Building a Forest of Mushrooms
The ZEISS team was kind enough to send us their ZEISS Milvus 2/50 with an open-ended request to shoot a quick video about Japanese food. After a few hours of looking at some Japanese staples through the Milvus, we developed a concept driven by the unique perspective a macro lens offers. Through the 50mm, radish sprouts became trees, and mushrooms loomed like redwoods. Working off this visual impression, we wondered if we could build a forest of mushrooms, and move the camera through it like a hiker on a trail. We chose to leave the kitchen and shoot against a black void to make these visual metaphors more immediate. For other food items, we found that the complete lack of context provided by the black background left us with a striking abstract image. Here, our goal was to move the camera at a slow, floating, observational pace – as if we are moving through outer space or the deep sea, watching some exotic animal or meteor appear out of the dark.
Focus Gears – Attached in a Flash
We shot in UHD on the Sony a7s II, using only the ZEISS Milvus 2/50M. We added a ZEISS focus gear ring – useful even if you are not using a geared follow focus. To move the camera, we used the Revolve motorized slider with a medium speed motor. Moving the camera by hand on a slider is not workable on a macro scale – every tiny variation in speed shows up, magnified. We used black plexiglass for our tabletop and shot against a large black rag, hung so that we could tilt up at fairly extreme angles and still not catch any of the studio. We lit with tungsten, sometimes using a single source, and other times multiple sources with heavy diffusion. We generally lit for f/8 or higher, to avoid the razor thin depth at f/2.
Aside from this tabletop video, we were able to shoot some great portraits and close-ups with the Milvus – it provides a tremendous degree of separation between the subject and background. This lens is really a game-changer for videographers, though, allowing us to work on a scale and level of precision that opens up new creative possibilities.
About the Tyler & Robin
Remote Forest Films is the collaboration of Tyler Diamond and Robin Day. The pair grew up in Virginia and reconnected in Los Angeles years later. Tyler and Robin work on commercials, educational and documentary content, and narrative material when they’re not plotting something together. Find out more.
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