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Real-world Lens limitations in virtual cameras (1 reply and 3 comments)

MuNansen
7 days ago
MuNansen 7 days ago

Hi.

I work in the videogame industry, focusing on various integrations of storytelling to the form.  Much of the work I've done has been in cinematics, or at least cinematic-related.  There's an area of disagreement that I'd love to get your thoughts on:

Many that work in cinematics believe that in these virtual worlds, we should use focal length, depth-of-field, and aperture settings that match real-world lenses in order to best match classic cinematography.  I am of the opinion that while classic lens mimicry is a good starting point, in a virtual space we do have full freedom to experiment and explore beyond the limits of traditional lenses and should take advantage of that.  Lenses weren't, after all, designed to have these limitations, they're just the result of the limitations of glass, light, and all other factors.

So basically, in a virtual, computer-generated environment, is limiting yourself to analogues of real-world lenses necessary/ideal, or is it a case of hurting/limiting yourself by trying too hard to be something you're not?  

I understand if you don't feel you have enough experience with virtual cameras to have an opinion, but it's something that's bugged me a fair amount.  I've long suspected that many professional cinematographers would think we were crazy for limiting ourselves to the very things they have to fight against just so we can be more like traditional film.

Viktor_D
6 days ago
Viktor_D 6 days ago

MuNansen, what lenses limits do you mean?

In my opinion its rather the question what kind of effect you're trying to archive with unlimited focal length and how it can serve the story of your cinematics. I prefer to think of limited kit of virtual lenses that mimics real world lenses as a set of rules that helps to spent less time choosing right focal length for the shot.

MuNansen
6 days ago

Agreed that starting with "real" lenses helps save time. What I'm more referring to is situations where the only way to achieve the desired effect is to break the rules, ex., to use significant Depth of Field with a very wide-angle lens.

Situations like this can occur because of the exceptional difference in scale, proportion, and perspective games have from the real world. For instance, a door way that is a size normally built by humans will feel extremely small in a first-person perspective game and be difficult to navigate through. Or that fact that since videogame characters' mobility is generally greatly exaggerated, spaces need to be built much larger.

So in dealing with all these realities, the usual guidelines of lens selection often don't quite get you all the way there, even if they are a large help in getting started with your shot.

Viktor_D
4 days ago

Well, as for DoF I think for cinematics you can set any shallow depth of field you like as long as it looks and feels right for particular scene and don't break the feel of proper dimensions, if its not on purpose of course. Could you provide some visual examples of such wide shots with shallow DoF?

MuNansen
3 days ago

Will if I get the chance. Unfortunately, what I'm working on now isn't publicly available 😉

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