Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. In the portrait photography world you usually can't get tight enough. Some how the rules of video appear different. I also notice it's common to cut people's foreheads off in close ups.
I can imagine panning at 60mm or greater would require really steady hands and slow movements. Panning at 100mm+ would give the audience motion sickness. You'd have to spin 90 deg using a a 14mm to even change the scene.
Is the fact we're mostly using hand held DSLRs a factor in wide lens popularity. Are large commercial cameras (shoulder mounts) as wide?
Actors are prettier than non-actors, but CUs are still usually shot with tight lenses. Someone once commented that Audrey Tautou had such small features that she looked best shot with a normal/slight wide angle (28mm) lens. And that's Jeunet's preferred style so it works well, but usually actors won't be pleased to see a wide angle lens right in their face. You can always back up the lens and just shoot with a wider frame. Cutting off the forehead is not abnormal, though I worked with a gaffer once who got mad at me for doing that for whatever reason.
I haven't done much videography, but if I remember right videography cameras went to about 28mm FF equivalent or 18mm APS-C equivalent and zoomed in to 10X+ that.
You can get smoother pans with a gear head: http://www.visualproducts.com/storeProductDetail02.asp?productID=553&Cat=48&Cat2=50#bigPic
A lot of action directors will shoot action with extreme telephoto lenses and gear heads. The inertia of the heavy cameras helps (a Panavision package can weight 60+ pounds easily even with lighter prime lenses), but I honestly have no idea how people pull this off. I have only seen a gear head in action once and never used one; I've only been on a few tiny small indie sets, nothing big.