Hand lensing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Hand lensed video is a process in which a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera is used to create a pinhole like moving image. Unlike traditional pinhole photography the aperture is created by placing one’s hands over the CMOS sensor. This creates a variable sized and shaped aperture. This technique was first developed by Charles Lim Yi Yong in 2009. The first video using is One Day I Forgot and Used My Hands premiered at the 2011 Rotterdam International Film Festival.[1]

Concept of Hand Lensed Video[edit]

Hand lensing came out of experiments attempting to create an image analogous to how images are perceived through peripheral vision. To achieve this the images had to have a soft, blurry almost out of focus look. The closest analogy to this form of imagery was the pinhole still camera. While the mathematics and technique of pinhole camera has been develop in order to create either sharper or purposely amateur styled images, the handing technique focuses on the fleeting nature of the moving image. This is emphasized by the fact that by the use of a hand to create an aperture over time causes the size and shape of this aperture to vary in a single shot. First developed as a technique for experimental video, a few feature directors are starting incorporate it into more narrative based works. The first video featuring this technique is One Day I Forgot and Used My Hands. [2]


The hand lensing technique requires a digital camera with a large CMOS or CCD sensor that is sensitive to low light (ISO 6400). Optimally the sensor should be a full frame 35mm or larger. Although smaller and slower chips will work, the ISO and chip size determine sharpness and quality of the image.