When you watch a mainstream Hollywood movie, you would notice, the visual properties are completely different from a budget film and music videos. They don’t look like a documentary or television flick. It has a look of its own. A wider perspective, distinctive picture quality, aesthetic camera movements, and sometimes out-of-the-world color experience. Ever wondered why?
I was struggling with observation since my early childhood. Being an 80ies kid and not having a filmmaker uncle, I didn’t have the opportunity to investigate my concern practically, but I knew, there must be some pricey secrets and investments that are restricted only to the rich people.
Growing up around movies like Jurassic Park, Titanic, Rambo, Terminator, etc made me even have cinematic dreams, and I looked up to them.
Why do movies look different from music videos and commercials? This concern is the oldest one when it comes to Filmmakers. The questions go like this:
Is it because of the cameras being used?
Is it the locations that stand out from the rest?
Or is it the lenses and cinematographer?
The answer is, it’s a combination of all the mentioned factors with post-production effort.
SOON after the 80ies, the visuals got better and better and here we are now standing with a bunch of cameras and lenses, still overpriced and financially restricted to the big-budget movie giants.
In this article, I am going to list out the most used lenses of this decade. Some of the lenses are personal favorites of renowned filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Roger Deakins, Todd Philips, and Quentin Tarantino.
These lenses are yielding benchmark cinema performances and stand out from the rest of the lenses in the cinema industry.
Some of the most overused prime lenses are:
1: Arri signature primes:
These lenses come in various focal lengths and are made for Medium/large format cameras. The most commonly used signature primes are 32mm, 35mm, 40mm, and 24mm. Arri signature primes are used for its crisps Images. These lenses don’t distort and don’t flare when put to test. They have beautiful focus roll-off and subtle tones. The lens has consistent nice textures and rarely produces a noise when used in higher ISO. These lenses are used to shoot both wide shots and close-ups. Produces great depth of field and clean images
2: Cooke S4
These lenses are only 120 years old in the cinema industry comparable to other lenses in the same quality but still have made their place with their performance and versatility. In 2013 the company has earned Oscar Award for their innovation after which they gained positive attention from significant people. There are famous cinematographers who use these lenses in every project they do. In this decade Cooke lenses have made a remarkable change in the digital filmmaking process giving us the cinema look. The Cooke Look.
The Cooke lens gives you both speed and sharpness. They are known for a little amount of chromatic aberration which enhances the shots and gives a good contrast to your footage as well as produces good colors. The set of lenses when used suffices all your needs through an entire set. The lens is also known for the soft-focus falloff giving subjects in the images a touch of sweetness.
3: Leica Summilux-C
The Leica Summilux is developed by Ottomans and is a Band Pro brand specifically designed for cinema. These lenses are also known as the top-notch lens available in the Film-making industry. The specialty of the Leica lenses is that they are identical to look at (same length same width). The designer of the lens is Lan Niel (Oscar awarded)who is the same person who designed Panavision Primos. With precision design and built the lenses have a twenty-eight megapixels sensor which is compatible with up to 8k cameras. The beauty of the lenses is first seen in movies like Birdman, Whiplash, and Gone Girl.
4: Pena vision Primo
These Anamorphic lenses are known for their speed and artistic chromatic aberrations, high contrast and resolution, even field illumination, and negligible veiling glare, ghosting, and distortion which enhance the images to reach the cinema look. These lenses are too costly and are mostly rented because of the vintage optics being used. Also known for color balancing in focal lengths, these lenses can produce blue anamorphic flares without producing unwanted veiling glare.
Some of the popular zooms lenses are:
1: Pena vision primo 19/90mm
2: Fujinon Premista 80-250mm
3: Angenieux Optimo -24-290mm