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Old January 4th, 2009, 06:01 AM   #1
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Please help! Newbie needs DOF advice

Hello everyone,

I'm afraid I've never had any formal camera training and I'd like a little help with focus/DOF issues on the Canon XL2. I have the standard 20x lens, and would like to achieve the effect of interviewing someone, obviously in sharp focus, whilst the background is unfocused.

I've tried quite a few times, on manual focus of course, however have found that I always keep everything in sharp focus. I know to some degree the interviewee needs to be close to the camera and the background, further away. But other than that I don't know the theory behind it and whats happening in the camera itself. If I knew this I'd like to think I could master more DOF techniques. If anyone has the time to explain things simply and with a little clear theory, I'd love to learn.

Thank you,

Ryan
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Old January 4th, 2009, 08:36 AM   #2
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This should help some: Videopia - Videopia
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Old January 4th, 2009, 01:16 PM   #3
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Thanks Jeff,

That's a great video, it seems I'm on the right track and that my last subject was probably just too close to the background.

Thanks for replying

Ry
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Old January 4th, 2009, 01:28 PM   #4
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Did you try zooming in (and stepping back appropriately), it might create a shallow DOF you are looking for.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 04:19 PM   #5
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And you can always hack your own DOF adapter ;^)
YouTube - cheapest 35 mm DOF adapter

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Old January 4th, 2009, 06:56 PM   #6
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I would echo the advice already given: create more distance between the subject and the background. Back up the camera and zoom in to compensate. For the XL2, you will need very extreme distances to get diffuse background blur. (The perspective will also be very flat.)

My advice is based on the fact that it sounds like what you're really looking for is "background blur", not "thin DOF". Backing up and zooming in doesn't affect DOF at all, but it does magnify the background, increasing the size of the blur (if any) in relation to the subject.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 10:54 AM   #7
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Here are a couple of examples of creating an apparent shallow DoF.

The first pic is the set up. The subject is mostly hidden behind the girl in black standing on the right, but it's enough to see the relationship between camera and subject, and subject and background.

The second is the final shot. Everything behind the subject is nicely blurred, bringing the focus of the eye where it belongs.
Attached Thumbnails
Please help! Newbie needs DOF advice-shotsetup-hidden-girl-right-.jpg   Please help! Newbie needs DOF advice-shotcloseup.jpg  

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Old January 6th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #8
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Thank you everyone for your advice, and to Jack for supplying the images.
I'm on holiday at the moment so can't try out all this advice until I'm back but thanks again, it's really appreciated.

Ry
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