Shooting an Entire Video Project With One Prime Lens

Does it ever make sense to limit yourself to a single lens for filmmaking? Find out in this video.

In this video from Rubidium Wu for the Crimson Engine, he sits down to talk about the strategy behind using a single lens for filmmaking. Using one lens for an entire project may at first sound like it would be born out of budgetary reasons, however that’s not always the case. As Wu points out, having every scene shot with the same lens can actually be a deliberate artistic choice to bring unity to a film or video project. That’s not to say you can’t also reap the financial benefits of a single lens video and allocate that money elsewhere as a bonus.

Backing this notion up with some proof you can watch yourself, there have been many big-budget films that used just a single lens for their production. These include “Psycho,” “Birdman,” “The Godfather,” “The Royal Tennenbaums,” and others. If you’ve seen any of these films, you probably had no idea this was the case and that goes to show that the technique doesn’t inherently lead to stale moviemaking.

Have you ever shot an entire project with one lens? Would you do it again or did you find it to be too restrictive? Let us know in the comments below.

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Ryan Mense is a wildlife cameraperson specializing in birds. Alongside gear reviews and news, Ryan heads selection for the Fstoppers Photo of the Day.

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While I don't shoot video, I've spoken with plenty of photographers who have either done entire photo projects with a single prime lens or just used a single prime lens for decades (as in that was the only lens they owned and used for all of their photography). While I can understand the merits of using that consistent focal length, I don't have anything resembling the discipline to do it. I guess I'm too much of a gear nut.

Well, we spend our entire lives looking at the world through the same eyes, why not? I once did a wedding with a 50mm lens. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.

As Picasso once said "If I don't have blue, I use red". You have to get the best out of what you got and sometimes a limited choice stimulates creativity.