Shane Hurlbut – Lenses & Emotion in Filmmaking; A Response



Shane Hurlbut’s header in newest post ‘ Lenses & Emotion in Filmmaking’

In previous posts Shane Hurlbut ASC,  a cinematographer, has told us about the MoVi Freefly, shown us what it can do, and then gave a post about harnessing our inspirations. Now, in his latest post, he brings us ‘Lenses & Emotion in Filmmaking.


In his latest edition to his page, Hurlbut brought us a history lesson on the developments of the art of filmmaking and how we can to express emotion through the camera. Shane expressed how, from the late 1800’s to now, we have developed a film language through experimentation (especially in the 1950’s-1970’s). Eventually we entered the ‘New Wave’ which mainly consisted of experimental shots, different ways  from Hollywood to convey a character or scenes emotion. He then follows with different film styles shown within some film terms .

Here’s just a summary  the different camera emotions that Hurlbut mentioned could be used to get them accross to your audience:

  • Underdeveloped – camera emotion whereby the camera never settles whether subtly or drastic. A drift energy that makes the viewer ask, ‘why’?
  • Leader – A lowered frame that is looking up at the character to give power and dominance to them.
  • Compassion – Lighting is flatter, key-to-fill ratio kept at 3:1 and to consider the colour choice when introducing compassionate characters.
  • Selfless– Use of a shallow depth of field, a panning camera, and possibly more headroom than usual.The depth of field creates focus on them with nobody else in focus, it shows they are in their head only.
  • Endurance – A low angle, camera always subtly booming up and down to show that character is always ready to go- they have drive.

These are the thoughts that should run through anyones head, why and how? Hurlbut ends on the note:

“There is no right or wrong in any situation… just make sure you have an understanding of what the world has done before you. That’s a great way of being able to build upon what already exist.” (Hurlbut, 2017)


Shane’s recent blog encourages filmmakers to truly consider their cinematography. How does this show the emotion of the character/scene? How can you achieve what you want to come accross to the crowd? He puts accross how the emotion comes across truly through the lense, but don’t be unimaginitive about it and experiment. Find out what you like and think works all the while understanding what is does overall.

Personally, I can apply Hurlbut’s method of providing the facts while also pushing for the viewers to try their own methods too. Provide useful information but  not to limit them to this exact terminology and engagement and encourage them to learn through experience- trial and error. As a film student I can relate to trial and error and its a learning process. Nobody becomes good at their job without a few failures, how else do you learn? Especially within the creative industries (like Shane said,) there is no right and wrong, just an understanding of what you have created and done.



Ablan, D. (2003). Boom and Crane Shots | [digital] Directing – Types of Shots | Peachpit. Retrieved 13 October 2017, from

Hurlbut, S. (2017). Lenses & Emotion in Filmmaking | Cinematography. The Hurlblog: Create. Innovate. Educate.. Retrieved 13 October 2017, from

Parnell, L. (2016). The French New Wave: Revolutionising Cinema. Culture Trip. Retrieved 13 October 2017, from

Saint-Jean, E. (2017). Film Stuff Explained – Key-To-Fill Ratio | Gorilla Film Online. Retrieved 13 October 2017, from

Sklar, R., & Cook, D. (2017). history of the motion picture | History & Facts. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 13 October 2017, from



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