Once you practice with some of these basics, you can start exploring more professional equipment, like film cameras, matte boxes, microphone setups, and lenses. Cooke and Zeiss both make high-quality anamorphic lenses — and SLR Magic, Sirui, Meike, and DZOFilm are good budget-friendly brands to look into. Often, when using anamorphic lenses, light control is essential, so blockers and diffusers are common tools to help with that.
“Learn the basics. Learn about framing, learn the rule of thirds, and just learn about basic composition and basic lighting,” says Davis. Everything else will follow.
Beginner tips and tricks.
Lens exploration doesn’t have to be expensive and time-consuming, especially with some of these tricks.
Know your distances.
Anamorphic lenses usually come with many flaws, and that’s to be expected. But they can provide creative opportunities. Experiment and work with these distortions and odd artifacts of each lens to give your scenes some character. An important area to understand is how to calculate squeeze factors.
Depending on the type of lens you have, the image might distort by a factor of 1.3, 2, or greater. Learning how to de-squeeze your footage with editing software is critical. Bring your footage into Adobe Premiere Pro and use the Interpret Footage dialog box after a test shoot to see how the video will translate from lens to editing bay.
Digital cameras are your friends.
If you can’t afford a cinematic camera, opt for a mirrorless or DSLR camera. Many cinematic cameras are so expensive you need to rent them, and they often require bigger files and powerful editing capabilities. DSLR and mirrorless cameras are more affordable but still film at a high quality. You can often fit these cameras with anamorphic lenses and attachments for greater experimentation.
Don’t purchase an entire filmmaking kit all at once. Start with a camera and a single lens. Film with that for a while to get a sense for how it works and feels, then start investing in more lenses, tripods, and other equipment.