fusion models. There are also the fixed-focus 135mm and 200mm,
telephoto and super and several other zoom lengths. You’ll most likely be
interested in the 70mm–200mm due to its relative ease of
telephoto lenses use and reasonable price. You’ll see photographers most
frequently with the ƒ/2.8, and it’s definitely the workhorse.
But at 3.24 lbs., it’s a pretty big boy. I certainly use it when
i ’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!
Gloria Swanson’s famous line to director Cecil B.
DeMille provided the inspiration for my discussion of
telephoto lenses. Close-up (CU) shooting is definitely where
it’s at if you want impact in your films.
working on a tripod to get the benefit of the extra ƒ/stop,
but you’ll usually find me with the ƒ/4 model, which is half
the weight and two-thirds of the cost.
Super telephotos are another breed of cat at 400mm,
500mm, 600mm, and 800mm. If you look at the higher end
In fact, close-up shooting is a big challenge for everybody— of super telephoto lenses, you’ll see that you can spend less
videographer, director, scriptwriter, editor, actor, and, of money on a new car. A usual job tends to demand that I be
course, makeup and hair design. Think of it this way: Every physically close, mixing right into the action. If you have
possible flaw or error is blatantly obvious at close range, and the funds, buy a super telephoto, but be aware that you may
this fact is magnified in the HD/DSLR era. It’s easy to see not use it all that often (unless you’re a wildlife shooter),
how the actor and his or her makeup and wardrobe and you’ll have to learn an entirely different method of
attendants have a major stake in how the close-up looks. For support for your camera and tracking of your subjects.
the young and beautiful, the tiniest wrinkle is a grand Think lions and tigers and bears!
disaster. A mature actor generally wants to appear in the best Back to how and why we use tight shots for the best visual
light. And if playing a very old character, both actor and payoff. Getting right in the face of the character and action
audience want the magic of brush and pencil to be seamless creates the strongest emotional reaction from the audience.
and believably real, even at a distance of just a few inches. As a child I was so terrified by the warty witch filling the
Close-ups can be compared to golf. The long drive, or screen of Snow White that I hid under the seat. The scene had
beautiful wide shot, is all for show. Putting the ball a few an undeniably effective impact! But close-ups have to be
inches from the hole is akin to shooting a meaningful close- used sparingly and at just the right moments. If you use too
up: It’s where you make your money or come up short. many tight shots, viewers can easily be put off—not just with
A great example of the importance of close-ups is James the sensation that their personal space is being invaded but,
Cameron’s Avatar. Just like DeMille’s sweeping epic views worse, that the overall meaning of the action is unclear
that made similarly huge box office success, Avatar’s because the wider picture is not shown. Dialogue and action
panoramic scenes put on quite a show. But