What lens was used to get this shot?
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Topic: What lens was used to get this shot?

  1. #1
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    Default What lens was used to get this shot?

    Basically it's the shot here at 3:17 into the clip:



    I like how the lens is able to track the vehicle for so long while panning and I wanted do something similar with a vehicle on the highway for a shoot but does anyone know what focal length is needed to hold a fast moving vehicle for that long?

    Or better yet, is there anyway to tell when watching the movie, so I can figure it out myself? Like is there anyway to measure the focal length from the viewing the shot somehow?

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    Last edited by ironpony; 09-11-2018 at 03:51 AM.
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    It's difficult to know without knowing the distance from the camera to the train or what camera was used. If I had to guess I'd say a 18-300 zoom with a DSLR could do this.

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    Okay thanks. The camera store only has 70-300 zooms for my Canon, that go up to 300mm. Which lens particularly goes all the way from 18-300mm, if you were thinking of a particular one?

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    Nikon has an 18-300mm zoom for their dslr's. Canon makes a 28-300mm lens. Used it's about $1500 or you could rent it. With a 75-300 lens you may not be able to get far enough away from the subject to get a wide angle shot.

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    Oh okay thanks. You say I would not be able to get far away enough from the subject for wide shots with the 70-300mm. However, are you suggesting that I just use that one lens for the whole movie shoot though? Are wouldn't I just use the 70-300 for long shots?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Oh okay thanks. You say I would not be able to get far away enough from the subject for wide shots with the 70-300mm. However, are you suggesting that I just use that one lens for the whole movie shoot though? Are wouldn't I just use the 70-300 for long shots?
    No, but in the shot on the train the lens zooms from a wide shot of the train to a more closeup shot of the guy on top of the train, so from wide angle to telephoto. I thought you were looking to do a shot like that with one lens. I guess it depends on how much distance you have from the camera to the subject. With enough distance the 75mm could do a wide enough shot then zoom in closer.

    But giving this some more thought, the camera must have been a good distance from the train in order to keep the train squarely in the frame for an extended time period without a cut. The train stays in the frame for about 5 or 6 seconds between cuts. At 40 miles an hour I think that works out to about 350 ft. of travel between cuts. If it was just a block or two away the side of the train would have gone out of the frame in seconds. So the 75-300mm might work fine considering the train may have been several hundred yards or more away from the camera.

    Last edited by bobspez; 09-11-2018 at 06:01 PM.
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    Oh sorry for not being specific enough. I mean the shot of the train with the guy far away, what focal length would that be?

    But now that you mention it, what focal length is used on the close up as well?

    I tried a 70-300mm on this clip. It's zoomed to 300mm here:



    I tried it on my friend running. However, that's only a person running. When it comes to a moving vehicle that is much more fast than a person, are they going to be in and out too fast, if a person can only be held for this long on 300mm before starting to go in and out?

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    The person was jogging about a 7 minute mile or about 8 miles an hour. Your clip was 19 seconds. If a car was going 24 mph your clip would last about 6 seconds which was the length of the train clips. Now if you doubled the distance from the camera you could get get a 6 second clip of a car going 48mph. That's what I meant about the distance to the camera being a key factor. Even if the car only filled less than half the frame height at double the distance, you could zoom in on the frame (crop the frame) in post production.

    Last edited by bobspez; 09-12-2018 at 09:58 AM.
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    Okay thanks, are you saying that my lens is long enough or do I need a longer one though?

    Also, I don't want to zoom in post production cause that cuts down on video quality though.

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  10. #10
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    I don't know what you plan to film, at what speed and from what distance and for how long per clip, and what camera you are using.

    Using the lady in your test, if you want to retain that quality and fill the height of the frame with her like you did, but from twice the distance so you could shoot twice as long, you would need a 150-600mm zoom or a 600mm prime. Substituting a car or SUV for the lady, that might get you 6 seconds of a car travelling about 50mph with pretty good quality, filling most of the height of the frame and no cropping in post. If you look at the train clip, the video quality was extremely poor, probably because of the distance to the train and the snow.

    What camera did you use for the test? You need to factor in the sensor crop factor to get an equivalent focal length for any lenses you will use.

    You can buy a cheap used superzoom bridge camera like the Canon SX50 on ebay for about $150, that has an equivalent focal length of 24mm to 1200mm, and shoots 1080P video at 24fps, that you can use to see what coverage you get at different equivalent focal lengths at different distances and speeds. This way you would know what focal length lens, depending on the crop factor of the camera you will use, you need to rent or buy. Or maybe it may be even be good enough to get the shot you need. The quality of a travelling car shot is never going to be what you get in a closeup of an actor. Look at the difference between the train shots and the cuts to the people behind bars in the film.

