May 27, 2014

Tutorial: Master the Concept of Perspective & Take Your Footage to the Next Level

When you first start shooting photos and videos, understanding the basic differences between lenses is pretty simple -- the way your images change between a wide angle and telephoto lens, for example, is overt. However, learning how to use perspective and field of view to your image's advantage can really help you capture the look you're going for, and Steve Perry shows you how to do that (using landscapes as an example) in this tutorial. Find out how to utilize the concept of perspective in order to become more intentional as you capture your shots.

Lenses are powerful, powerful tools that can govern the look and cinematic quality of your footage -- most know that. They can control how much depth of field you can capture, as well as how much light will be available for an exposure. These are all very basic things that you will (or have) learned as you get started, but there are some more advanced image capturing concepts that once learned, will help you take your footage to the next level.

Perry demonstrates the concept of perspective with a focus on landscapes -- landscape photography, actually. However, his tips definitely transfer over to all different types of filmmaking. And when we talk about perspective, we don't just mean the view from where you place your camera, like a high angle wide shot for example. We're talking about how large or small foreground and background elements appear, as well as how near and far apart those elements seem to be within the frame.

By watching the tutorial below, you'll be able to see how to make subtle changes to your images when using wide angle, long focus, and zoom lenses in order to truly be the master of what you capture.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C977pT2rmpY

What are your thoughts on the tutorial? Do you have any tips on how to better understand the concept of perspective? Let us know in the comments below!

[via Steve Perry & Filmmaker IQ]

Your Comment

32 Comments

the one in your bag...

May 27, 2014 at 8:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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sean

What's the best lens for the job?

Yes.

May 27, 2014 at 9:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bertzie

Any wide-angle lens.

May 28, 2014 at 4:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tom DoP

10 minutes of blablablablabla.

May 28, 2014 at 4:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tom DoP

+1000

... pass on this article

May 28, 2014 at 3:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Adam

I like how the commentators here seem like hacks. "The one in your bag" is hacky.

May 28, 2014 at 8:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Muh

But human subjects ?? I guess everyone has seen this image or similar:-
http://photoflex.ehclients.com/images/uploads/Blog/Jay%20P%20Morgan%20-%...
If you were making a film and thought in terms of close up, medium shot, long shot etc, which image is "correct" given the face seems to change shape with the lens ?

May 28, 2014 at 10:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Saied

It strongly depends on the lens quality.

While I can shoot with my good 21mm without having any barrel effect, there may be lenses out there that have a terrible distortion like the one at 20mm in your postet picture.

May 28, 2014 at 1:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tom DoP

It actually depends on what you are trying to express in your film. If you have seen the 12 Monkeys by Terry Gilliam, he uses a wide angle, probably a 24mm in the shots that are in the mental asylum, and its such a subtle effect, but it makes the subject seem a lot closer to our field of view, and shows us more of the background as well, giving a pretty disorienting feel. Whereas, in the shots where a longer lens is used, yeah, we get closer cropping to the subject, but we are also moved away from the scene. Depends on what you are shooting, and why. The tutorial is very effective, helps you understand how you can use Field of View, and what it is, its up to you to apply it.

May 28, 2014 at 9:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Navin

Agreed. The tutorial was effective.

June 9, 2014 at 5:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Altus Firh

If you want a weird effect, something off, then use a really wide angle for a close-up portrait. If you want a beautiful portrait shot, better use 85-120mm (50mm might do, but its not perfect)

May 30, 2014 at 9:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Heiko

I would not call this a tutorial.

May 28, 2014 at 7:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

7
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yeah, that's really not a useful video in any way

May 28, 2014 at 11:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jobby

Aren't most "normal feel" or "neutral" indoor/studio scenes and portraits shot with 35-50mm mostly? Zoom in for a more claustrophobic feel. Fisheye for the unbalancing. Zoom out for smallness/abandonment and so forth?

