How Lenses Assist in Storytelling. Part One: Lens Internal Characteristics. By Shane Hurlbut, ASC (01:22)

Posted: 05/29/2013 in Uncategorized

Posted by Shane Hurlbut, ASC on May 29, 2013 • 


(…) “The camera is a tool, but the glass serves as your eyes into the story.”

The lens’ traits can help tell your story. The look and feel of lenses, their characteristics of color and contrast rendition, are all relevant factors. For example, some lenses are cold, some have warmth, and many are yellow. My choice of lenses was paramount when I was slated to shoot The Greatest Game Ever Played. It was a period piece that took place between 1888 and 1912. Bill Paxton, the director, and I were both fans of the FSA (Farm Security Administration) photos featuring photographers Dorthea Lange and Walker Evans. They were mainly black and white images. There had just been some 1600 Kodachrome prints that were discovered in a trunk in someone’s attic, and they were reprinted in a book called Bound for Glory.

We chose this style to be the look of the movie. We worked to test every lens to try and recapture this imagery. We tried Panavision Primos, Cooke S4s, old Baltars, and Cooke Pancros. Ultimately, Bill Paxton and I settled on the Panavision Zeiss Ultra Speed Primes.”



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