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Understanding long lenses

From: Up and Running with DSLR Filmmaking

Video: Understanding long lenses

Brian Liepe: We've looked at wide-angle lenses, which have focal lengths up to 30 mm to 35 mm. Now we're going to at the long lens or the telephoto lenses that have focal lengths from about 50 mm and up. Chad Perkins: Just as wide angle lenses zoom out so you could see more of what's going on, telephoto lenses, often referred to as long lenses, zoom in so you can get closer. And also in the same way that wide-angle lenses tend to expand subjects, so it expands the distance between objects, telephoto lenses, or long lenses, tend to compress the distance between subject and foreground and other objects in your scene.

Understanding long lenses

Brian Liepe: We've looked at wide-angle lenses, which have focal lengths up to 30 mm to 35 mm. Now we're going to at the long lens or the telephoto lenses that have focal lengths from about 50 mm and up. Chad Perkins: Just as wide angle lenses zoom out so you could see more of what's going on, telephoto lenses, often referred to as long lenses, zoom in so you can get closer. And also in the same way that wide-angle lenses tend to expand subjects, so it expands the distance between objects, telephoto lenses, or long lenses, tend to compress the distance between subject and foreground and other objects in your scene.

Brian Liepe: So again, going back to the horror movie example. If you are shooting a character running from danger, you could use a long lens which again compresses space. This would make the character seem to run without traveling much distance which can increase the tension. Chad Perkins: So let's say you're shooting a subject against a background in the distance. If you wanted to bring this subject and background closer together without actually moving anything, you could just use a longer lens. If you want the distance to between the objects to remain the same, but you wanted to be closer to the subject, you would want to actually physically move closer to the subject.

Or if you want to make it seem as if the talent was closer to danger than they are, a long lens might be a good choice there as well. Another benefit of using a long lens is that you generally get a better shallow depth of field effect. If for example you want to create some beautiful Bokeh, which is what we refer to the out of focus areas of the image. Then you probably want to use a longer lens for that. Wider lenses have a really tough time getting beautiful bokeh regardless of whatever camera settings you're using.

Brian Liepe: One last word of warning when using a telephoto lens; the longer the focal length the more sensitive to movement the lens becomes. So if you're dialed in on a long focal length and you're moving a little bit, you may not feel it that much, the lens is really going to see that shakiness. Here's a hand-held shot with a wide-angle lens. The shake is noticeable but it doesn't ruin the shot. Here's the same exact shot with a really long lens. And the shake makes the shot unusable as it is.

The use of different lenses provides so many creative options, not only for magnification, but for storytelling as well.

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This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with DSLR Filmmaking
Up and Running with DSLR Filmmaking

43 video lessons · 25903 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
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  1. 2m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 25s
    2. About the camera used in this course
      45s
  2. 11m 35s
    1. Understanding photography
      44s
    2. Understanding aperture
      1m 51s
    3. Trade-offs with aperture adjustment
      2m 32s
    4. Understanding shutter speed
      1m 26s
    5. Trade-offs with shutter adjustment
      2m 41s
    6. Understanding ISO
      44s
    7. Trade-offs with ISO adjustment
      1m 37s
  3. 6m 37s
    1. Understanding sensor size
      1m 19s
    2. Protecting highlights and native ISO
      1m 24s
    3. Getting a custom white balance
      2m 27s
    4. Focusing for video
      1m 27s
  4. 9m 24s
    1. Using lenses
      1m 51s
    2. Understanding wide lenses
      2m 39s
    3. Understanding long lenses
      2m 32s
    4. Getting shallow depth of field
      2m 22s
  5. 12m 34s
    1. Using graphs to gauge exposure
      2m 1s
    2. Recording audio
      2m 42s
    3. Using a clapperboard
      1m 13s
    4. Shooting a "flat" image
      51s
    5. Using custom color profiles
      54s
    6. Shooting slow motion
      1m 19s
    7. Getting a beautiful shot
      3m 34s
  6. 13m 33s
    1. Why use Premiere Pro for editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Transcoding video
      2m 29s
    3. Combining video and audio streams
      2m 7s
    4. Cleaning up noise and adding grain
      3m 26s
    5. Color correcting footage
      4m 10s
  7. 6m 1s
    1. About DSLR pitfalls
      30s
    2. Avoiding rolling shutter
      51s
    3. Avoiding moiré
      1m 6s
    4. About limited latitude
      1m 56s
    5. About extreme compression
      1m 38s
  8. 7m 27s
    1. Why you need a monitor
      58s
    2. Using a viewfinder
      52s
    3. Stabilizing your camera
      1m 43s
    4. Moving your camera
      35s
    5. Using a follow focus
      37s
    6. Using a matte box
      1m 8s
    7. Using neutral density filters
      1m 34s
  9. 1m 17s
    1. The future of DSLR video
      54s
    2. Final thoughts
      23s

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