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Glossary

FILMMAKING TERMS


Term: Wide-Angle Lens

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A wide-angle lens (or a zoom lens operating at minimum focal length) has a wider angle of view than a normal lens. Wide-angle lenses tend to magnify the distance between objects while allowing greater depth of field. For cameras that use 35 mm film or an equivalent digital sensor, a lens of focal length 35 mm or less is considered wide-angle. Extreme wide-angle lenses with a focal length of 16 mm or less are called fisheye lenses. Because of their short focal length, wide-angle lenses are sometimes called “short lenses”. They have attributes opposite to those of the long lenses (telephoto lenses). The effect of using a short lens is to make spatial distances more obvious. A person in the distance is shown as much smaller, while someone in the foreground will loom large. The shorter the focal length of a lens is, the more obvious its distortion of perspective becomes. Wide-angle lenses have a large depth of field, which makes them suitable for deep focus cinematography. Movement towards and away from the camera appears accelerated and emphasized.

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