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An article and video on Kurosawa's focal lengths

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    Vili Maunula

    There’s a new article titled Did he really use telephoto lenses? by Sareesh Sudhakaran which analyses some of Kurosawa’s scenes and attempts to determine which camera lenses were used in each.

    The article is also available in video format:

    It’s pretty interesting stuff, although the selection of individual shots seems a little random, which makes it difficult to see whether the study can really make any wider conclusions about Kurosawa’s lens use.

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    Ugetsu

    Thats interesting (although I don’t know much about the technical side of photography). Sudhakaran seems to have picked scenes which can be said to be classic Kurosawa shots, as opposed to taking random frames. I do find it interesting the way that certain ‘facts’ can be perpetuated through multiple writers without anyone checking up the technical details. I’d often wondered about the technicalities of using ‘telephoto’ for many scenes in Kurosawa – I think this makes it clear that the depth of many scenes were more due to very careful set design and placement of actors rather than a choice of lens.

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    Vili Maunula

    That’s a good point about the selection of shots. I guess what bothers me a little was that they don’t seem varied enough to draw wider conclusions about Kurosawa’s methods. It might have been more interesting had the author concentrated on just a single film.

    But having said that, the author of course makes it absolutely clear both in the article and the video that this is not meant to be a comprehensive or academic study to begin with. It’s also a really interesting look into Kurosawa technique, so I don’t really know why I am nitpicking.

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