This week, we’re talking about using different lenses to improve your work’s visual impact. Watch the video and check out our 5-minute Lens school underneath!
Different lens choices are a brilliant way to spice up your visuals in your filmmaking. While some cheaper cameras don’t allow for changing lenses, most DSLRs and contemporary professional or semi-pro cameras do have that option, and some may even be sold in a pack with a variety of lenses.
Here is the 5-minute Raindance Lens school:
1) Lenses come in 2 forms – Primes and Zooms. Primes are of a fixed focal length (that is, the lens is at a fixed distance to the camera’s sensor). Zooms can vary their focal length, moving the lens closer to the camera’s sensor (zooming out) or further away (zooming in).
2) Primes are pretty but difficult. Zooms are adaptable but dangerous. Prime lenses tend to give more ‘cinematic’ images because they tend to have a wider range of settings in their depth of field and aperture, meaning you can pull focus more effectively. The lack of a zoom function, however, means that filmmakers using them have to be careful about camera placement. Zooms are generally preferred by documentary and live-action filmmakers because they’re easier to use from a fixed point, instead of having to run in and out, but zooming in can ruin your image quality, both from a resolution perspective and by distorting things in the frame.
3) Distortion can be your friend. What do you mean zoom lenses distort the image? Well, for a practical example you’ll have to watch the video. But here is an excellent explanation of why it happens, done on a couple of post-it notes:
That’s not all; when you’re zoomed in (or using a high focal length lens), it also flattens the background, making objects behind the subject look far bigger than they actually are. This effect can be used to subtly influence the mood of a scene, making objects in the background appear imposing and dominating. Check out the comparison photos below to understand this point better!
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