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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Do you like shooting with superwides?

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Personally I love shooting with a 16mm - gives a wide and / or intimate feel (depending on use) without feeling fisheye.

Wider than that is great fun but also very hard to justify in most contexts outside of necessity (super small locations) or a strong style choice. That said, big fan of barrel distortion and very wide lenses - just gotta know when it enhances and when it becomes overly apparent and breaks the immersion.

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I shot with the 14mm yesterday.  It was a very small room and I needed to see almost everything in it. And it saved the scene.  Couldn't tell this story without it.

This is only the 2nd time I've used the lens on this project, and it has remarkably little distortion, considering the field of view.  Perhaps, a 12mm would have been better, but... I didn't have one with us.

When you get to 9mm, that is really kind of a "fish eye" effect, and one needs to be careful that one doesn't see one's feet or the tripod in the shot 🙂  And moving the camera with a 9mm really shows off the distortion and creates a kind of dreamy effect, especially on a Steadicam where the speed change of the steps becomes quite pronounced.

Most of all, I'm grateful that the producers haven't demanded that I send the lens back to the rental house, as I use it so little.  But, I can't accurately predict when it will be the very thing needed when we're shooting.  So, these two shots will actually cost an extra $1000, but really really worth it to me!

 

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I love super-wides for handheld long-take shots. It's stabilization via the lens

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I just directed a short and we leaned quiet heavily on the 14mm. In the past I usually shoot on longer lenses. 

Shooting on wider lenses was a conscious effort to push myself out of my comfort zone and embrace a stronger look. Hopefully I won't be cursing myself when I start the edit  

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No, I'm not a wide lens lover. They pull me out of a film - too freakish. For me the sweet range is mids - 25, 27, 32, 35, 40mm. That's where it's at for me. I could do an entire movie with just those. But there are times when you must use wider lenses. But I never carry wider than 18mm on a regular job. And I almost never have to break it out.

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I tend to avoid the super-wides, they call attention to themselves. I'm always a bit uncomfortable when the most interesting aspect of the shot is the lens used rather than what is front of the lens.  However, there are moments when I like that look, like when there is a slow push-in and it has a Cinerama feeling.

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There are also some situations when you use an ultra-wide lens to show the whole room or do the classic overhead bedroom shot, and the focal length doesn’t draw attention to itself because there’s nothing close to the lens to give away the perspective. In those cases, it’s a fantastic tool to get the shot.

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On “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” we do a lot of complex Steadicam masters, often 360 degrees moving in tight quarters, so we can’t use longer lenses plus we generally don’t get tighter than waist-up — on the other hand, we avoid super wide-angle lenses because of the distortion and how they make people look odd. We’ve settled on shooting most of the show on a 24mm, which given that we shoot 3.2K on the Alexa, is more like a 23mm. We sometimes use a 21mm and once or twice had to use the 17.5mm. Our close shots are done on a 30mm or 35mm. We sometimes use longer lenses, especially when covering a stage performance with multiple cameras.

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I'd think of 24 (or 21) as fairly wide, I guess.

I had to get an old 17mm Tokina lens to round out my motley collection of stuff. The shortest I had otherwise was 28mm, which is fine for most purposes but I found more was required particularly on things like architecture. Not something you'd use on a conventional interior, I think.

P

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8 hours ago, Adam Frisch FSF said:

No, I'm not a wide lens lover. They pull me out of a film - too freakish. For me the sweet range is mids - 25, 27, 32, 35, 40mm. That's where it's at for me. I could do an entire movie with just those. But there are times when you must use wider lenses. But I never carry wider than 18mm on a regular job. And I almost never have to break it out.

Same here. Almost never go wider than 25mm, and increasingly never go longer than 50mm.

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I love a good superwide when there's cause for it. My favourite focal length (if I had to pick one) is probably a 21mm (on S35mm), which seems to be about as wide as you can go without perspective distortion starting to make things look weird.

But there's so many interesting things you can do with an ultrawide perspective.

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It depends on the project, but I like wides such as a 18mm or a 20mm working in Super 35 or Alexa 3.2K. And I also like a lot when you’re using these wides and then you put a 32mm or 35mm on the camera and suddenly it looks like a much longer lens than it really is, just because you’re used to the wide angle look. 

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I like wider shots in general, but not on super wide lenses.  Something I remember Adam Frisch (and others) mentioning in the past.  I really like a longer lens "wide" shot if there's the space to do it.

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I agree with Adam. I really don't like the wide angle lenses myself. 

For my documentary work, I generally use something on the wide side, but for S35mm narrative work, I try to make a 24mm work. If it doesn't, I'll go down to a 18mm, but nowhere less. 

I own two S35mm lenses a 24mm and a 50mm. On S16, it's the same, my go-to lenses are a 12mm and 24mm. Sometimes I'll go wider for an insert, or longer to create more depth, but they're one-off occasions. 

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As much as I love the look of wide-angle lenses, supers included, I also have to go with the general consensus that super-wides are an infrequent use. I love the fisheye look in POV shots like as seen in something like The Fifth Cord but I don't see the distortion being particularly great / fitting elsewhere (at least for me personally). The only super-wide I can think of that can be argued as something that can be used more regularly in a production is the Tegea 9.8mm since it has very low distortion, though it's not particularly amazing (it can be provide a dreamy look but it's mostly just soft as a whole) other than that and its reputation as being a Kubrick favorite.

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