How do you go about capturing cinematic footage? Does it require expensive gear, Hollywood connections, or talented thespians?
Or could the answer simply be to learn as much as you can, and to go out and shoot as often as possible — and then use your knowledge and creativity to cut together a winning video?
This post will take you through a set of cinematic videos captured with Zeiss lenses. Some of these lenses aren’t exactly cheap, but some are much more accessible than you may think, and can lead to great video.
Cinematic Showreel Video
Zeiss Supreme Prime Showreel
Here is the Zeiss Supreme Prime showreel. This video is made up of a collection of clips from various short film projects.
The video is basically a collection of the prettiest moments in each short film, but there are still some moments that really stand out to me.
The first of these is at 10 seconds when the video transitions from a really gorgeous shot of a woman to chalk hitting a surface. The shot of the woman has both foreground and background elements that are out of focus and this enhances the already razor-thin depth of field.Another cool moment is at right at 60 seconds where the choice of costume and space gave the filmmakers an almost monochromatic look that is both simultaneously beautiful and a bit somber.
Amazing Mirrorless Video
Cinematic Footage with Zeiss Batis
Here is a video made by Daniel Schiffer where he places his newly purchased Zeiss Batis lenses on a Sony A7iii, and gets some footage of his cocker spaniel running around the yard.
Now any footage of a cocker spaniel will be immediately fun to watch, but the true value of this video is seeing how a nice investment into a relatively inexpensive lens can still get your really cinematic results.
He has a few other videos, one of which is also made using the Zeiss Batis where he shows you how to get cinematic B-roll footage.
This footage was obviously graded and shot at various frame rates to get the slow-motion shots, but you don’t need the supreme primes to get footage that will really make a positive impression on the viewer.
Short Film Footage
Zeiss Supreme Prime Short Films
Here are a few videos that were made using the Zeiss Supreme Primes:
This first video is called The Commander:
It’s a short and sweet video, but you can see some really cool choices like the jolts inward during certain misses and strikes right around 22 seconds. Because the filmmakers were most likely shooting in 4K, they’re able to do these jolts where they quickly “punch in” and then rubber band back out.
Here is another Zeiss Supreme Prime video called Tsunageru:
The sound design of this video is really effective, and it helps to elevate the footage captured with these Zeiss Lenses.
Slow-Motion Weather Video
Zeiss Otus footage with Phantom
The first video was captured using the Zeiss Otus lenses and the Phantom Flex 4K. This allowed director Dustin Farrell to capture footage at insanely high frame rates which gives hyper-slow motion.
My favorite shot has to be the one at 1:22 where you have the light from the sun hidden behind the clouds, and the entire mountain range is illuminated when the lightning strikes.
There is also a shot at about 1:40 into the video where a murder of crows go flying out of a cornfield, and the footage is absolutely stunning.
Cinematic Travel Video
Zeiss Batis Cinematic Travel Video
Here is a travel video from Jason Vong. He went to Japan with a Sony A7iii and a set of Zeiss Batis lenses and was able to capture this video.
Considering that this entire kit could be purchased for under $5000 means that you can get some really cinematic footage for a reasonable price. There are a few really clever decisions in this video, like the transition at 1:11 implementing speed ramps and a pair of push-ins.
As you can see, some of the footage you saw in this post was captured suing cine lenses and high-speed specialized cameras, but others were captured using gear that can come in under $5000.
Cinematic footage is often a marriage of opportunity, knowledge, and the will to act. No matter what your budget might be, the most important thing is for you to lace up your shoes and shoot well thought out footage.
Check out our next post on cinematography techniques, where we show you some helpful lighting setups that will get you closer to cinematic footage, and ultimately closer to your visual goals.