Another week in the books for the 52 Week Anamorphic Cinematography Challenge! This is week four and the assignment was Portrait: Headshot with the instructions being "You shot a selfie, now shoot a "selfie" of someone else!".
For this shoot I decided to film outside my apartment building in front of a brick wall that made for a great background. My good friend Ryan McKiernan was kind enough to be my model for this week.
This was a great opportunity for me to test out how the anamorphic lens makes skin tones look at a medium aperture. So without further ado, let's take a look at the video for week four!
I shot this with my BMPCC in 1080 30P compressed CinemaDNG RAW, 400ASA, 150 degree shutter, with my vintage Kamero 35mm SLR lens at f5.6 with the adapted B&L 2X Anamorphic Projector lens attached.
I set up this shot at night so that even though I lit it to be relatively bright, it would still maintain a harsher look lighting wise. I didn't want everything to be evenly lit, I wanted to still have small shadows showing texture and contrast.
To light this I used a pretty simple set up. I had two 500watt halogen work lights lighting the scene. One was pretty close to the side of Ryan, so I put up a scrim in front of it to soften that light. The other light was a bit further away and had no diffusion so that it would remain a harder light.
For additional texture I decided to have Ryan smoking a cigarette. This added in the texture of the paper, the burning cherry and ash, and then of course the smoke. I also really liked how this shot turned out because it gets a nice sharp shot of him lighting his smoke before tilting up over his face.
Right off the bat I knew that I wanted this shot to have the slightly uncomfortable feel of direct eye contact so I had Ryan look directly into the camera at all times. This also fit the requirement (in my opinion at least) of this being a headshot better than if he were to be looking off elsewhere in the frame.
This week was also filmed using the FOTGA +2 Macro lens attachment that was used last week to achieve a closer minimum focus distance. I can not say truly how impressed I actually am with this macro lens. It cost me $6 and yet it shoots great, sharp images and doesn't introduce a butt-load of Chromatic Aberrations! A miracle I tell you! Okay enough promoting of the macro lens, onward with the shoot!
This did make it slightly challenging to get as much of Ryan's face in frame as I had originally envisioned, but in the end I really like the way that the shot turned out.
I was also surprised by how shallow the depth of field was even shooting at f5.6. I did a test shot without the macro lens and the depth of field was definitely far from shallow, so obviously it was due to the lens attachment. But that doesn't change my level of surprise when I reviewed the footage.
Now of course the depth of field is still not very shallow compared to if I had shot at f2.8 or had been using a faster lens, but none the less it came out looking really good.
I also noticed that when using the macro lens attachment, the background tends to fall off in the focus quickly, but the focus on Ryan wasn't very shallow. His hands and face were at different distances from the camera but were both sharp and in focus.
When you look at his torso you can see that it is slightly soft but still relatively in focus until the very back edges of his shoulders.
The more that I shoot with this anamorphic lens set up, not only do I fall more in love with the anamorphic look, but I have been more and more impressed by the BMPCC. This camera is phenomenal. The images that come out of it in 1080 are 100% better looking than those that come out of my DSLR.
If you are participating in the 52 Week Photography Challenge or are doing your own Cinematography Challenge, please post this week's shot in the comments below!