her just to let them know, then do what they tell me.
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#3 Frank Glencairn

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 04:36 PM

I seldom shoot something under 50mm. Mostly 85 or longer.
The only time I use wide glass. is in super tight rooms and for panoramic/landscape/cityscape stuff.
In German Films they overuse wide lenses (maybe cause most German DPs love Roger Deakins).

I feel that longer lenses are better for drama
and wider are better for comedy, but that´s just my humble opinion.

Frank
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 06:27 PM

I feel that longer lenses are better for drama
and wider are better for comedy, but that´s just my humble opinion.


Yes, drama is mostly about conflict between two people. In comedy, what's funny is often a third or fourth person's reactions to what the first two are saying to each other. So, drama plays mostly in singles and two shots, in comedy you get more three's and up. Sitcoms especially tend to be ensemble pieces.




-- J.S.
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 02:16 AM

Yes, drama is mostly about conflict between two people. In comedy, what's funny is often a third or fourth person's reactions to what the first two are saying to each other. So, drama plays mostly in singles and two shots, in comedy you get more three's and up. Sitcoms especially tend to be ensemble pieces.




-- J.S.


I think it was Mel Brooks who said a 25mm is the funniest lens. I heard that in an interview with the comic genius a while back and can see why that kind of intimacy can be utilized for comic effect and a sense of heightened energy. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 20 July 2010 - 02:18 AM.

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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 02:42 AM

Selecting a longer or wider lens can depend on how important the environment or world surrounding the actors is in particular scene or indeed film. Anamorphic lens are interesting in that they have a wide view, but a longer focal length.
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#7 Matt Pacini

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 03:15 PM

I had the same viewpoint when I first got into this, because I used long lenses a lot in my still photo work.
However, I've now gone exactly the opposite way.
The reason is, what is going on with the PEOPLE in the frame, is what drives the interest of the audience.
And that is more heightened by having the camera in there close with a wide lens, because it exaggerates the foreground to background relationship, as well as movement.
This is a huge factor IMHO. You're not just there to take pretty pictures, you're there to heighten the delivery of the emotion & action of the characters.

When you use a long lens, there is a subconscious effect on the audience that THEY are viewing the action from a distance. That is almost never what you want! You want them to feel like they are right there, living what the characters are living, and the best way to do that is to get in really close with a wide lens.

(BTW, I'm not talking about fisheye lenses, or going so wide that it distorts everything in an obvious manner).

Matt Pacini
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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 07:02 PM

I think it was Mel Brooks who said a 25mm is the funniest lens.


I love that guy. He also said that the hardest part of making "Young Frankenstein" was punching all those little holes in the edges. ;-)




-- J.S.
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