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Lens' used on Steadicam


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#1 Nathan Barker

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 01:28 PM

Hello all, aspiring operator here, I was curious to know what kind of lens are used when ever you guys shoot. Correct me if i'm wrong, but a large depth of field is required because the scene is constantly changing among other things.
-Nathan
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#2 Imran Naqvi

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 02:03 PM

If only!

There is no right lens, it's all down to the DP and what they want. As a newb I've had to shoot as long as 50mm on video and S16 frequently with a lens wide open (speaking of which 35mm lens adaptors e.g. Redrock M2, Mini35 or Movietube can often work wide open).

This is why you have a focus puller.

I'm sure some of the old pros here have used much longer lenses.
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#3 Nathan Barker

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 05:07 PM

the camera my crew is using has in fact a redrock M2, so yeah when you say work wide open, you mean with any lens attatched?

If only!

There is no right lens, it's all down to the DP and what they want. As a newb I've had to shoot as long as 50mm on video and S16 frequently with a lens wide open (speaking of which 35mm lens adaptors e.g. Redrock M2, Mini35 or Movietube can often work wide open).

This is why you have a focus puller.

I'm sure some of the old pros here have used much longer lenses.


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#4 Afton Grant

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 11:05 PM

Hey Nathan,

"Wide open" is referring to the aperture of the lens. When it is open as much as it will go, it is letting in the most light, at the same time reducing the depth of field making precise focus more critical. I'd suggest picking up a book on camera assisting or cinematography as it will discuss in depth the principles of lenses and shooting. A workshop on either of the subjects would be great too.

As Imran said, the "right" lens is the one the DP asks for. Same goes for the F-stop. The Steadicam is just another tool to move the camera, like a dolly, like a crane, like your hands and feet. The shot will dictate the setup. You should do your best to get comfortable with all focal lengths. When you're working, the only thing that is required is that you keep the frame. The AC is technically responsible for focus, but you should think of it as a team rather than divided tasks. Do your best to go over the shots and hit your marks. A good AC will keep focus regardless of where you are, but if you can make his/her job easier, they will like you more. Also, people tend to remember the operator of a bad shot before they remember the AC, even if what made it bad was focus.

Best Regards,
Afton
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 12:25 AM

Hello all, aspiring operator here, I was curious to know what kind of lens are used when ever you guys shoot. Correct me if i'm wrong, but a large depth of field is required because the scene is constantly changing among other things.
-Nathan



Nope most of the DP's I work want the shallowest DoF possible which means working wide open or close to it.

As for focal lengths', well that's dealers choice. In 35mm I've been everywhere from a 10mm lens (Harder than you think due to the vertical and horizontal references) out to a 180mm. Normal lenses are the 27,35,40,50,65 and 85
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#6 Nathan Barker

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 06:17 PM

I always thought that you'd want the largest depth of field possible possible so you can minimize the amount of focusing going on. All focusing on steadicam is done remotely correct?

thanks guys for all the replies

Nope most of the DP's I work want the shallowest DoF possible which means working wide open or close to it.

As for focal lengths', well that's dealers choice. In 35mm I've been everywhere from a 10mm lens (Harder than you think due to the vertical and horizontal references) out to a 180mm. Normal lenses are the 27,35,40,50,65 and 85


Hey Nathan,

"Wide open" is referring to the aperture of the lens. When it is open as much as it will go, it is letting in the most light, at the same time reducing the depth of field making precise focus more critical. I'd suggest picking up a book on camera assisting or cinematography as it will discuss in depth the principles of lenses and shooting. A workshop on either of the subjects would be great too.

As Imran said, the "right" lens is the one the DP asks for. Same goes for the F-stop. The Steadicam is just another tool to move the camera, like a dolly, like a crane, like your hands and feet. The shot will dictate the setup. You should do your best to get comfortable with all focal lengths. When you're working, the only thing that is required is that you keep the frame. The AC is technically responsible for focus, but you should think of it as a team rather than divided tasks. Do your best to go over the shots and hit your marks. A good AC will keep focus regardless of where you are, but if you can make his/her job easier, they will like you more. Also, people tend to remember the operator of a bad shot before they remember the AC, even if what made it bad was focus.

Best Regards,
Afton


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#7 Charles Papert

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 09:35 PM

Yes, all focusing is done remotely. For an exterior shot on a long lens, sometimes a DP will strip back the ND to give the focus puller a bit more depth, but all of us have done shots at T1.4 at one time or another. For a large night exterior it may not be feasible to light the world to a 5.6, so all shots, whether Steadicam, handheld or dolly (which may include very long focal lengths) will have to be achieved by the focus puller at whatever stop the set is lit to. That's why they make the "big bucks"!

It's not strictly accurate to say that we are "minimizing the amount of focusing", perhaps better to say that we are making the focus less critical by increasing the depth of field (i.e. an assistant may now have 8 inches of depth of field vs 4 inches).

The more accurate the remote focus system is, the better the focus will be. The best systems are so reliable and accurate that they virtually duplicate the response of the assistant having his hand directly on a mechanical follow focus attached to the lens, which of course is not possible with Steadicam. An lesser system may fall short of this goal in various ways, so even in the hands of an experienced AC, shots may still not come out sharp all the time.

As you can see, the drawback of the 35mm adaptors and ultimately forthcoming 35mm sized sensor cameras is that they require a LOT from the camera assistant. That sexy shallow focus comes at a price!
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#8 Nathan Barker

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 01:02 AM

wow, and I thought slappin a 35mm system onto a rig would be easy. I'd assume these remote control follwo focus systems are not cheap. But thanks, this makes a lot more sense to me know. all this is invaluable information to me!

Yes, all focusing is done remotely. For an exterior shot on a long lens, sometimes a DP will strip back the ND to give the focus puller a bit more depth, but all of us have done shots at T1.4 at one time or another. For a large night exterior it may not be feasible to light the world to a 5.6, so all shots, whether Steadicam, handheld or dolly (which may include very long focal lengths) will have to be achieved by the focus puller at whatever stop the set is lit to. That's why they make the "big bucks"!

It's not strictly accurate to say that we are "minimizing the amount of focusing", perhaps better to say that we are making the focus less critical by increasing the depth of field (i.e. an assistant may now have 8 inches of depth of field vs 4 inches).

The more accurate the remote focus system is, the better the focus will be. The best systems are so reliable and accurate that they virtually duplicate the response of the assistant having his hand directly on a mechanical follow focus attached to the lens, which of course is not possible with Steadicam. An lesser system may fall short of this goal in various ways, so even in the hands of an experienced AC, shots may still not come out sharp all the time.

As you can see, the drawback of the 35mm adaptors and ultimately forthcoming 35mm sized sensor cameras is that they require a LOT from the camera assistant. That sexy shallow focus comes at a price!


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