Freelance director of photography, Sean Boyd, talks to us about using the FUJINON MKX18-55mmT2.9 and MKX50-135mmT2.9 cinema zoom lenses to film a new project at home on lockdown.
Sean Boyd has been filmmaking for a number of years, and during that time he has faced many challenges. However, his latest short film presented a new one: being the director, cinematographer, and star, all at the same time.
“I filmed a project at home in Pasadena, CA, with just me and my girlfriend. We recorded the whole project on a tripod using the MKX cinema zooms and filmed ourselves or one another here and there,” he explains. “It’s one thing being constantly behind the camera, looking at the monitor and checking my framing and exposure, but trying to do all that while also having to be in the right place, pull focus on yourself, and make sure you look the best you can is another thing altogether!” smiles Sean.
The aim of the project was to create a video that highlights the importance of staying connected during the coronavirus pandemic and, in doing so, spread hope, support, and happiness. “The message was simple, and the story pretty much wrote itself,” explains Sean. “Call your friends and call your family members. Tell them you love them as much as possible.”
“These lenses are a match made in heaven for focal lengths. You get almost everything you could need in just two lenses”
Aside from having to act as the entire crew, the project presented a number of other challenges, such as particularly difficult light and short time frames. For this reason, Sean needed to make sure the lens was right. “Choosing the wrong lenses for your shoot can make things a nightmare. If the lenses don’t have the features you need, like fast aperture, parfocal, minimal breathing etc, you’re going to have a hard time getting the coverage you need for your production.”
Using the MKX18-55mmT2.9 and MKX50-135mmT2.9 cinema lenses provided all the performance, versatility, and ease of use that Sean needed. “Using zooms really helped speed things up on certain footage as my time was getting low to finish this project by the deadline. It also meant that I could pull off some frames I normally wouldn’t be able to with the lenses I have in my kit,” he explains.
“These lenses are a match made in heaven for focal lengths. You get almost everything you could need in just two lenses. This means faster setups on production days and more versatility when filming.”
“I could pull off some frames I normally wouldn’t be able to with the lenses I have in my kit”
Sean also tells us that he was particularly impressed with the lack of breathing that he encountered. “I’d say this specifically for the MKX50-135mmT2.9 lens,” he explains. “I got some great footage of the downtown Los Angeles horizon with that lens that I’d never reach or get the compression of on wider focal lengths. That is something you do not usually see on affordable cinema lenses and sometimes don’t even see on expensive ones.”
In summary, Sean tells us that the MKX cinema zoom lenses have proved to be valuable additions to his setup. “I love the versatility of all the focal lengths packed into only two lenses. They’re great to pair with the camera since they’re natively mounted and supply the lens data via electrical contact. Having a constant T2.9 aperture is also a great feature. It’s also worth mentioning that I don’t think I’ve seen any other cine zooms with a macro mode.”
When it comes to the project, Sean tells us that, if nothing else, he simply wants to spread a bit of happiness in these difficult times. “If a few people across the world can look at this and smile, that will mean the world to me,” he tells us. “If the message of it results in action, that’d be perfect, too. A simple phone call can mean so much to another to let them know you really care.”
Watch Sean’s full video below!
ABOUT THE CINEMATOGRAPHER
Sean Boyd is an LA-based director of photography who is highly experienced in creating everything from music videos to commercials, branded content, and much more.