Choice of focal length

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  • #215735

      Hey forum and roger sir,

      Sorry for asking a newbie question.

      I wonder how you will choose the focal length between shot and shot? I found every shot is good sometimes, but when i put them together, they are not cohesive.

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    • #215737

        Episode 7 of the Team Deakins podcast is about Lens choice. On YouTube you can find also a video by Studio Binder on the same subject (i can’t paste the link here but you can find It easily on the site).

        I’m a newbie too but the idea i got from the podcast, the interviews, the articles, etc is that a short prime lens (instead of a zoom one) force you to take artistic decisions and create an “intimacy” with the actors (you have to stay closer) and a “natural” view for the audience.

        I hope It’s a good starting point!


          PS: the Studio Binder video i was talking about is on Roger’s use of lenses,  not on lenses in general (but they have nice videos also on that). Sorry for the confusion! The video offers some visual example (you don’t say? Ah ah) but Is mostly based on the Episode 7 of the podcast, which of course offers a better context to the reason behind choice of lenses.

          Tyler F

            That’s a good ‘mistake’ to realize. If you shot a scene where you bounced around from a 14mm to a 24mm then a 75, how would that feel to watch and be cut together? Part of a DP’s job is to help visualize the scene with the Director. Some directors will tell you straight up, “I want this on a 50mm” or they may say something like ‘let move to a close up’ and you may think to either move in closer or flip to the 75mm.

            It’s a balance in how it’s all being cut together but also how does it feel in your gut? Some DP’s shoot on only long lenses and then you have a Chivo who shoots on extreme wides but will move in close.

            Study films and see what you like then bank a bunch of shots in a folder and refer to them when you want the same feeling.

            Go to the rental house with a friend and test a set of lenses with all the focal lengths and see what each does to your talent as well as the environment.

            Unfortunately you really get the best sense by just doing it yourself and by what’s available to you. If you have ‘X’ budget that allows you to get an Alexa Mini and 2 lenses then you’re forced to choose right? Maybe you want a 28mm and a 50mm, and that’s enough to cover your movie. Sometimes those limitations end up creating a style that’s unique to you and that’s what gets you hired?

            Watch movies, do tests, shoot, read ASC magazine, study what your peers are doing, go to the rental house and play with lenses you’ve never used before. It all adds to your repertoire and you’ll be that much better for it!

            Good luck!

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