Here's a Lesson from Pixar on How to Choose Your Lenses
In filmmaking, perspective is everything.
If you have a question about how to tell stories, whether through screenwriting or cinematography, Pixar is always a great place to start. Luckily for us, Pixar has teamed up with Khan Academy to produce a bunch of great filmmaking lessons and tutorials for their teaching series "Pixar in a Box," and in this video, DP Patrick Lin and camera lead Adam Habib, both of who worked on Inside Out, explain how to approach and create a crucial concept in storytelling: perspective.
Though Lin and Habib teach this lesson through the lens (pun intended) of animation using virtual cameras, the concepts apply in the real world, too. Shot size, angle, and depth of field are all elements that make up a shot and determine the perspective. Using a wide angle lens, for example, will give you a larger field of view and less depth of field than a telephoto lens, so perspective changes depending on not only your aesthetic choices like those previously mentioned, but also on your lens choices. This is why picking which lenses to use for different scenes is crucial to storytelling, because a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens won't often tell the same story.
If you want to learn more about cameras, lenses, and all of their key cinematic and aesthetic concepts, I highly, highly suggest you check out Pixar in a Box. There are 10 subjects in all, including "effects", "rigging", "character modeling", and "sets and staging" where Pixar alums share invaluable filmmaking wisdom and know-how within the learning platform of Khan Academy. So—it's basically free online film school, complete with videos, written lessons, quizzes, and more.