Have you wondered why certain shots in movies “feel” a certain way? Or how one shot can communicate a director’s intention? That’s the magic of lenses. Knowing what lenses to use, and when and how to use them, is one of the most impactful storytelling skill sets you can have in filmmaking. Learn more about how to tell your story with lenses and BONUS get some info on the very necessary step of obtaining releases in our final Making The Fourth Wall video tutorial episode.
Episode 5: The Emotion of Lenses
Wide Angle Lens 24-35mm
Using this type of lens can create shots that showcase the size/vastness of the scene that’s captured by making the horizon seem further away. A wide-angle lens is perfect for landscapes and is commonly used for establishing shots. It can be a great tool for creating a sense of awe and wonder at the vastness of a scene.
Normal Lens 40-55mm
Using a 50mm can achieve what your eyes typically see, capturing everyday life and a realistic perspective. This lens works best for subjects at a close-to-medium distance — when you don’t need to zoom in on something far away or get super close to a small object. A normal lens will do wonders for bringing your viewer into the scene.
Telephoto + Zoom Lenses 70mm-∞
Get close to a distant subject using a telephoto lens (they have a focal length of over 70mm typically). If you’re trying to craft an image that’s filled by the subject, a telephoto or a zoom can make the viewer feel very close to the subject. Shorter telephoto lenses can be great for portraits, as they tend to make your subject really stand out from the background. Keep in mind, your subject doesn’t need to be very far away to use a zoom or telephoto lens. You just have to decide how close you want to get.
Macro lenses are used for capturing close-ups that draw attention to the magic of the ordinary, showing details, textures and important story elements otherwise missed by the human eye. Many of them produce a 1:1 image — which means that your subject is reproduced on the camera sensor at life-size, allowing for huge amounts of detail. Macro lenses also excel at creating images with a shallow depth of field, leaving only the foreground in focus.
✨Thanks for being a part of our tutorial series. Always shoot what is true to you, keep trying, keep failing, take risks, experiment and raise the bar higher and higher. You got this. ✨
As a filmmaker, director, game designer and podcaster, George Georgeadis is always looking for opportunities to embrace his love of storytelling. In his free time, you’ll find him designing board games, lost in the world of VR, travelling with his husband, stargazing or enjoying his home theatre and movie memorabilia collection.