Lens choice affects everything about a scene in a movie. In this video for Vanity Fair, Newton Thomas Sigel explains some of the reasons why cinematographers choose wide angle, normal, and telephoto lenses.
Sigel is one of the best know Directors of Photography in Hollywood. He was the DP for films like "The Usual Suspects," "Drive," "Three Kings," and last year’s Queen mega-hit, "Bohemian Rhapsody" — all films with their own epic look. It’s safe to say he knows what he’s talking about.
In this short video published by Vanity Fair, he talks about and, best of all, demonstrates how wide angle, normal, and telephoto lenses make the same scene look different and why it’s important. He also uses footage from some of his movies to explain what feeling the director was trying to evoke in the audience and how the choice of lens and camera position played into it.
If you’ve ever felt claustrophobic watching a horror movie or detached from the action viewing a thriller, then you’ve felt the power of the cinematographer’s lens choice. Even if you’re familiar with the optical differences between wide angle and telephoto lenses, it’s still cool to see the impact demonstrated on screen. And, of course, you’ll be able to play around with the same ideas the next time you shoot portraits or a movie.