Lens in Focus: Carissa Dorson Captures Dance with the Lumix S 24mm F1.8 Lens

Last August, I had the honor of shooting a launch video for the new Panasonic Lumix BS1H cinema camera, which is a compact camera that combines the cinema-quality full-frame sensor of the Lumix S1H with a modular box-style form. To shoot this video, I used full-frame Lumix S-series lenses with the BS1H. These lenses are part of the L-mount alliance between Leica, Lumix and Sigma. The lens that turned out to be my real workhorse was the Panasonic Lumix S 24mm f/1.8 L Mount Lens.

Lumix asked me to showcase the camera with a creative concept to shoot and directing. Being a lover of music, I chose to create a dance film. The film, “Night Lights,” is about a man who can’t sleep at night in his downtown apartment. While he struggles to turn his brain off and go to sleep, he can’t help but notice all of the lights moving through his bedroom from the cars and traffic lights outside the window.  Inspired by the beauty of the lights, he gets up and dances with them.

The Lumix 24mm lens is great for capturing the wide field of view that I needed for the dance, while also being fast in a low-light environment. I absolutely love fast wide-angle lenses because they create such a special look.  They allow me to bring the camera closer to the subject while maintaining a shallow depth of field.  

My favorite way to use this is on theDJI RS 2 Gimbal. Both the lens and the BS1H are small and light so I found it incredibly freeing in movement — especially in the very last shot. I was running behind dancer Clinton Kyles and had to circle around him once he stopped. The shot turned out beautifully dynamic and was easy to capture with the lightweight setup.

For that exterior shot, I actually set the lens at a deeper stop (around an f8) so that I could keep a fixed focus while following Clinton. There was a lot of variables to the movement so this allowed me to keep him in focus without worrying about pulling focus remotely. Even with a deeper stop, I like that there is still a nice fall-off of bokeh in the distance. I also employed auto focus for some shots in the bedroom set. I was impressed with how the face-detection mode was able to follow him during the dance.

The Panasonic LUMIX S 85mm f/1.8 L-Mount Interchangeable Camera Lens also gets an honorable mention because I used longer focal lengths in the beginning of the film before the dance ramped up. The depth of field created by the 85mm and full-frame sensor was very pretty. It also helped isolate Clinton before he broke into dance.

Not only were the Lumix S-Series primes incredibly convenient to use with the BS1H, but they gave a beautiful and clean look to the film.  I find them perfect for filmmaking when my crew is small but still need to deliver a high production-value look.

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