Hollywood Directing: How to Choose the Right Lens for Your Shot
On today’s episode, I wanted to give you a sneak peek of one of the best selling filmmaking courses on Udemy right now, Hollywood Film & Television Directing Masterclass with former guest and master film instructor Gil Bettman. On the show, you’ll hear a lesson on how you can AMP UP your static shots by the choosing the right lenses. You can check out the trailer to the course below.
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– Which is more exciting, the car chase or the foot chase?
– [Students] The foot chase.
– The foot chase, okay, the foot chase costs a fraction of the car chase, okay, and it’s all because you know, it’s basically because they use a wide angle lenses and motion to the lens or away from the lens, instead of motion across the lens, okay, you have no idea how time consuming it is to get on a moving camera, an insert car with operators shooting 200 millimeter, 100 millimeter lenses, which are jiggly as hell, right, and try to get up to 40 miles an hour and get these other cars, you know, going to get the close off, miles of, you know, big hunks of street, you need 10 cops at least on motorcycles, they go off, go down the street and then get everything moving and then the first time, the second time you do it, it’s out of focus around the frame and you gotta go back and redo it. All this stuff with a foot chase is like one take wonders, I guarantee it, with the wide angle lens and people on foot, you can get as much action and energy as that car chase, so if you know, if you wanna put a little stunt sequence into your movie, that you can do on a shoestring, that’s what you wanna be doing, okay, using the wide angle lens, because everything is in focus and there’s practically all those shots in the foot chase were shot handheld, not with a Steadicam, but with a PogoCam, the camera on a plate, that has a pole and a weight, which costs nothing, grips make ’em in their backyard, so that’s the high-tech piece of equipment and the other high-tech piece of equipment is like an eyrie, an unblimped eyrie, which you can rent for 50 bucks a day, so you know, and you need some good operators, you know, who can do that, that’s, that you do need. How many tie-in shots are there in this foot chase? How many shots do you have like this, where you see both guys in the frame?
– [Student] Very few.
– How many? I think a total, yeah, total four, okay and the reason for that, I mean, pretty much is you don’t need tie-in shots, you see, did you not feel that they were one right behind the other all the way through? You manufacture that feeling in editing and the beauty of it is is that, is that when you have each one in a separate shot, you can quick cut back and forth, back and forth, if you have them in the same shot, you can’t quick cut it, unless you have two angles on that two-shot, you see what I’m saying? So if you have, so that’s a rule I give my students, if you do a tie-in in a chase, don’t do it with just one angle, do it from two angles, right, so you have two guys running in shot, shoot them from behind and from ahead, so you can go, so you can quick, so you can cut it and speed up the progress, you see what I’m saying? So, there is, there are only, it’s, it’s, and again, it’s, you can just, everything I’m telling you about this foot chase could be translated into a car chase, these guys could be cars, okay and if you’re shooting two cars going down the road at high speed with the right distance from each other, that takes you five times longer to shoot, to coordinate and shoot, than one car going down the road, you know, for that sequence of the action. You slow yourself down dramatically by doing tie-in shots, alright, so isolate, isolate and shoot singles and only do tie-ins when the relationship between who’s ahead and who’s behind changes, if somebody catches up or drops back, show it in a tie-in.