Production: 4 Lens Techniques

Production is a wide term and cannot be limited to lens and camera techniques. With that said, lens is the eye of the camera and a video or photograph cannot be taken without it. The lens sees the object and we take the picture. Camera can set a mood for your film production. The camera lens can make your scene do anything you want it too without any drastic measures. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.

  1. Get to Know your Lenses: To be a good cinematographer you need to know how to create certain moods in cadence with the script. You can best do this by getting to know what your camera lenses can do. To create a cold and distant mood, use a wide angle lens. In case you are shooting for a romantic mood and need warm, close, soft shots, then you should definitely opt for telephoto lens. Whereas, if you need few everyday shots then you should use lens that is somewhere between wide angle and telephoto.
  2. Getting a Focal Point: The script you are filming is a story and should be treated that way. When you are reading a story you use your imagination regarding the scenes and the characters. Filming that story is the same except you have characters that you can focus on. So once you get the right angle for the shot move your characters or the scenery in order to get the mood for that scene. You can get that correct focus with the right lens (see Tip No.1). All you have to do is remember this is not real life, it is a story and you are the creator of its life.
  3. Depth Perception: When you take pictures of a character within a scene that has other characters in it, you do not want to blur the other characters out. You want the scene to have your main character in focus and the background characters clear. To do this you need to use a wide or super wide angle lens. The lens on the video camera is extremely narrow and that is why should always look through the actual lens to see the depth of your scene. The lens on your video camera may not be able to distinguish one character from another in a multi character scene. A telephoto lens will compress your picture. Finding the right lens and the right angle for scenes of this sort is much more difficult to do and a lot of practice and calculations are needed.
  4. Lenses: Here are a few lens ideas for the production of your script: wide angle shots = 10 mm wide angle lens; very wide angle shots= 14 mm wide angle lens; much wider angle shots = 16 mm wide angle lens; when wide angle shot is not wanted = 24 mm wide angle lens; for truly boring shots = 29 mm lens; for warm feelings = 35 mm telephoto lens and the camera should be locked for anything over a 35 mm lens.
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