View Full Version : DOF


kgasser2
04-21-2009, 01:33 PM
how important do you guys think it is to have a nice shallow depth of field? i think it looks more cinematic am i wrong? but after you work out a clear picture, good lighting, nice color, how big of a difference does a blurry background make?

i guess i'm asking this because obviously i want the cinematic look like everyone else. (using digital)

soon, i'll be buying a canon xh a1. and since i dont have it and havent played with one, idk easy it is to find that dof. should i look into an adapter like a m2 encore or something like that?

any input on the topic of dof, technical or philisophical, let me hear it!

thanks

sonnyboo
04-21-2009, 02:15 PM
I have only recently learned that it is a crucial tool to be able to choose the focus. As a director, I like being able to make sure to put the total focus on an object or person. It really emphasizes the subject, and wrack focus can also show more of what you want when you want the audience to see it.

If everything is in focus, you're not as in control of the image.

spankydoesfilm
04-21-2009, 03:12 PM
how important do you guys think it is to have a nice shallow depth of field? i think it looks more cinematic am i wrong? but after you work out a clear picture, good lighting, nice color, how big of a difference does a blurry background make?

i guess i'm asking this because obviously i want the cinematic look like everyone else. (using digital)

soon, i'll be buying a canon xh a1. and since i dont have it and havent played with one, idk easy it is to find that dof. should i look into an adapter like a m2 encore or something like that?

any input on the topic of dof, technical or philisophical, let me hear it!

thanks


generally, its hard to get shallow DOF without a 35mm adaptor. The only way to do it is by zooming all the way in, and opening the iris all of the way up and then focus. It sucks because you have to move the camera so far away and run filters, but you get pretty much the same look, just have to put in the extra work.

indietalk
04-21-2009, 04:01 PM
I like Boo's post because he's talking about using DoF for a specific reason within the film, not for a film look. I shot a film with lots of wide shots and a very wide depth of field. Does that mean it doesn't look like film? No, it was shot on super-16 and it most certainly looks like film. If people would stop worrying so much about the film look, I think some really good films would get made faster ;) Story, story, story! And a good DP will give you good results, and not worry so much about making the medium look like another.

sonnyboo
04-21-2009, 04:19 PM
I bought an el cheapo 35mm lens adapter for my Canon HV20 called the JAG35. It's amazing to get the depth of field and play with focus. I have 3 lenses for it, but I mostly use the 50mm. Again, I cannot stress the importance for keeping the viewer, pun intended, focused on what you want them to be paying attention to.

In a more generic sense, the master shots can all be in focus and as a character starts to say something significant, I knock out the focus on everything but their face because I want people to only see the emotion I want them to see.

The reason to use depth of field as a tool in your arsenal is not to make people think you shot on film as much as it's something people achieve on film for a purpose, and to be able to do that on video or HD is just putting that tool back in your hands.

Only tech head geeks (like myself) care what your movie is shot on. The audience just wants to be entertained by a good story. Depth of Field is just another weapon in your arsenal to effective storytelling.

indietalk
04-21-2009, 05:15 PM
Well put Boo. Use the tools that major films use for the right reasons and in the right areas, and not just for a film look, and you will have the film look. It's all about just trying to make the best film possible, and not to try to mimic something.

curtinparloe
04-21-2009, 08:14 PM
I reckon that people tend to think that "shallow DOF=film look" because a lot of Hollywood films in recent years have used a shallow DOF to specifically guide the audience.

Obviously control of the focus is important in film, but it should be noted that Kubrick's The Killing and Welles' Citizen Kane both made deliberate use of the kind of DOF you'd find in a camcorder, in certain scenes.

kgasser2
04-21-2009, 10:02 PM
ok i'm kind of getting bashed on now for using the phrase film look. i didnt specifically mean i want people to think i used a film camera, i dont care about that. i meant using dof in the way you guys are saying, as another color for painting your picture. and i want my painting to be professional. trust me, i'm in this for the art. and i'm kind of embarassed i made myself seem like some d bag. but thanks for the info.

indietalk
04-21-2009, 10:08 PM
Sorry the thread turned, "film look" threads often do. I hope you get the info you need, and maybe others will chime in.

kgasser2
04-21-2009, 10:10 PM
and this is off topic but not important enough to start a new thread

the feature i'm working on this year is pretty much going to be completed by me and my one friend. i'm writing, directing, setting up the shots, working the cam, writing the score

my friend is the lead actor, editing the sound and video

i'll have one outside person holding a boom

do you think having 2 names dominate all of the credits will make my film seem less professional? i cant help but think that if i send it in to a festival and they see the whole thing was done by 2 kids that they wouldnt take it seriously.

and if anyone is in ohio and wants to work on a serious piece of art, pm me.

indietalk
04-21-2009, 10:15 PM
No, it does not. A filmmaker is actually many of the things you mentioned, one who makes films, not just directs them.

