I’ve noticed people appear to be producing tricking videos and samplers with a death lens, fish eye, super wide angle – whatever you want to call it. I’m sure people will always claim to have found it and used it through their own connections, but the mass popularity stems from skateboarding and the huge numbers of people that have transfered from skating (board and/or inline) to flipping publically. Skaters have had a long history of documenting their footage with a death lens, called so, because when used correctly, it made the gaps and drops they were clearing look like the rider could die doing it.
A death lens is very handy. However its a specialised beast that can’t be left unattended. It needs a warning label, an instruction manual and a fully trained operator to get the best out of it.
The death lens needs special treatment. It is always held super low to the ground and super close to the individual. Its crazy wide angle means that anything less that ‘in your face’ will result in footage too far away to see what the person is doing.
A lot of trickers using this lens that haven’t come from a skating / filming background, are discovering this vvey slowly. So this is my ‘piece’ to advise a few:
get close, get low and keep it moving
ta-daa .. that’s it nothing more. Easy huh?
- If you don’t get close enough, you’ll be squinting at the screen and so will everyone else. Simple.
- You gotta get low and film up (obviously that isn’t set in stone for all filmers) but close and ultra low makes your flips look massive.
- If you haven’t got someone to hold the camera for you, don’t bother. Sure you can capture a whole session on the side, but whats the point in blasting out your best moves if the evidence is too small to enjoy?
Another thing people need to know: the glass for death lenses are very specific. The pure ultra warped nature of it means distortion on the edge of the frame is very common with cheap lenses, meaning people will get frustrated if their footage looks terrible. Don’t lump all fisheyes together… its just your cheap one! All decent cameramen will tell you lenses are so important… its all about the glass!
These words aren’t specifically for flip filming, its for everything. As I said at the beginning, this lens needs a manual. Don’t treat it like a regular lens.
This post was inspired by mrflashkicks video: