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    #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Gross View Post
    I’ve shot entire movies on a single lens.
    Very cool.

    if I’m always shooting a medium on a 35mm, a wide on a 24mm and a close up on an 85mm, then it builds another form of visual consistency.
    Yes, that you stay about the same distance from the subject.

    In general I think movies and videos everywhere are too cutty. I would appreciate a return to long takes on a tripod. Take it at an interesting angle, of course.

    As for constancy in f-stop or depth of field, and I'm less convinced of the value, although I do get distracted by extremes. For example, in Inception the focus was sometimes shallower than the traditional movie. Now in a head-and-shoulders shot, you expect the background to be blurry, the bokeh is pleasant to look at. But shallow focus in medium or wide shots, where the f-stop must have been f/2 or even wider, is distracting and I think would be best reserved for a special effect, like a dream or something. But I hate it so much that I probably would not use it even for that.

    Deep focus can be distracting too, especially if the shot is not a wide but a close-up or medium shot. So the old Hollywood recommendation of around 5.6 is, if nothing else, pleasant.

    I'm not laying down absolute laws, of course. These are artistic choices. Y'all do what you want (at your peril!).
    Last edited by combatentropy; 11-10-2019 at 10:43 AM.


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    #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by combatentropy View Post

    Yes, that you stay about the same distance from the subject.
    I think this is a big thing. Zoom lens can you make you sloppy. You just keeping zooming for framing - rather than physically moving and finding/staging a shot with a small set of primes (say 4 options: 24, 35, 50, 85). Shooting with primes builds a natural consistency. Whenever I shoot on zooms, I try and use the zoom as a "variable prime" and only use 3 or 4 focal length settings on the zoom and not be tempted to cheat in between.

    You brought up another interesting point through this which is, f/stop as it varies between focal length. it's one thing to quote sort of the standard rule of thumb on which to base things off, however, how does that vary between a 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm?

    I assume the f/5.6 middle ground we speak of is on a 35mm S35 / 50mm FF. But on an 85mm, that looks shallower. And on a wide angle, it looks deeper - yet for a wide angle, often times we may want deeper focus. Do we compensate beyond the way focal length changes the apparent DOF of any given f/stop?


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    #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by combatentropy View Post

    In general I think movies and videos everywhere are too cutty. I would appreciate a return to long takes on a tripod.
    Tangent/side note: I agree and I think this falls into the same category as overly shallow DoF being overused. I noticed this cutting footage for a local agency who does work for Nike. I thought their camera work SUCKED!!!

    Here's the thing - the final product looked great after I cut it, because every shot is only about 1 second long. But what struck me was how mediocre their camera operators are/were. Sloppy takes, only a couple shots I would not be embarrassed to hold on the screen for 5 seconds. In my own OMB privately produced work I usually have takes that could stand for 6-8 seconds easily, and I prefer longer shot lengths of 3-4 seconds. Maybe it's because I first experienced most movies in the 90s, but I've also thought that a reliance on overly quick cuts are a way of "covering up" poor camera work. Granted, it's a hip style right now and that doesn't need to be true at all (I've cut my own stuff at a really quick pace with great results for certain use cases) but after seeing where the sausage is made on some this big budget stuff, I got a major confidence boost... if that agency wasn't using a lot of quick cuts the sloppiness of their work would be seen!


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    #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by filmguy123 View Post
    I think this is a big thing. Zoom lens can you make you sloppy. You just keeping zooming for framing - rather than physically moving and finding/staging a shot with a small set of primes (say 4 options: 24, 35, 50, 85). Shooting with primes builds a natural consistency. Whenever I shoot on zooms, I try and use the zoom as a "variable prime" and only use 3 or 4 focal length settings on the zoom and not be tempted to cheat in between.
    To each his own. I think that can get a little dogmatic. There's a good argument to be made about consistency within a scene, such as matching coverage on characters having a conversation (or specifically opting to not match their sizes if that effect is desired). If shooting a closeup of a character inside a small room and then in the next scene they are outside with a distant background, I'd challenge anyone to notice whether the focal length is the same by at a good 20mm.

    That said, I agree that thinking of a zoom as a variable prime is a good notion so that there is some thoughtfulness to the process, rather than parking the sticks and punching in. This is ironically how a great deal of television is made but that because of multiple cameras and speed more than anything else. I have probably shot hundreds of closeups on long lens that I would have rather moved the camera closer simply because it would have gotten into the simultaneous wide shot.

    Often for me it is more about framing the background just so rather than sticking to a specific focal length. In other words, framing a specific size on an actor at a given focal length, I may find that we are just missing a practical, clipping the ceiling or including a protruding set element. In those instances I will move the camera and compensate on the zoom to keep the same size on the actor but change the magnification of the background. Chances are those focal lengths are not going to end up being prime sizes.

    As always, these are not one-size-fits-all. There is something lovely about the formality of primes and limiting ones choices as a creative exercise and when I get to do it, I am reminded of the benefits. It's part of the reason I bought a prime set last year. I'm just hesitant to think that even a savvy viewer can really feel the difference between an 85mm prime and 72.3mm on a zoom.

    Lastly: there was a time 20 years ago when the 40mm was a bit of a unicorn (Mitch can help me here with his insane encyclopedic brain, but I feel like it was exclusively a Primo size and then others followed suit). Sometimes directors would tell us "the 40mm is so beautiful--so much better than the 35mm". Once we covered up the number on the 35mm with a filter badge and handed it to the director on a finder when he called for the 40. After lining up the shot, he took the bait "damn, I love the 40 so much" etc.
    Charles Papert
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    #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by filmguy123 View Post
    Tangent/side note: I agree and I think this falls into the same category as overly shallow DoF being overused. I noticed this cutting footage for a local agency who does work for Nike. I thought their camera work SUCKED!!!

    Here's the thing - the final product looked great after I cut it, because every shot is only about 1 second long. But what struck me was how mediocre their camera operators are/were. Sloppy takes, only a couple shots I would not be embarrassed to hold on the screen for 5 seconds. In my own OMB privately produced work I usually have takes that could stand for 6-8 seconds easily, and I prefer longer shot lengths of 3-4 seconds. Maybe it's because I first experienced most movies in the 90s, but I've also thought that a reliance on overly quick cuts are a way of "covering up" poor camera work. Granted, it's a hip style right now and that doesn't need to be true at all (I've cut my own stuff at a really quick pace with great results for certain use cases) but after seeing where the sausage is made on some this big budget stuff, I got a major confidence boost... if that agency wasn't using a lot of quick cuts the sloppiness of their work would be seen!
    I can't speak for that job but I have done jobs over the years where the mandate is to operate "badly" (of course there will be a buzzword used like "energy" or "organically") with the intent of quick cuts...the more continuous "searching" within the frame that is done, the more opportunities to retain that look in the spot. Certainly that makes the raw footage look pretty awful, but if that's what they are going for, that's how you do it.
    Last edited by CharlesPapert; 11-10-2019 at 01:21 PM.
    Charles Papert
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    #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by combatentropy View Post
    In general I think movies and videos everywhere are too cutty. I would appreciate a return to long takes [...]
    Quote Originally Posted by filmguy123 View Post
    I agree [...] I usually have takes that could stand for 6-8 seconds easily, and I prefer longer shot lengths of 3-4 seconds.
    LOL, I meant more like 30 seconds, even whole scenes. But I guess if you're fighting against 1-second shots, bring on the 4-second ones

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesPapert View Post
    Sometimes directors would tell us "the 40mm is so beautiful--so much better than the 35mm".
    Weird, I thought Gordy was the only one enamored with the Forty.


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    #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesPapert View Post
    ... That said, I agree that thinking of a zoom as a variable prime is a good notion so that there is some thoughtfulness to the process, rather than parking the sticks and punching in. This is ironically how a great deal of television is made but that because of multiple cameras and speed more than anything else...
    Multiple camera per scene or multiple units shooting with multiple cameras (although, I assume they'd be from a single brand)?


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    #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLD View Post
    Multiple camera per scene or multiple units shooting with multiple cameras (although, I assume they'd be from a single brand)?
    Multiple cameras per scene.

    Say for example you are shooting single camera, you start with the master at 24mm then want to move into coverage on a medium shot on a 35. Your preference is to shoot wider lenses than long lenses for whatever reason, like you watched that interview with Roger Deakins ;). On a multiple camera show (which is virtually all episodic and feature work I've shot in the past decade), if you tried to do both of those setups at once, the A camera would be photographing B camera. So with the B cam pulled back out of A camera's shot, now it is shooting that same size medium shot at maybe 80mm.

    My syntax was a little confusing in the post above...I should have said ""rather than parking the sticks and punching in, which ironically is how a great deal of television is made"
    Last edited by CharlesPapert; 11-11-2019 at 12:45 PM.
    Charles Papert
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    One of the nicest aspects of wireless control systems is that they allow the human beings to remotely do their work. This means that it's easier to get multiple cameras covering a scene without seeing each other. In shot / reverse shot coverage the cameras can get a bit closer to the eyeline. Every little bit helps.

    Spielberg likes his sets as practically built as possible and he famously likes to work fast. On The Post, much of the lighting was built into the set and the Camera Operator and AC worked remotely when in tight spaces. This allowed a lot of actors to get into a normal-sized practical set without flying walls. Even when working single camera this added interesting efficiency to the shoot. Spielberg got the idea after visiting Stanley Kubrick on the set of Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick was always a minimalist, and for several intimate scenes everyone but the actors and a remote controlled camera would be in another room. When Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman have an intense argument while sitting in their bedroom clad only in underwear, Cruise handled the slate and Kubrick changed film mags so that everyone stayed outside. A great way to work when appropriate.
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    Last edited by Mitch Gross; 11-11-2019 at 03:50 PM.
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    #40
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    Good points, Mitch. I used to own a set of Hot Gears (as seen in the picture you posted--I assume those are Mitch Dubin's). Very handy for remote operation, quick conversion to and from conventional operating mode. They were great for many things including what you described.
    Charles Papert
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