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Inspiration

3 Quick Tips On Lens Whacking

By Anthony Thurston on September 12th 2013

lens-whacking-quick-tips

Lens Whacking – also known as “free lensing” – is an interesting technique for capturing video by which you actually disconnect your lens and move it around while recording the video. It creates a very unique look and a very distinctive – almost dreamy – style to the video captured using this method.

The problem is that while it is a simple concept, in practice it takes a bit of work to become comfortable enough using it to actually get usable video out of the technique. For those of you who are interested in learning a bit more about lens whacking and how to master it ive compiled several tips and even a video demonstration for you below.

Lens Whacking Tips & Tricks

  • Use Older Manual Focus Lenses – While I would not recommend going out and getting a manual focus lens specifically for lens whacking i would say that if you have one, specifically one with an aperture ring, it would be very preferable to most newer lenses.
  • Open Your Lens to its Maximum Aperture and Set Focus to Infinity – For the best results your lens much be set at its maximum aperture (example: F/1.8), and be set to focus to infinity.
  • Hold Your Camera To Your Chest -Due to the nature of not having your lens fixed toy our camera it is very easy to ruin a good shot via unwanted movement. Securing your camera to your chest helps to stabilize your body and prevent unwanted issues in your lens whacking video.

The video below has some great tips on Lens Whacking, just set your viewer to 3:14 to skip to the Lens Whacking portion of the video.

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. James Base

    Hey guys,
    If anyone is interested, check out http://www.Lensbender.net
    Its a universal lensmount designed to make freelensing a whole lot easier.

    The Lensbender suspends your lens securely in front of the camera body, allowing a range of movement and flexibility and giving you an extra hand for aperture adjustment and focus-pulling.

    cheers,
    James

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  2. Sonic Tales

    We used Lens Whacking as a storytelling device for our short film “Flame”. All the flashback scenes were done using Lens Whacking. https://vimeo.com/60927406. It was hard work but worth it.

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  3. Terence

    If there’s one thing I hate, is the absurd names created for certain things. Free-lensing has been around for years, it’s a great technique but not very practical, works best for still life. Please for heavens sake, don’t give it some tacky name like “lens whacking”. Who in their right mind came up with that crap?

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  4. mike

    . . . also known as freelensing. I first heard of this technique here:

    http://www.samhurdphotography.com/2013/technique/freelensing-photography-techniques

    Sam is an awesome photographer – take some tips from him!

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  5. ken

    In still photography, this is called “freelensing”. Not sure why Philip Bloom had to invent a new name for it :-P
    Might be better to use a lensbaby on it, but it’s hard to get a wide angle view w/ that…

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  6. Guille

    Yep, the last tip is no good. I would recommend using a focal lenght between 50mm and 135mm. I believe 85mm is the sweet spot. Also don’t get the lens far away of the mount. Always leave some part of the lens touching the mount and another a litlle farther away. And of course, use Live View.

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  7. JC Vogt

    How are we to know the outcome of the shot if we’re holding it to our chest?

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