September 3, 2016 at 1:42AM

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Lenses for Filmmaking

Hey guys, i have a question about purchasing lenses for film making.
At the moment, i own an 80d with 50mm 1.8 stm , and an 18 to 55 mm kit lens. Would both these lenses be sufficient enough for their respective focal lengths in a low light situation. Should i upgrade to a 17 to 50 2.8 ....or buy a cheaper long telephoto zoom lens to add to my arsenal,? what do you guys recommend (i am on a budget)

4 Comments

When you put the word "filmmaking" in the title of your question, it suggests that you are actually putting some intentionality into the scenes you shoot, not merely capturing the action at somebody else's event and editing the clips. If that's true, then lighting is your decision, not a given. And as a decision, you can choose whether, creatively, a noisy/grainy image is a good way to portray darkness (as many Hollywood movies have), or whether you want to shoot super-clean darkness, the way that many modern episodic shows are shot these days. The latter requires extraordinary amounts of lighting, which probably exceed your budget. And that problem is not easily fixed by swapping out an f5.6 zoom for an f2.8 zoom. To see this in the extreme, check out how they used more than a million watts of lighting to get a "dark" London at nighttime for the James Bond film Spectre: http://www.theasc.com/site/blog/thefilmbook/lighting-spectre/ . Bringing things back to earth for a moment, if the low-light scene is just a room in a house, you can obviously light it properly for a low-light look with just a few lamps, and that may well be within your budget. "Night, interior" is a lot less expensive to light than "Night, exterior".

On the other hand, if you are going to clubs and shooting inside other people's dark rooms, over which you have no control, then your 50 f1.8 provides you with a great tool to evaluate how much you should or need to spend chasing larger apertures. Shoot some footage at f2.0 at an ISO that gives you the right balance between highlights and shadows. Shoot some more at f2.8 at 2x the ISO. Repeat for f4.0, f5.6, and f8 (if you are not already past the ISO 25600 limit). Then evaluate your footage and ask yourself, where is the breakpoint between gritty-but-cool and too-gritty-for-me. That's the aperture you need for that scenario. You can then look at lenses in that range, your budget, and decide whether such shooting is going to make you happy or miserable.

September 3, 2016 at 4:39AM

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thank you so much Michael. Your method of repeating scenes with different apertures has really expanded my thought into what i need and what to use.

September 3, 2016 at 11:03PM, Edited September 3, 11:03PM

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ahmed
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Ahmed, thanks for thanking me in your comment. The best way to thank anybody for their answer is to actually upvote the answer. Which you may well have done, in which case I thank you for that. (There are trolls that come around at night to downvote answers. I try to ignore them.)

September 4, 2016 at 2:43AM

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New to this website. I've upvoted you :)

September 4, 2016 at 6:05AM

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ahmed
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