Did the shallow depth of field give you any problems – which lenses did you use?
Zhao: We used two 19-90mm T2.9 on PL mounts, and a 17-120mm. We also used five B4 mount lenses, including two 40x zooms for single close-ups, one 20x zoom for the lead players and the conductor, and two B4 wide angle lenses for the full frontal and back views of the auditorium.
We recorded on HD, so we didn’t have a huge problem with the focus. The distances inside were manageable and we had the right lenses to cover them. We also connected the team by our walkie-talkie system, which allowed for smooth communication and that meant we didn’t have many problems in the transitions between different angles.
We shot scenes according to a priority list formulated by the director. For this event we also had an assistant director, who was familiar with the orchestra and the music. He kept us on the right performer and instrument at the appropriate time. We put our cine lenses near the stage, like the 19-90mm and 17-120mm I mentioned before, to shoot the strings and the conductor, and the AMIRA’s shallow depth-of-field was perfect. For example, when we had a shot with the conductor and the performer both in frame but at different distances, racking focus was a great technique to show the upward and downward trend of the music. That’s a real advantage of the cine lenses.