Lenses are the fingerprints of a director.
    Chesta Shah Sengupta, Editor
    Chesta Shah Sengupta, Editor


    Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler was once asked about the origin of the line “Get your money for nothing and your chicks for free’ from the band’s classic song “Money for Nothing.”

    “That came from someone working in an electrical appliance store in New York,” Knopfler recalled. “He was watching MTV while moving boxes. I spied on him through a little gap in the microwave section, and the lines he was coming out with were so classic that I had to write them down as fast as possible! He actually said things like, ‘What’s that? Hawaiian noises?’ and ‘Maybe get a blister on your little finger.’ And then he said, ‘That ain’t workin’ - little did he know!

    This month’s cover story is about the lessons learnt by doing the unconventional with the conventional. Lenses, are the fingerprints of a director or/and a DoP and agnostic of the digital or analogue platform. You are able to recognise their body of work by the way they use lenses and light, pretty much the way you identify an artists’ work by his brush strokes or his use of colour.

    To sight an example of exemplary use of lenses in order to convey a particular feeling in cinema, Ray’s Charulata comes to my mind. His cameraman Subrata Mitra, used the medium long lens to convey the feeling that Charulata’s world was constrained and she was kind of trapped. Throughout the sequence Ray does not use the wide lens at all.

    Friends, directors and DoPs were very revealing when it came to sharing secrets with me on ‘What’s your lens?’ for the magazine. “We are happy to share our experiences and insights, which we have gathered over the last few years of our directorial and photographic experience of being in the industry and doing innumerable projects that required varied technical capabilities. We hope that our experiences help your readers,” they said to me.

    Understanding essential lens terminology, the basic construction of a block lens, the aesthetic use of lenses in cinema, lenses for television, intelligent innovations, lenses and the jib, day-for-night and the long lens, using the wide lens and a shallow depth of field and choosing the camera ND filter while shooting daylight documentaries...its all there.

    Well, I would like all the persons (publicly) for their invaluable insights and for the knowledge they shared with us so openly saving us the trouble to resort to spying or eavesdropping. Thank you!

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