Let’s focus on lenses!
In just a couple short minutes, I’m going to give you the long and the short of focal length.
One lens doesn’t fit all.
So today you’re going to learn exactly what you need to know to make the best decision for your live stream.
All right. So let’s face it, this is a big topic.
So instead of getting down into the nitty gritty of the art and the science behind lenses, let’s focus on a few common uses for live streamers, talking head videos, interviews, teleprompter use in larger spaces like churches or musical performances.
Now, keep in mind, I’m using the Sony A6100 but the principles are the same regardless of the camera you’re using.
I’ve got three lenses, 16mm f1.4, 30mm f1.4 and a 56mm f1.4.
But what do all of these numbers even mean?
The mm you see in these numbers is the millimeter number and that refers to the focal length.
And all that means is how far the light travels through the lens to focus on the sensor inside.
Really all that matters here is what those numbers represent.
And that’s the angle of view.
You’ve heard of a wide angle lens or a telephoto lens, right?
Well, that’s the angle of view.
So a shorter focal length represents a wider angle of view.
So the 16mm lens will give you a wider view.
However, a telephoto lens is going to give you a narrower view.
You try saying narrower on camera, you try it!
So let’s take a look at what it really looks like.
This is the 16mm lens and you can see how much of the background you get in this view.
And this is the 30mm lens, same camera, same room, same distance from the camera.
This is the 56mm lens, same camera, same room, same distance from the camera.
One more time, the 16mm, the 30mm and the 56mm.
So the wider angle, the 16mm obviously gives you a bigger sense of the environment.
It also exaggerates the space between you and the background.
So the 30mm is kind of in between the two exaggerations.
It’s more like what our eyes see naturally.
So with the 56mm lens, you’re going to want to step back a little further to get a similar view.
So why would you want to use one over the other?
Oftentimes live streamers love the 16mm because you get more of the background.
You can add personality things back there to really engage your viewers.
It’s also fantastic for two people on screen.
You’ve seen Kali and me on camera at the same time.
If you use a teleprompter, if you’re standing too close to the prompter, your eyes are actually going to be seen moving, reading the script.
So you’re going to want to step further back from the prompter in order to avoid that in the final video.
So I use a 30mm lens on my prompter and I’m about that far from the prompter itself.
But you also might want to use a 56mm lens if you have more space or you just like the look of that better.
If you’re in a church or a performance type setting, you’re also going to want to use a longer lens because typically you’re shooting from the back of the room.
If you use a wide angle lens, it’s going to exaggerate the room and the speaker would be teeny tiny.
So the longer lens is going to eliminate all of the distractions of the room and help the viewer focus on what matters.
Pro tip! Now, keep in mind, today we’re only focused on APS-C cameras, not full frame cameras.
The difference is in the size of the sensor, APS-C cameras are more affordable than full frame, but they do actually crop the image.
So if you have a full frame camera or buy one, you are not going to get the same results that you see here.
It’s going to look very different.
OK, so when you’re buying a camera, oftentimes they come bundled with what’s called a kit lens.
So why on earth would you want to spend more money on a separate lens like these
I’m showing you today?
Now, the benefit of a kit lens is that it’s often a zoom lens.
So you’re not locked into a single fixed focal length like these lenses.
By the way, the fixed focal length lenses are called prime lenses.
Prime, not primal.
There are a few things you want to consider when choosing to buy a kit lens with your body or the body only with a separate prime lens.
First off, a prime lens is usually sharper, so it’s going to give you a better quality image than a kit lens.
Second, the kit lens is usually the cheapest option a manufacturer can put on the camera, so it’s usually lesser quality.
One of the biggest gotchas in a zoom lens that come in a kit is that they’re not going to have a wide aperture.
So basically you won’t see an F-stop of 1.4, 1.8, or even 2.8 on these kit lenses.
So what that means is that you’re going to have a harder time getting the blurry background look if that’s your thing, not impossible, just a little more difficult.
So if that’s important to you, when you want that flexibility, then it’s probably best to save up and spend money on a better lens.
But if you don’t have a budget for a prime lens and you won’t for a while, then do not let that hold you back.
Go ahead and get the lens and enjoy the upgraded experience from a webcam.
Don’t let the tech hold you back!
Now, if you already have a lens, then fantastic.
You use this as an experimentation, right?
Find the setting and make a note of that setting that you love the look of.
And then when you’re ready to upgrade, you’re going to know exactly which focal length to buy.
Super shopper tip!
Now I’m using the Sony A6100 which is an E-mount body.
Now, when you’re buying for your camera, if you using a Panasonic or a Canon or any other camera, make sure that you’re purchasing the right lens for your body.
Now that you know how to choose the perfect lens for your videos and live streams, how are you going to choose exactly?
Well, I want you to take into consideration your space the look and feel that you’re going for how many people are on camera.
What feeling do you want to give your audience?
And if you get stuck, go back and review the side by side images and let your eye be your guide.
And most importantly, don’t let the technical mumbo jumbo get in your way or stop you.
Join a live stream, connect with other community members and ask your questions live.
And if you want to put all of the pieces together and build out your dream video studio for video live and more, then check out our studio workshop.
The link is in the description and I will see you in the next video.