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Psychological effect of lenses (2 replies and 1 comment)

Ian Crabb
5 months ago
Ian Crabb 5 months ago

My name is Ian Crabb, a writer/director from Columbus, Georgia USA.

I am going to shoot a short, micro budget ($5k) film about a true story, a comedy similar to Hangover/Superbad.
But since it’s a true story, and a comedy, I like the idea of wide lenses (35mm), that way I won’t have to change lenses often, if I wanna get closer, I’ll just move the camera closer to the character.
But, I LOVE the look of Fargo (specifically the faces of the medium close-ups and close-ups), which you’ve said many times on the podcast is shot on longer lenses. 
I can’t tell if I like the look of Fargo because of the lenses or just the compositions of the characters in frame. 
My question is: is there a specific psychological effect that happens with longer lenses that you were trying to achieve on Fargo. If so, what is it?
And, what was the reasoning behind the longer lenses on Fargo, what did longer lenses do on that movie that wider lenses could not do.
Hopefully this question is not too long winded, I absolutely love this podcast it’s is basically my film school at this point.
Ian Crabb
M Ryan
5 months ago
M Ryan 5 months ago 

Some insight in that thread - seems only slightly longer focal lengths used - this can help with limited locations for sure, and the more boxed in/claustrophobic feeling of longer lenses definitely suited the characters and the story..

Roger Deakins
5 months ago
Roger Deakins 5 months ago

For sure lenses create a different feeling. Long lenses are, by definition, more 'observational' but the images can be more romantic, which is the product of the shallow depth of field and the soft focus backgrounds. We shot 'Fargo' on slightly longer lenses than had been done on other of the Coen's films because we wanted a slightly more 'matter of fact' look, not exactly reportage but in that direction.

5 months ago

Yes master i also observed long lenses also pull the image towards and push the depth far away. i can see clearly on 'butch cassidy and sundance kid'.

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