Antonio Calvache: Swing-Tilt Lenses

From American Cinematographer, Industry Town Embraces the Indies by Holly Willis (July 1998)

"To be more straightforward in the sense of not feeling that the camera suddenly becomes dizzy and high with the characters. We wanted to show the characters from a realistic point of view, but at the same time communicate some of what they were going through. I used Otto Nemenz's Swing-and-Tilt lenses, some dutch angles and time-lapse photography, being careful not to let the overall approach become excessive. The lens is mounted on bellows, so it's like a large-format view camera used in still photography in which you can control the depth of field by tilting and/or swinging the lens. I used it inside the ambulance when I wanted to isolate one character from his environment. The challenge in working with such narrow depth of field is doubled when using Swing-and-Tilt lenses, since the focus is not only affected by the distance from the subject to the camera, but also by its position in the frame. Even if the subject doesn't move, you have to pull focus as you pan or tilt the camera. You can imagine how helpless the first A.C. feels. When shooting for the large screen, it's also scary to have the whole image out of focus except for one piece of a face an eye or a mouth so I tried to be extremely careful. As it turned out, I was very happy with the results."

- Antonio Calvache

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