Filmmaking Basics/Camera Lenses/Positioning the camera

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Table of contents for All about camera lenses:


Answer to the Pop Quiz

The answer

You do whatever you need to do to get the shot!
You can never get the shot you want if you use the wrong focal length.
Instead, pick the correct focal length (telephoto for warm and wide angle for cold) and then move heaven and earth to get the shot you want.
Move everyone and everything

It is all fake

Unlike a documentary, when you film a motion picture, it is all fake.

Don't try to make it real. Move the actors and/or the movie set to get the shots that you need. Don't worry if the setups is not real. Nothing is sacred!

Below are examples of getting an over-the-shoulder shot. To get the shots to look correct, the actors are in very unnatural position.

  1. With a strong telephoto lens, the actors might be very far apart. The two actors might not even be in the same room.
  2. With a strong wide angle lens, the two actors might be standing on each other shoes they are so close together.

But that is what is necessary to get the shot. So that is what you do!


Whatever it takes!


Illustration what we need.png

If this is the picture you need,
you must move the actor, move the movie set
and/or movie the camera to get this shot.


You do whatever you need to do
to get the shot.


Wide angle / neutral / telephoto

How these are filmed

The shots below are not filmed the same. If they were, they would be even more exagerated.
In the wide angle, the boy would look too small. In the telephoto shot, the boy would look too big.
That is why the actors must be moved to unnatural positions. To make it all look OK.
Wide Angle


1. If you want this shot

OTS74degreeFrameForge.jpg

Look how close the actors are!!!!

Even with the actors almost toe to toe, the two actors seem very far apart.
In this shot, the actors look emotionally distant from each other.


Remember that filmmaking is all about creating the correct illusion.

Move the actors




OTSBlueprint74degreeFrameForge.jpg

Move the actors together.


Neutral


2. If you want this shot

OTS14degreeFrameForge.jpg

Look how far the actors are apart. The actors would have to yell to hear each other (but of course, you don't ask the actors yell.)
In this shot, the actors feel close together emotionally.


Remember that filmmaking is all about creating the correct illusion.

Move the actors




OTSBlueprint14degreeFrameForge.jpg

Move the actors apart.



Super strong telephoto


3. If you want this shot

Ots200.jpg

Now look how far the actors are apart!!!!

The actors would have to scream at hear each other (but of course, you don't have the actors speak over a normal speaking voice.)
In this shot, the actors feel close together emotionally.

Notice that the actor could have turn his head away from the camera slightly. When he turns slightly, he will not be looking the girl when he says his lines. So what? As long as you get a good looking shot!!!!


Remember that filmmaking is all about creating the correct illusion.

Move the actors




Ots200movieset.jpg

Move the actors even more.



Let's take a quick quiz
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The next page

Next we study lenses in depth, Click here for the last page of this lesson.

Contact your instructor

Your instructor for this filmmaking class is Robert Elliott. You can email me by clicking here. Crystal Clear app xfmail.png