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Old October 20th, 2012, 05:12 PM   #1
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Lens whacking the photoshoot

Seems to be a split on this forum between people who enjoy the photoshoot, and people who think, basically, that the photoshoot is for photos, and that standing and posing makes for boring video. I tend to fall in the latter camp. You've done the roundie roundie, you've taken shots of them posing and kissing and walking, you've taken shots of the photographer taking shots, you've done push ins and pull outs and reveals... Now what? Have them jump in the air? Go through a list of staged set-ups?

Well, one thing I've been meaning for months to try... perhaps will test it out next Saturday... is lens-whacking (probably combined with a few Dutch angles). The idea is to create a feeling of nostalgia or wistfulness or contemplation or events dimly remembered or details that stand out in memory. (And I think, by the way, that this is a mood that wedding videos seldom go for -- they tend, instead, towards excitement or fun or happiness or celebration, or, sometimes, a sort of distanced beauty.)

Thinking of James Miller's couture video especially:

People seem to play around with lens flare a lot during photoshoots, and, along these lines, I've sometimes found that the way light into the lens can milk out the whole frame can be an interesting effect. Experimenting with full-on lens-whacking seems to be the next logical step -- not only playing with light leaks and flares, but also tilt-shift effects, handheld effects...

By the way, one of the things that most strike me about the video above is the deers in headlights -- all the people who looked stunned when they first notice the camera, or who don't want to be videoed.

Last edited by Adrian Tan; October 20th, 2012 at 06:22 PM.
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Old October 20th, 2012, 05:46 PM   #2
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Re: Lens whacking the photoshoot

Seems like a nice idea - i might try it for my next wedding or at an egagement shoot. Is it true you need a nikon lens to do this properly rather than an EF or FD mount canon lens? If so thats annoying. (something to do with mount/flange distances or something like that i recall.
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Old October 20th, 2012, 08:42 PM   #3
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Re: Lens whacking the photoshoot

Hi Adrian

I fall into the second category too. I really cannot see the point of shooting video of the photographer taking stills of the bridal party. (Unless you are making a promo for the photog!!)

I find that photogs are happier on their own and not having to share time with me so after the ceremony and formals, I grab the couple and take them away for 15 odd minutes and do a stedicam shoot set to their favorite romantic song and they love it....lots of roundie rounds and generally creative shots and usually slowed down 50% too. I know it's corny but they seem to love it.

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Old October 21st, 2012, 11:34 AM   #4
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Re: Lens whacking the photoshoot

Lens whacking is good if you have lots of time to play around and experiment; realize that the majority of the footage will probably not be usable. Lens whacking can be very unpredictable. Also keep in mind that the effect cannot be reversed, so never attempt it on something like the ceremony itself, unless you have a dedicated shooter only for experimentation.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 01:33 PM   #5
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Re: Lens whacking the photoshoot

Here's mine.

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Old October 24th, 2012, 06:37 AM   #6
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Re: Lens whacking the photoshoot

I've been playing around with some lens whacking for a while now and trying to determine where I can fit it into a wedding day shoot.

This weekend we have a wedding and have decided to go for it at the evening part of the wedding. Lots of sparkling lights people dancing etc, should creat a nice mood. If it turns out ok we might try and incorporate it into some more of the wedding next time. We decided to go for this part as there will be two of us there and whilst i'll be lens whacking, the other person will be filming normally so it's not so drastic if we miss anything, or the shots don;t have the desired effect, we still have something to fall back on. Having the two angles isn't so important for this part of the day.

Here is a short clip of some lens whacking i did on holiday. It tails off towards the end.

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Old October 24th, 2012, 07:49 PM   #7
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Re: Lens whacking the photoshoot

Hi David, thanks for posting that. One thing you're making me think -- content of what one shoots really changes the meaning of the lens-whacking. In the couture video, maybe it suggests "This is a dream" or "This is a beautiful memory". In your video, because of the nightlife and street content, the lens whacking perhaps gives the point of view of someone who's drunk or otherwise out of it.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 09:15 AM   #8
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Re: Lens whacking the photoshoot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Bridgens View Post
Is it true you need a nikon lens to do this properly rather than an EF or FD mount canon lens? If so thats annoying. (something to do with mount/flange distances or something like that i recall.
Hi Robert, just did a quick test on this.

Basically, I was able to whack with a Canon lens, but only in a limited way. I know nothing about lens construction. It seemed like, with a 50mm lens, and focus set to infinity, I could focus on objects near me, but not objects further than a metre or two. Not sure why.

I'll be at an Indian wedding on Sunday. If there's lots of colourful saris, etc, maybe it'll be the perfect environment...
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Old October 29th, 2012, 07:17 AM   #9
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Re: Lens whacking the photoshoot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
Hi David, thanks for posting that. One thing you're making me think -- content of what one shoots really changes the meaning of the lens-whacking. In the couture video, maybe it suggests "This is a dream" or "This is a beautiful memory". In your video, because of the nightlife and street content, the lens whacking perhaps gives the point of view of someone who's drunk or otherwise out of it.
mmmm..well i was on Holiday, so to be fair I was probably under the influence of a few Mount Gay Rum's!!!
;)
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Old October 29th, 2012, 09:57 AM   #10
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Re: Lens whacking the photoshoot

By the way, I did try some whacking during the dancing at that Indian wedding. Wasn't brave enough to attempt it at other times during the day. The meaning of the whacking here was "Adrian is crap at whacking". 15 minutes of hopelessness later, I was yearning for something I was more familiar with.

It was basically pitch black with a disco ball for strobing illumination, and I don't think that helped. I think you get more typical lens whacking effects with continuous light. And I think slower-moving objects might better suit the style of it. But the main thing was that I didn't feel I understood the language. Didn't know what sorts of shots I was trying to achieve, or what I was going for. Didn't have enough practice at discovering what sorts of opportunities there are. With a 70-200, for instance, I can tell myself that I'm hunting for interesting moments tightly framed for emphasis, and there's not too many variables I have to worry about apart from composition. With lens whacking... I really don't know. You have variables of tilt/shift and games with light leaking to think about as well as composition, and, in James Miller's hands, these things have a temporal dimension. He isn't, like a photographer, looking for a static image, but is thinking about the effects of moving a lens flare across an image, etc, as well as taking advantage of the handheld nature of it to play with angles and movement.

Anyway, an alien language to me. Will have a rematch with lens-whacking at a photoshoot at sunset next weekend.
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Old October 30th, 2012, 10:59 AM   #11
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Re: Lens whacking the photoshoot

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Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
Hi Robert, just did a quick test on this.
It seemed like, with a 50mm lens, and focus set to infinity, I could focus on objects near me, but not objects further than a metre or two. Not sure why.
When you pull the lens off the camera, you are essentially incorporating the concept of an extension tube, which allows you to focus on close objects. You won't be able to focus at infinity. Generally, a short lens is easier to whack than a long one because you'll have less shaking and more depth of field.

You are correct in regards to creating images that suggest being drunk, on drugs, or even hallucinating. You are suggesting to the viewer that you can't focus or stay steady on your feet. For this reason, be careful when using it for weddings, there may or may not be appropriate times to use it. It is an effect, and effects must be used correctly and with purpose.
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