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Old February 12th, 2009, 03:11 PM   #1
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Blurring background during interview

Since I work with a pair of SONY HC7's, the depth of field even at the long end of zooming still keeps the background in focus during my lit interviews. I remember reading someplace on the net about a technique that utilizes some form of a diffusion material on a stretcher frame that can soften the background to give the appearance of using a shallow DOF adapter.

I can't remember off hand where I read it, but thought someone might know what the technique is and the kind of fabric used that provides the effect - I want to use something that's neutral so that it doesn't lend a color cast.

Make sense in what I'm asking???
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Old February 12th, 2009, 08:50 PM   #2
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There has to be a simpler way. What's your shutter and iris settings? If you can keep the iris down in the 3-4 range you should get a shallow DOF. Faster shutter, or better, ND filters will help with this.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 09:39 PM   #3
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... and/or apply some blur in post
(MB Looks might come in handy)

Best

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Old February 12th, 2009, 11:51 PM   #4
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Cliff I read the article you are referring to. I can fill in some of the blanks about the article but i can't remember what they used. it was an article in one of the videography trade magazines about the reality TV show on cable based on a tattoo parlor. For the interview portion of the show they set-up in a room without enough space to achieve the DOF they wanted so they stretched some sort of screen or fine cloth over a frame behind the talent. The effect was transparent enough to result in a blurred, toned done background. I have done a quick search of the DV magazine archive and videography archives but can't find the article. Does this ring a bell for anyone else? If anyone knows the name of the show that might help the google search too. My memory is that they used some sort of cutter for this but I can't remember what it was. I will dig through my old mags when I get a minute and see if I can find that article.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 12:05 PM   #5
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Here's a link to the article:

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Old February 13th, 2009, 02:30 PM   #6
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A few years ago I had to do some outdoor interviews and needed to blur the background. I found a roll of mosquito netting that was about 5 feet wide IIRC and clamped it to to stands so it ran lengthwise. By doing this it 1) blurred the background out nicely and 2) toned it down to the degree that when I lit the talent they really popped nicely from the background.
Gotta remember to set the exposure to as shallow a DoF as possible to start with and again IIRC I had the netting about 6 or 8 feet backfrom the talent. Oh yeah, watch the framing. Don't need any stands and clamps in the shot ;-)
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Old February 13th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #7
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Corey-thanks for the link! That is the article I was remembering. I had thought it was about Miami Ink but I wasn't sure and every search I ran with Maimi Ink in it turned back weird results. Thanks for hunting that down. Here is the excerpt from that article in DV magazine or found at DV - Digital Video

"After the High Voltage clients are inked, they proceed to an apartment next door and are interviewed on-camera by a segment producer. They are shot using a 1/3” CMOS sensor Sony HVR-V1U HDV camcorder in the HDV format at 24p. These pieces could look pretty bad given that they are shot inside a cramped 8’x8’ room, but to create the illusion that the interviews transpire inside the shop and to give them a feeling of depth beyond the limitations of the location, the wall behind the subject is painted and decorated like the walls of the shop. Even with the iris wide open on the V1U, the focal length (limited both by its small chip and the scant space between camera and subject) would not allow Krummel to limit his depth of field nearly enough to provide the selective focus he desired. The solution was to stretch a large sheet of Hampshire Frost on a frame and hang that between the subject and the wall, throwing the decorations behind the freshly inked person into soft focus. “The key,” Krummel says of the illusion, “is to hang the Frost as far from the background — or as close to the lens — as possible.”

There’s a fine line, he adds, between having a shot that looks like it has depth to it and having the big sheet of Frost become obvious. Stretching it in the frame properly is also a key, as the material will ripple in the slightest breeze."

Hope that helps!
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Last edited by Bryan Daugherty; February 14th, 2009 at 11:42 AM.
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Old February 14th, 2009, 04:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Daugherty View Post
The solution was to stretch a large sheet of Hampshire Frost on a frame and hang that between the subject and the wall, throwing the decorations behind the freshly inked person into soft focus. “The key,” Krummel says of the illusion, “is to hang the Frost as far from the background — or as close to the lens — as possible.”

There’s a fine line, he adds, between having a shot that looks like it has depth to it and having the big sheet of Frost become obvious. Stretching it in the frame properly is also a key, as the material will ripple in the slightest breeze."

Hope that helps!
The Hampshire Frost trick is used by quite a few DPs. As pointed out, it will require careful setting up, not one for the quick News & Current Affairs interview with the local politician.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 10:08 PM   #9
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Softening backgrounds in post

I'll add my few cents worth....

I finished a project last year using a V1U (i.e. 1/4" chip, long DOF) and did 50% of the interviews against a green screen. After starting the project, I thought I'd made a serious error doing any green screen interviews, but it turns out to have been a good idea; I needed to do a lot of interviews at short notice, on my todd and in natural settings. To do properly, these require quite some setting up and lighting issues, particularly outdoor interviews i.e, setting up a Scrim Jim net behind the interviewee to cut down the brightness of the background and soften it, etc. If you're feeling brave (and frankly as a last resort), you can do some stuff in post that will help you out of a bind. In the blog about the project I've written about how I did this, but it's far easier if you do sort this out during the photography rather than afterwards...
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Old February 21st, 2009, 11:28 AM   #10
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Excuse me dear friends oversea,could you explain to an european what does it mean:The large sheet of Hampshire Frost on a frame and hang that between the subject and the wall?


sorry for my english but a lot of word are missingmy dictionary...
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Old February 21st, 2009, 03:25 PM   #11
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Hampshire Frost is a specific type of diffusion material used for cutting lights. In this case a large sheet of it is stretched carefully over a frame so it can be hung behind the subject. It is semi-translucent so it softens the background but is not so dense that it will show up on the video if lit properly and set far enough back. Try searching for "Hampshire frost" in a search engine and you will find several links to various retailers some of which describe it better. As a disclaimer, i will state that personally I have never tried this technique but did recall the article in which it was mentioned. Hope that helps.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:30 AM   #12
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Any example of this particular technique?Any link or stuff like that?
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:22 PM   #13
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Marcus, the technique referenced here is based on an article from DV magazine (link in previous post) where they used it on the TV show "LA ink" you might be able to find a clip of that show online... they used it during the interview portions according to the article. I am sure there are others that have used it too and maybe someone here might have a clip?
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Old February 28th, 2009, 07:20 AM   #14
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sorry 4 the question:what does stand for IIRC?
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Old February 28th, 2009, 12:06 PM   #15
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