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Is there a definitive text on lenses?


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#1 Jonathan Dzwonar

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 06:25 PM

Is there a book that gets specific with lenses? I've read time and time again that a good director should know lenses but every time they're put in a cinematography book it's just a chapter going through the basics I.E: this is a long lens, this is widescreen, telephoto, etc.

 

Anyone have any suggestions?


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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 06:42 PM

You could pick up Optics & Focus for Camera Assistants, but that gets pretty deep into the physics of the lens.  Not as cheap as it once was, either.


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#3 Jonathan Dzwonar

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 07:38 PM

Thanks!


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#4 Duca Simon Luchini

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 11:07 AM

Hallo everibody,

 I am also interested in this type of books, but not about the technical side but rather about the aesthetics of the camera lens:

I mean...

1 - when and why use normally a type of lens

2 - and when to use instead the lens from a point of view not descriptive but figurative, aesthetic, metaphorical.

 

Many thanks for a reply!

 


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 12:00 PM

Duca, you need to update your User Name to be a first and last name, as per the forum rules, thanks.  Contact Tim Tyler...

 

There are a number of text books on filmmaking that have chapters on lenses and their visual effect.  I don't think anyone has filled a whole book on the topic.

 

There are both practical and aesthetic and storytelling reasons to choose certain focal lengths -- often the practical reason is driven by space restrictions: you may decide that the 200mm lens has the visual properties you want for the scene, but if you are shooting in a real bathroom or a driving car interior and you want to get a wide shot, you are going to have to use something more wide-angle.

 

A storytelling reason might be as simple as if the shot is supposed to be the point of view of someone watching from across a street, then to get tighter views, you would use longer focal lengths because moving the camera across the street and closer to the subject being watched would no longer look like the perspective of someone far away.

 

Other practical considerations are that long lenses are harder to keep smooth in motion during a handheld move or a dolly move over bumpy ground.

 

All of this isn't touching on the aesthetics of wide-angle, medium, and telephoto lenses. But the basics often come down to the effects those lenses have on space in terms of expanding/stretching it or compressing/flattening it, and the field of view the lens creates in combination with that effect.  You can find YouTube videos on the joys of certain focal lengths -- there was a recent essay on the 28mm lens:

http://www.slrlounge...atic-28mm-lens/

 

Another text/video on lenses:

http://nofilmschool....l-length-lenses


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#6 Duca Simon Luchini

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 12:08 PM

Duca, you need to update your User Name to be a first and last name, as per the forum rules, thanks.  Contact Tim Tyler...

 

There are a number of text books on filmmaking that have chapters on lenses and their visual effect.  I don't think anyone has filled a whole book on the topic.

 

There are both practical and aesthetic and storytelling reasons to choose certain focal lengths -- often the practical reason is driven by space restrictions: you may decide that the 200mm lens has the visual properties you want for the scene, but if you are shooting in a real bathroom or a driving car interior and you want to get a wide shot, you are going to have to use something more wide-angle.

 

A storytelling reason might be as simple as if the shot is supposed to be the point of view of someone watching from across a street, then to get tighter views, you would use longer focal lengths because moving the camera across the street and closer to the subject being watched would no longer look like the perspective of someone far away.

 

Other practical considerations are that long lenses are harder to keep smooth in motion during a handheld move or a dolly move over bumpy ground.

 

All of this isn't touching on the aesthetics of wide-angle, medium, and telephoto lenses. But the basics often come down to the effects those lenses have on space in terms of expanding/stretching it or compressing/flattening it, and the field of view the lens creates in combination with that effect.  You can find YouTube videos on the joys of certain focal lengths -- there was a recent essay on the 28mm lens:

http://www.slrlounge...atic-28mm-lens/

 

Another text/video on lenses:

http://nofilmschool....l-length-lenses

Great David,

your culture about cinematography is really great!
Many thnaks!

 

P.s. I've already contcacted Tim but I didn't receive an answer... I do not know what I could do more...


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Aerial Filmworks

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rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Willys Widgets