The Difference Between Camera Lenses

Every single shot you see in a motion pictures is methodically planned. Each shot serves a purpose, and exactly how that shot is captured with a camera is meant to evoke a certain feeling, look, or style. One element of photography that can drastically change how a shot is captured is what lens is being used on the camera. But do you understand how it all works?

It’s easy to see with your own eyes how a shot looks different from one to the next, but you may not know how a certain shot was achieved if you don’t understand how camera lenses work. Thankfully, cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel (Drive, The Usual Suspects, X-Men, Three Kings) sat down to explain how three different camera lenses work, and what the shots captured them convey when taken into consideration with image composition, lighting and camera movement. Learn about the difference between camera lenses in movies below. Read More »

cinematographer-style-1

Here’s a feature-length documentary on the art of cinematography — one of many such films, but this particular one does feature the participation of dozens of cinematographers. Actually, more than “dozens” — Jon Fauer‘s Cinematographer Style features interviews with over one hundred shooters. They include, but are hardly limited to Roger Deakins, László Kovács, Vittorio Storaro, Gordon Willis, Matthew Libatique, Bill Pope, Newton Thomas Sigel, Dante Spinotti, and John Toll.

A week ago I watched the beginning of the film and was put off — ironically, this film devoted to cinematography is hampered at the beginning by a too-literal and sometimes haphazard edit. But scan forward a bit to where the detailed talk of technique begins, and you’ll find a rich trove of material learned by years of experience on some of the most significant films. For anyone interested in how films are made — and not just how, but why — this is a great feature. Read More »