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Roger I have seen you express that you like certain focal lengths for OTS, Medium, Close-Up, etc. Does this change depending on sensor size? (2 replies and 6 comments)

pgee023
2 months ago
pgee023 2 months ago

I have seen you express that you like 32mm/35mm for OTS, 35mm/40mm for Medium Shots, 50mm for standard close-ups, and 65mm/75mm for a tighter close-up. What sensor size you are using with these focal lengths and what would these focal lengths translate to on a full frame sensor? I am curious if you prefer these focal lengths regardless of the sensor you are on, or if you translate them to other focal lengths based on sensor size. I myself use a full frame sensor so I am curious of your answer. Thanks Roger! 

Roger Deakins
2 months ago
Roger Deakins 2 months ago

Yes, it would change subtly depending on the sensor size. However, I have only shot the one film, '1917', on a larger sensor and for that we chose one specific focal length.

pgee023
2 months ago

What size sensor are you using when referring to the focal lengths I mentioned above?

halfgrain
2 months ago

He refers to Super 35, which is what most film cameras shot and digital ones, like the Alexa Mini, still shoot. The crop factor in regards to a 'full frame' sensor is around 1.4 - 1.6 as far as I know, depending on the exact sensor of the camera model.

pgee023
2 months ago

yes I am curious of the exact camera model he likes these focal lengths on so I can make the conversion to my full frame

halfgrain
2 months ago

Well he states a ranges (32-35mm, 35-40mm,..) so I wouldn't think about it too religiously. To narrow it down though I would say calculate with a 1.3 or 1.4 crop factor. If I'm not mistaken, the crop factor of analog film cameras like the Arri 35BL he used to shoot on is 1.4, the Alexa Mini's is 1.3.

Josua Ake
2 months ago

I’m so sorry I don’t know how to post questions so I’m using this until I find out how. Just signed up today.

I heard Roger Deakins that you like to shoot on one camera and that on Blade Runner 2049 you refused to shoot with 4 or 5 cameras as is common on blockbuster budget movies.

I was wondering if you’re using only one camera for each scene(especially for talking scenes) how many takes do you usually have the actors do? Does this annoy the actors that you shoot with only one camera isn’t of covering multiple angles in one take? And how many hours or does this method usually take?

Thank you to you and James. Huge fan of your work and podcast and can’t believe we’re spoiled to get all this knowledge for free especially with the behind the scenes drawings of each of your movies you’ve worked on and an extensive breakdown of your lighting technique.

Roger Deakins
2 months ago
Roger Deakins 2 months ago

That is wrong to say I 'refused to shoot with 4 or 5 cameras'. Neither Denis or I like to work that way unless it is for a specific purpose. Of course, on a stunt or a particular action sequence multiple cameras can be really helpful but I don't find that the case in general.  As to speed of working. There are plenty of reasons why shooting with many cameras can not only be slower but can also be distracting for an actor. Of course, some directors and cinematographers like multi-cameras as a norm and they love working that way but many do not. Thankfully, there is room for more than one way of working.

Josua Ake
2 months ago

Thank you so much for your reply.

I seriously still can’t believe we get to talk with Roger Deakins!

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