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    Okay thanks. A 150-600 is twice as much money though, and I would have to sell the 70-300 and perhaps take a hit for it. If it's worth it to get a better moving shot I will but wonder if I absolutely need the 150-600.

    But watching the clip again, I think if I could keep a car going for half the time, compared to the woman in the test, than that will be enough time or more than enough time maybe to hold a shot a car.

    I used the Canon T2i for the test. I zoomed in at 300mm, but I calculated that on a full frame that would be 200mm. Did I calculate correct?

    So if it would be 200mm on a full frame, then would 200mm be enough to hold a car for half that time, if the car was driving down the highway, at highway speed?

    What do the cuts to the people behind the bars have to do with close up quality difference? Are you saying that the face is shaped nicer, when the camera is closer to the actor as oppose to zoomed in from far away?

    But I will do some tests on cars and see.

    Last edited by ironpony; 09-12-2018 at 05:03 PM.
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    A Canon t2i has a 1.6x crop factor, so your 300 mm lens is equivalent to a 480mm lens on a full frame camera. The faces of the people are much better resolution than the train. The train footage is quite coarse and grainy. The further you are from the subject, the poorer the resolution.

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    Oh okay, so the glass of the lens, effects the resolution then, depending on the zoom range?

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    I'm not sure why. But if you look look at anything taken at a distance with a long lens you never get the detail you would at say 25 ft. away. Here's a test pic taken at 400 ft. with a 300mm lens on a Nikon1 J1 camera. That camera has a crop factor of 2.7x because it has a 1" CX sensor. So the equivalent focal length is 810mm. If you look at the car, the street sign, etc. you can see it's just not as sharp as if I had taken the pic at 25 ft. away.

    P.S. I can't attach a pic for some reason.

    Attached Images Attached Images What lens was used to get this shot?-j1-300mm-400_ft-jpg 
    Last edited by bobspez; 09-13-2018 at 07:29 AM.
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    Oh okay, so you are saying that zooming in causes the image to not be as sharp then, basically, as oppose to getting closer?

    That's not necessarily bad though is it, as long as it's in focus? Basically I want to do some chase scenes for a project which is why I got the long lens. I want to do a couple of running chases in a script, and instead of getting a glidecam, or a gimbal, or something like that and moving along with the actor, I thought it would be more simple just to follow on a really long lens instead. However, for face close ups during the chase, I would be panning along on the long lens as well.

    So do you think that lack of detail in the long lens on face close ups, could be a problem? I mean I noticed a lack of sharpness a little bit but I didn't think it was too bad, but is it?

    Last edited by ironpony; 09-13-2018 at 01:48 PM.
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  16. #16
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    Yes, closer is always sharper than using a telephoto at a distance. But I would say you have to test it out to know. You can test it out yourself with your camera and 300mm lens just by filming a parked car and driver at a distance. I think you ought to be able to fill more than half the height of the frame at about 100ft. with your 300mm lens. But only testing will show you if it's what you want.

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    Oh okay thanks. Well so far I feel the sharpness is okay from the footage I have shot and tested out so far. Do you think that when it comes to doing chase scenes it's a good lens? As long as I can hold a car, and track it for like 5 seconds that should be enough. It doesn't have to be as long as in the video of the woman running, but I think 5 seconds is enough, if it can do that.

    Otherwise I would upgrade to a 600mm but don't think that is necessary, but what do you think?

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  18. #18
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    I think the 300mm lens should be fine. Good luck.

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    Okay thanks. But in the Runaway Train clip, is there anyway to tell what focal length is used, especially in the close up of the guy's face?

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  20. #20
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    No, because you don't know how far the camera was from the train. It could have been 50 yards or a quarter of a mile. With the closeup you also don't know how far the camera was from the faces. The closer it was the smaller the focal length needs to be. I've shot flowers with a 15mm lens from a few inches and with a 300 mm lens from 40 ft. and the flowers would be the same size in the frame. I think the only people who would know would be the crew that shot the movie.

    Last edited by bobspez; 09-13-2018 at 05:57 PM.
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    Okay thanks, it makes it hard to decide if I should keep the 300 or not. But I will do some car tests and see.

    Mainly I am doing it this way with a long lens on a tripod, so I don't have to move along with the actors on a gimbal or something like that. But why do other DPs prefer gimbals over panning with telephoto lenses? Any particular reason?

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  22. #22
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    You're welcome. I really don't know. You would have to ask them. I always shoot videos with a tripod.
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Okay thanks, it makes it hard to decide if I should keep the 300 or not. But I will do some car tests and see.

