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Walking in the desert


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#1 Harriet Aspden

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 02:40 AM

Hey,

I am going to be filming a peice in Qatar and really want to film part in the desert. I would like it to have the feeling of a western film, where somebody is walking toward the camera in the distance but doesnt get any closer or larger on the screen, with the heat waves etc. Any advice please? Especially with how to film the part where the actor doesnt get any closer, I'm clueless!

Really appreciate it! Thanks :)
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#2 dan kessler

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 01:02 PM

You say you're clueless, so it's possible that you might not
understand the answer to your own question. Stated simply, this is
the look you get with telephoto lenses. The longer the focal length,
the more drastic this look will be. Before embarking on your project,
you should acquaint yourself a little more with the basics of cinematography
and with the camera you intend to use.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 01:34 PM

What the above means is "be a very long way away and zoom right in".

A domestic camcorder might not have enough "zoom in" available, but sometimes you can change the lens or use lens adapters, depending what sort of camera you have.

Some famous examples of this - you're thinking of "Lawrence of Arabia", I suspect - ended up using extremely long lenses, because they were shot on large film formats (which have the effect of making a given lens seem wider than it would on a smaller format).

More info required.

P
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 01:53 PM

You need a telephoto lens.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 02:17 PM

Which, at the risk of thread creep, brings up something that's bothered me for a while.

Where does the term "telephoto" come from? I mean... far... seeing? Is it that simple?

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#6 John Sprung

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 04:47 PM

Yes, you want a very long focal length lens. Because it flattens things, you can also get away with having the actor cheat the walk a little. Just walking in place might not work, but cheating the steps shorter is a possibility. If you have a good monitor, you can try some normal and cheated walks.





-- J.S.
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#7 Jock Blakley

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 06:44 AM

Phil: the term "telephoto lens" describes, if you wish to be exact, a lens that employs telephoto optics to provide a focal length that is far longer than the actual length of the lens.

A "conventional" lens will focus at infinity at a certain distance from the film plane, and distance between the film plane and the lens' optical centre is the focal length. This is fine for lenses of "normal" focal lengths but obviously becomes impractical when the optical centre needs to be 300 or 400mm away from the film plane to provide a long-focus lens.

To counter this, the lens is designed with at least two optical groups - one at the front which is a simple short-focus lens, and one at the rear which is the "telephoto group" that optical extends the light path and simulates a lens a much greater focal length than is actually present.

Almost all long lenses in general circulation these days are telephoto designs - the main area in which non-telephoto lenses are still found is large format still photography, as they are as a rule much cheaper. The tradeoff is that they require much more bellows draw and thus less light reaches the film.

At the other end of the scale, retrofocus lenses were invented to solve the issue of wideangle lenses and lens mounts that were further from the film than the focal length.
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#8 Mark Dunn

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 10:32 AM

The giveaway is to look through the lens at full aperture. The iris will appear larger from the front in a telephoto and from the back in a retrofocus, or inverted telephoto. In a conventional lens, it will appear the same size.
For an SLR, or in our case a mirror shutter, wide-angle lens has to have a retrofocus design- the mirror would get in the way of a conventional design

The OP might be also have in mind a zoom in exactly matched by a track out, or vice versa, to maintain the same image scale.
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