May 29, 2014 at 2:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Someone just did a decent article on primes for GH4 (OK, this is not for pros, but nonetheless)
http://suggestionofmotion.com/blog/panasonic-gh4-lens-options-primes/

May 29, 2014 at 2:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

For movie making it's typically better not to use zoom lenses as it radically changes the relationship between objects. Certainly it's better to zoom with your feet if you're creating coverage that needs to cut together in a sequence. But I agree that zooming can you achieve a desired perspective needed for the shot that cannot be achieved with physical movement and a fixed lens alone.

So I would use this advice for framing and composition, but you have to be careful when shooting sequences. They may end up just as jarring as some of the jump cuts in this tutorial.

May 29, 2014 at 5:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Can help you achieve. Typo.

May 29, 2014 at 5:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Really? Why did you guys post this?

A zoom lens is fine if you know what you're doing? you don't just walk around a zoom in or zoom out to be lazy, you still need to maintain constancy. Shooting your wides at matching focal lengths and same goes for mediums and c/u. A zoom can be your best friend for constancy and time saving if you use it like its a prime. I'd prefer a zoom for the way it makes the camera feel on a tripod or if I know I need to gather as much coverage as possible in a given time. Primes for steady cam or anything where you need something fast. Hard to have a favorite lens...28mm 40mm....600mm Whatever it might be the only way to figure it out is to shoot and cut...and watch your favorite films. There's no real talk in this about camera position in relation to an operator and subject. No shit, things warp, you move to compensate. And as mentioned most cinema lenses aren't going to warp until you hit an extreme wide like 21 and under.

May 29, 2014 at 1:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bar

These guys are really bad by the way...

May 29, 2014 at 1:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bar

Lightweight zooms are used on Steadicam all the time when you need something fast...cuz you don't have to recalibrate focus (let alone dock to swap out lens) and if the operator and/orDP and/or director guessed wrong (you wanted a 27mm or 28mm, but can't move back enough without running into the lights or a wall or whatever so you're stuck with. 24mm or 25mm), it's quick to fix. And Steadicam lets you move much more quickly (because you can walk closer or further more easily than with a tripod, or especially a dolly). LWZs are used all the time, like the Angenieux 16-42 and on low budget stuff my favorite lens is the Red Pro Zoom 17-50...cuz it covers every focal length you would almost ever use handheld or Steadicam.

June 5, 2014 at 3:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

When you said "primes for something fast", I just read it to mean set up fast (which zooms are quicker at)...I just realized you're talking about a faster t-stop. Ha ha.

A faster t-stop for steadi can be a bad move for focus. My favorite is running around in the dark on a 35 or 50 at T1.4 or 1.5!

June 5, 2014 at 3:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

I found this video very helpful and even played it for my Cinematography students, some of who are still wrapping their minds around the idea of what perspective and focal length are. Sure, this was over simplified and I might not agree with everything he said but it's a great resource for showing the effect of perspective and focal length.

May 30, 2014 at 2:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tim

There's a great lens test by Shane Hurlbut, ASC, where he compares Leica and Cooke lenses during shooting prep for the film "Fathers and Daughters": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5febma4_OE

May 31, 2014 at 7:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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exactly right! Prime lenses are everything , cropping with zoom lenses is for amateurs
Prime lens and dolly shots gives you the best perspective.
The same goes for filming with just one aperture f8 i.e. and use ND filters to compensate the light

June 2, 2014 at 2:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Heuvelink

Right, zooms are only for amateurs. Angenieux only makes lenses for hobbyists.

June 5, 2014 at 3:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

Perfect tut. More from this dude please.

June 3, 2014 at 2:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Steve

Great work! That is the type of info that are meant to be shared around the net.

Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this post
upper! Come on over and talk over with my site . Thank you =)

June 3, 2014 at 5:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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August 16, 2014 at 9:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Personally I'm taking drawing lessons at the same time than cinematography lessons and it really helps! because while taking drawing lessons you learn that the image you see is a matter of perspective and point of view and you also learn to compose a frame and how the light affects the color of an object according to the place it comes from.

May 18, 2015 at 9:22AM, Edited May 18, 9:22AM

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Steve Wild
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