Will Vincent
04-21-2009, 10:20 PM
do you think having 2 names dominate all of the credits will make my film seem less professional? i cant help but think that if i send it in to a festival and they see the whole thing was done by 2 kids that they wouldnt take it seriously.

There's nothing saying you have to have very long credits.. so only having 2 or 3 names isn't an issue if you don't relist those names 50 times, doing that would look a bit silly

kgasser2
04-21-2009, 10:21 PM
maybe before the search for a adapter starts.....

someone should film me in on what a 35mm adapter really is. how it basically works, what it does for me.

i kind of thought the adapter is just what you want that makes ur picture sweet, but i guess that was kind of oblivious of me. its used to adapt other lenses to your camera?

so i have my camera (xha1), then i throw on an adapter (jag35 looks cheap. i like cheap), then i put some other big lense on there?

i'm new to this part of tech. help me out.

kgasser2
04-21-2009, 10:22 PM
vincent- thats exactly what i was thinking. but i just had the idea today that maybe i would just show like my name, then scroll the major responsibilities under that or somethin you know? i thought that would look a little more resonable, while still dishing out proper creds.

indietalk
04-21-2009, 10:27 PM
You can combine titles in one line, examples:

Written, Directed, and Produced by
Name

Grip and Electric
Name

kgasser2
04-21-2009, 10:34 PM
ah yes, maybe. i just thought the other way would look cooler. but thats not important for another year from now when the film is complete. anyone on my question about adapters?

sonnyboo
04-22-2009, 12:45 AM
so i have my camera (xha1), then i throw on an adapter (jag35 looks cheap. i like cheap), then i put some other big lense on there?


JAG 35 is almost exclusively for the HV20/HV30, but it works on all the smaller threaded camcorders (the sub - $1000 range).

There are other adapters, but I'd recommend renting one. There are several places here in Columbus to rent one on weekends for your shoot.

On a side note, I don't think you looked bad asking what you asked.

M1chae1
04-22-2009, 06:52 AM
I think DOF can look very cool, and bring an indie film up to the next level. As long as the shots are not compromised, and corners are not cut on the lighting design, DOF can add to the 'slickness' of a movie. We all want to simulate the look of film, and DOF is a key element.

Another thing to be aware of is your use of rack focuses...far too many newbie lens and adapter users will abuse the use of racking. Back and forth back and forth between the actors. It can get annoying.

Also, of course, one should be very precise about focus in general.

I work with production companies that need adapters and lenses...they won't do a film without them. And for the most part the product is very cool. I also work with a well-distributed director that refuses to use adapters and lenses. He prefers to use lighting and camera placement to simulate DOF. You can achieve the same end result by clever camera placement and lighting...I will admit, although an experienced crew can create some very slick HD films without DOF...I still really love what DOF can bring to a lower-budget production.

M1chae1
04-22-2009, 06:54 AM
...and wrack focus can also show more of what you want when you want the audience to see it.

If everything is in focus, you're not as in control of the image.

As I mentioned above, this is not true. With clever lighting focal points and camera placement, you can force an audience to look at what you want them to--just like in the theater.

curtinparloe
04-22-2009, 09:10 AM
ok i'm kind of getting bashed on now for using the phrase film look. i didnt specifically mean i want people to think i used a film camera, i dont care about that. i meant using dof in the way you guys are saying, as another color for painting your picture. and i want my painting to be professional. trust me, i'm in this for the art. and i'm kind of embarassed i made myself seem like some d bag. but thanks for the info.


I wasn't bashing, if you thought I was then I apologise. My point is that I feel shallow DoF is overdone in Hollywood (as a lazy indicator for the audience), which inevitably leads to it being expected from indies. I say, why not take advantage of the deep focus available? That's where attention to the mise-en-scène becomes crucial, and that's how you direct the audience. I'll put my soap box away - I do use shallow DoF, albeit sparingly. It's not quite the new trombone shot!

As for credits, I made a short recently which I wrote, edited, directed, scored and co-starred. I had my name twice, once for the acting role and once for everything else, although I used a previous band name for the score.

kgasser2
04-22-2009, 11:22 AM
good info guys, thanks. i think i'll try to manipulate my camera before adding another dynamic in an adapter and have to worry about that. thanks again.

koryg

indietalk
04-22-2009, 11:27 AM
As I mentioned above, this is not true. With clever lighting focal points and camera placement, you can force an audience to look at what you want them to--just like in the theater.
So can close-ups, he was just saying it was another tool. There's always more than one way, add to that, style, and preference.

M1chae1
04-22-2009, 12:14 PM
So can close-ups, he was just saying it was another tool. There's always more than one way, add to that, style, and preference.

Right, naturally CU's work--I thought we were talking about focusing the viewers attention without DOF or CU. I apologize if what I said was redundant.