This week marks the first week of my 52 Week Anamorphic Cinematography challenge. The assignment for this week was a self portrait, which is the one I was dreading the most so it's great that I get to knock that one out of the way right of the bat! For those that are following the 52 Week Photography Challenge that are confused as to what version of the challenge I'm referring to, please check out our last blog post describing the challenge here:
My Adapted Anamorphic Challenge
Enough with the shameless self promotion, let's get on with it!
So where was I? Oh yes, self portrait. For my video self portrait I decided to set up right outside my apartment building on the steps in the evening. I like night exteriors generally, and the high contrast light of working in the evening sounded like a fun start to my anamorphic learning curve. Here is the video:
This was shot on my Black Magic Pocket Cinema camera at 1080 Compressed CinemaDNG Raw, ASA 800, 30FPS at f5.6. The lenses used were the vintage Bausch & Lomb 2X Anamorphic project lens and a vintage Kamero 35mm FD Mount SLR lens. I lit the scene with a combination of existing light in the stairway, two LED's and two 500Watt Halogen work lights.
My first biggest challenge with this was determining at what F stop to shoot. Normally, I tend to go for the lowest F Stop possible in this type of shooting situation for a nice and shallow depth of field. But this isn't really possible with the anamorphic lens to achieve a sharp image. Most reviews online from people using similar systems suggest always shooting at a minimum of f8.0 for a sharp image. I decided to experiment a bit though and only go to an F stop of 5.6 for this shot.
Due to the need to shoot at a higher F stop, it forced me to really take in the surroundings for the shot since there would be a deeper depth of field. This is why I decided that I would shoot in the stairway of my building. I thought that it would be a good location due to all of the lines present in the scene, from the vertical railing bars to the horizontal lines created by the siding.
Another difficulty with shooting this was the large minimum focus distance of this lens set up which is about 12 feet. This was difficult to achieve simply due to the lack of distance between the top of the stairs where I sat and the landing where the camera was placed.
This week, although challenging was fun but I'm glad to have it over with. I'm excited for the weeks to come where I get to be behind the camera rather than in front of it!
If you are participating in the 52 Week Photography Challenge, or have decided to also do a cinematography version of the challenge, please share your self portrait in the comments below!