The Lens

Mastering the lens for film drama

A professional hands-on seminar to master drama in film & photography

A 7 hour workshop to learn about the true power of the camera lens!
With hands-on practice!

In all movie making or photographic endeavors, there is no doubt that cameras, lighting, sets & costumes have a tremendous impact on the look and feel of any image (static or animated) and consequently on its success. However, none have as much an impact on the finished product as the often neglected or taken for granted, camera lens!

The lens sits squarely between the set image and the camera’s captor, carrying light from one to the other. Its sole purpose is to ensure that the light reaching its destination will be of the utmost quality, shape and color. Understanding this role and the physical constraints of the lens will give film producers, directors, DoPs, photographer or any creatives crew on set, a much better control on the look of the final product long before it reaches postproduction.

Remember: there is nothing, one can “fix in post”, if it is absent in the first place! So controlling the light reaching the captor and getting only the best to begin with, is the key to all that follows.

The LENS workshop thus walks you through the “roles” of the lens, its "structures" & “controls” and their combined impact on a director’s choices & oft-difficult compromises, regardless of using film or digital media. The ultimate aim of the workshop is to help you “see” your image going through the lens as you shoot, not later when it is usually too late!

Still image photographers are also invited to the workshop, since all that is said about the lens for the animated image, generally applies and often with much higher accuity, in high quality portraiture or art photography.

Below are a few slides of the workshop

Disponible aussi en français Cliquer ici!



  • Objective of the session
  • About the presenter
  • Participant needs
  • How the image “look” correlates to the lens work

Lens roles

  • In search of light – From pin hole to beam splitting prisms
  • Artistic choice: part unsharness or « Bokeh » (the cinema model)
  • Artistic choice: total sharpness « Hyper focal» (the TV model)
  • Director’s though compromise 1: light vs opening
  • Director’s though compromise 2: angle of vision vs distortions

Physical structure

  • Categories: prime & zoom
  • Types: normal & anamorphic
  • Basic function: glass to correct & orient light
  • Basic controls: opening & focus
  • The diaphragm to control light
  • The focal length to control angle of vision ( f vs T )
  • Depth of field (DOF) & the circle of confusion
  • Impact of the camera captor on the lens choice
  • Captor type (film or digital) – Reaction to light
  • Captor size impact on artistic choices

Impact of lighting

  • What you need to know from the grip: « foot/candles » or « SI lux/metres »
  • Un controlled effects – Some good, some bad
  • Using filters: ND, softeners, color changers, shape shifter…. in front of the lens

Join the top pros with digital assistants

  • ASC TOLEND – Total control of your lens on an iPhone
    From the masters at the American Society of Cinematographers
  • Light meters
  • More tech equipment, tablets etc.
  • URL Addresses

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