The art of lensing
focal lenght lens mm
on 4/15/19, 2:09 PM • 537 views
One of the parts I enjoy the most about my job is when I get the chance to assist not only technically but “artistically” the DoP, and that’s why I rather considering myself a first assistant than “just” a focus puller. In my opinion the first assistant has to be,from the camera point of view, what a gaffer is from the point of view of the lighting. And one of the main task of this is to counsel the camera op/dop about the best focal length for the shot. Maybe is just my feeling, but lately a lot of people seem to have forgotten that the focal length you choose for a given shot is not (or shouldn’t be) just a matter of size. I constantly see this equation applied: wide shot=24mm two shot=35mm close up=85mm detail=135mm... and that is that. Even the audience is not fully aware of that, they feel the focal length. You can do a close up with a 24mm, but the sensation would be totally different that the same shot size made with a 85mm. So, our duty as camera assistants is to help the cinematographer to find the best tool to express what he needs in any given shot, regardless the kind of shot that is. Obviously when shooting on location that is not always possible (maybe you would like a wide shot with an 85mm but you can’t throw walls down), but still there’s always a lot of room for “lens creativity”.
A very silly example: why most of time we shot details with long lenses? To me that ends up producing shots where the object could be everywhere, because everything else is super blurry, and looses connection with the rest of the sequence. Don’t get me wrong, maybe that’s exactly what you need in that moment, but at least before to press the Rec button ask yourself if it wouldn’t be better to see the context the object is in and the “relationship” it has with the surroundings. A lot of great movies have been shot all with the same focal length (did you know that Orson Welles’s “Touch of evil” was entirely shot on a 18mm?)Lensing is an art, so let’s try to make the most of it. What are your thoughts about this?
On 4/20/19, 12:34 PM
i couldnt agree more!
we as focuspullers can teach our DP's a little more about lenses because, they maybe have 1 big project a year, but we have several and just see more lenses than they do.
And sometimes its time and the schedule pressuring the style of the project, its easy to choose the Obvious lens!
be Cheeky and put on a different lens and suggest something else. (only when you have a good relationship with the DP :)