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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old February 23rd, 2006, 07:11 PM   #1
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FX1, and DoF

I tried to look it up on search, and I couldnt find anything I wanted.

So I might as well ask.

I've been playing with the FX1 for a short film I might want to put into the Australian Tropfest film festival. The main problem is the wide depth of field that I keep getting. It looks like Neighbours with the backgrounds on crack, everything is in almost sharp, and perfect focus.... If I magnified a poster only a meter behind the actor I'm shooting, I can read the print... Its really annoying.

What I'm trying to acheive is the narrow depth of feild people seem to say can be done with the FX1, and the Z1. I'm planning a 2 shot, where the 2 actors and the camera are sitting at the bar. So that one actor is further away from the camera than the other. I want to only have one in focus, then pull focus on the other actor... (so it looks like I can pull focus on the left or right of the screen, if you can understnad me.)

since lately, I've been trying my own tests and experiments on how I could do it, but its no possible, because for some reason, the optics dont want to blur anything within 2 meters of the focused object. It really sucks. Its the smallest DoF I can get... Help me!
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 07:15 PM   #2
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Set the tripod further away, then zoom in to about 1/4 or 1/3 full zoom. You will have a more shallow depth of field this way - it looks really good.

-Greg
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 07:19 PM   #3
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to get the best DOF:
- try to get the widest possible iris for the shot (1.6 or 1.8) - use the ND filters instead of closing the iris.
- the longer your focal length is, the shallower is the DOF. Therefore try to get as much distance as possible to the actors. But keep in mind a strong "tele" gives another view and feel than a closer or wide angle view.
- you won´t get shallow DOF easily with a 1/3'' cam.
- you can use a 35mm adapter (letus, micro, ..) to get a real 35mm like DOF, but you lose resolution an light sensivity then.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 09:37 PM   #4
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*bangs head agasint keyboard*

I should have thought of that....

I know you can not get great DoF with a 1/3" cam, but I've seen footage of FX1's and Z1's where you get a pretty narrow enough DoF with only the basic, out-of-the-box camera. I only wanted to replicate that.

I never thought about putting the camera further away. I've always used at most, 1/8th of the zoom. And I thought the closer the cam the less Dof, because (silly me) I thought that If I could focus on something really close, anything further would be out of focus becuase I'm focusing in on something really close.

I guess I should have paid attention in uni when we were gettling lectured on camera controls. I turned off when the slide called "Turning a camera on" was shown. Looks like that class wasnt really that much a joke anymore... :(
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Old February 27th, 2006, 02:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Pepingco
I guess I should have paid attention in uni when we were gettling lectured on camera controls. I turned off when the slide called "Turning a camera on" was shown. Looks like that class wasnt really that much a joke anymore... :(
Screw paying attention in school. Read the internet. I wanted to go to film school but I was homeless and couldn't afford it. I worked my um.. comical quarters off so I could go to film school but when I finally achieved mild success, I didn't have a lot of time for school so I bought a Z1 and a metric ass-ton of equipment. I didn't sleep for 2 weeks and read every article I could find on the internet and read almost every page in this (and others) forum. If an article was about turning the camera on, I'd skip it. If it was about tele-photo lens, matteboxes, down-converting, preparing a clip for broadcast, shooting in low light, etc I'd stick around and read it. If I had a dumb question, I'd swallow my pride and have the geniuses on here give me suggestions. I'm still pretty new to everything but I've gotten a couple decent gigs already and a music video I produced has played on BET.
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Old February 28th, 2006, 09:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Pepingco
I never thought about putting the camera further away.
It's not only about focal length. Read Holger’s entire post. He gave you the step-by-step instructions. There are two critical components to DOF:

1) Open the iris ALL THE WAY. The iris is what controls the DOF. It’s the “pinhole” of a closed iris that increases the DOF, and the wide aperture that makes it shallow. You want it fully open for maximum shallowness. (use an ND filter if the scene is too bright but don’t close the iris!)

2) Zoom in ALL THE WAY. Not ½ not ¾ but all the way. Now place your camera wherever you have to, to frame the shot. Across the room, across the street, in the next state, whatever. ;-)

You need both of these to get the shallowest DOF. (iris fully open, zoom fully in). It also helps to separate the subject from the background as much as possible.

~jr
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Old February 28th, 2006, 10:36 PM   #7
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The problem with using only focal length as the method to increase DOF is that you get reduced field of view with a zoomed-in long focal length. If you only want to see the actor, this if fine, but if the background is at all relevant you have a problem. The only real solution is to use a camera with a larger CCD, or to use a 35mm lens adapter.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 02:29 PM   #8
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John's pretty much nailed it on the head.

This is exactly the technique I use regularly for shallow dof shots. One can try and play with the zoom settings for the balance of the depth (a field monitor here helps a great deal - or DV rack)

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