    Mainly I am doing it this way with a long lens on a tripod, so I don't have to move along with the actors on a gimbal or something like that. But why do other DPs prefer gimbals over panning with telephoto lenses? Any particular reason?


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    Okay thanks. I tried a close up test before of my friend at 1:!6 into this video:



    The lens is close up on her face, but the shot doesn't last near as long before she starts to go further away out of the lens. I see what you mean about it not looking as sharp on a close up. What do you though?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Okay thanks. I tried a close up test before of my friend at 1:!6 into this video:



    The lens is close up on her face, but the shot doesn't last near as long before she starts to go further away out of the lens. I see what you mean about it not looking as sharp on a close up. What do you though?

    What was the distance from the camera to the subject?

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    About maybe 20 or 30 feet maybe. I should have measured exactly. I can do some more tests and measure.

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    I noticed that she walked out of focus. I think you would have to use manual focus during the clip to keep her in focus. If you autofocused by half pressing the shutter during the video you would see the lens hunting to get in focus again which you would need to edit out or cut to another scene to cover up.
    On the gun shots, did you want the gun out of focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    About maybe 20 or 30 feet maybe. I should have measured exactly. I can do some more tests and measure.


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  27. #27
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    Yep I would normally pull focus when she walks away, I was just having trouble since it's a new lens for me, and it's not as sharp, like you said, so I was having trouble with the focus and need to get use to it.

    As for the gun, I don't really mind if it's out of focus as long as the person's eyes are in focus, cause that is what I wanted the audience to look at more, was the eyes. I was testing out the compression of how close I can make the gun look to the face, while zoomed in. Is the gun being out of focus, not as nice looking compared to both the actor and the gun being in focus simultaneously?

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  28. #28
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    It's an artistic choice.

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    Perhaps the gun being out of focus hides that it's fake, but maybe it still looks real enough.

    What do you think of the zoom though at 1:33 into the video? Like if I have a scene where I want to do a fast zoom, do you think it looks good for a zoom or what?

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  30. #30
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    Looks good at 1:33. Gun looks good too.

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    Okay thanks, cause the zoom goes out of focus temporarily and comes back into focus. Would audiences find that too strange, since it's not intentional, and a defect on the lens?

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    OK, I was confused. I meant to say the man with the gun at 1:38 looked good. The fast zoom at 1:33 doesn't. Maybe you could try slowing the zoom out down to 2-3 seconds in post.


    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Okay thanks, cause the zoom goes out of focus temporarily and comes back into focus. Would audiences find that too strange, since it's not intentional, and a defect on the lens?


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    Oh okay. if I do that in post though, then it looks like slow motion. What is wrong with the zoom that I can work on?

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    If you like I'll take a few seconds of your clip and edit the zoom and post it on youtube as a test so you can see it. I'm using Adobe Premiere Pro as the editor. But it's an artistic choice. What I like, you may not.
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Oh okay. if I do that in post though, then it looks like slow motion. What is wrong with the zoom that I can work on?


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    Oh okay thanks but you don't have to do that :).

    I actually wanted a quick zoom like the ones in The Wild Bunch. An example is at 1:38 into this clip:



    How can I do a fast zoom like that, and make it look good?

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  36. #36
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    First zoom in is to a cut, the second is a zoom out. I'm prett sure they were done by the cameraman. I guess you just have to practice.

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    Okay thanks. But's that I what I did in my shot, was a zoom out right? What's the difference between mine and that one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Okay thanks. But's that I what I did in my shot, was a zoom out right? What's the difference between mine and that one?
    I think your's was a little faster zoom but the main difference is in the movie clip the girl stays in focus during the zoom out and in your clip the focus is blurred during the zoom out. Watch both zooms on youtube and set the youtube settings to .25 speed. You will see what I mean. I'm only an amateur but because it's digital (those movies were film) I tend to cover up my mistakes in the editor. To get a zoom out like in the movie you would have to practice. Also some lenses are parfocal, so if you zoom in or out you stay in focus. Many lenses aren't, which would make it pretty hard to stay in focus during the zoom out.

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    Okay thanks. Do you think that the lens going out of focus for a fraction of a second is a big deal though? Two other people told me they thought it was okay and didn't think anything of it, but what do you think, is it bad? Like one person told me that it looks like a rack focus, and since rack focusing is so common in movies, the audience should accept it, like they would a rack focus, but will they?

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  40. #40
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    It's an artistic choice. It's up to you.

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    Super Moderator   What lens was used to get this shot? What lens was used to get this shot? What lens was used to get this shot? What lens was used to get this shot? mara's Avatar
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    And on that note, I declare this discussion finished.

    Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com
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