The Art & Science of Lenses
The most in-depth technical workshop for image makers. Learn how lenses work, how to test them and pick the right one for you!
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What you'll learn
With over a decade teaching at the best film schools in the world, these workshops were modeled after the most impactful masterclasses.
Keep it practical
The foundation of optics: Light and matter
A vocabulary will be established and with it the necessary foundation to review optical devices and how they work. Topics from absorption and reflection to refraction and diffraction are explored.
Simple optical systems
Building on the foundations we will explore how single optical elements work. From mirrors through prisms and simple lenses, we will review how they operate and how they are combined within larger optical systems.
The components of a photographic lens
A deep dive into the characteristics of lenses most relevant for photography. Focal point, focal length, image space and multi-element optical systems, as well as aberrations, distortion, flares and more. This will all lead to a deep understanding of how images are crated with lenses.
Complex optical systems
A guided assembly multi-element optical systems such as a telescope or lenses for lighting units will solidify the foundation we established covering simple lenses. From there we explore the types of lenses such as long or wide, as well as zooms and primes. Optical designs such as telecentric lenses, rectilinear, telephoto, macro, fisheye and many more will be reviewed in a new light. Zoom lenses and their different designs are reviewed. Anamorphic lenses will be highlighted to enable you to use them to their full potential. Finally, lens coatings and what happens when they are removed, as well as peripheral optical devices such as close-focus diopters, shift and tilt lenses and even ND filters and polarizes are discussed in depth.
The lens and the camera
How the choice of format, be it film or digital, large or small, affects the image created by a lens. This includes crop-factor but goes deeper into both film and digital image sensor technology. We will review how the image quality, and sharpens in particular, is affected by a digital image sensor and the built-in filters in front of it, and how artifacts such as aliasing and moire are born. Finally, lens mounts, back focus and flange focal distance are covered in-depth.
The aperture and focus
How does the aperture work and what aspects of the image does it affect?Beyond depth of field and circle of confusion, effects on vignetting and aberrations are explored. F/stops and T-stops, bokeh, focus calculations and the different types of focus movement in photographic lenses, and their effect seen as breathing, are all explored.
Choosing a lens
A close review of the characteristics lenses exhibit and how to test them. From physical and ergonomic considerations, through reading MTF charts or using a lens projector and all the way to designing a comprehensive lens test utilizing tools available to filmmakers. Additionally, lens customization and tuning will be reviewed.
Handling and maintaining lenses
From storage and cleaning to solving problems on set. We will review the most common situations that occur when using lenses on set.
"Tal is a true rarity. He is deeply and broadly knowledgable, while also being able to translate that knowledge into language a student can understand"
Cinematographer, Senior lecturer, AFI Conservatory
"My education as a cinematographer would not have been developed as quickly and as thoroughly as it did without taking Tal's classes at AFI"
"Tal makes any topic easy to understand with his well-paced and succinct teaching style. There is no one whose expertise I trust more"
Writer & Director