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Old October 14th, 2009, 02:02 PM   #1
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Has anyone ever shot anything extensive while mimicking a 35mm look?

Meaning when you zoom as far in as possible and change the focus without any adapters of extra lenses. Sorry if I am not using the proper terms, sort of new to this.

I recently shot this (see below) with this method and liked the results, but was wondering if this was a viable way of shooting film shorts while saving money at the same time. I understand that being zoomed in fully will make it nearly impossible to get any shots that involve movement, but I am asking more or less about subjects which aren't moving too quick or are still.

YouTube - View From the Window

I have not been able to test a human subject yet, so I have no idea if there are certain things that are so frustrating that its almost impossible.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 03:57 PM   #2
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That trick can be done for static shots, but you would need to place your camera really far away. Videotaping outdoor can do more since there would be more spaces to place your tripod away from the subject. Indoor - it is very difficult except if you are videotaping head and part of shoulder.

When I brought Letus HD adaptor Letus Corporation - Manufacturer's Website, you can get a 35mm look without zooming or moving your camera a mile away!

Joseph =)
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Old October 18th, 2009, 07:16 PM   #3
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Using very long lenses to achieve shallow depth of field is a trick that has been used extensively in both film and video - longer narrative works become quite difficult on smaller sensor sizes because you need to be a very long distance from the subject matter.

If you block and plan your project to account for this, you can make it work to some extent, but you'll need a really good tripod and other expensive gear for it to work well.
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Old October 19th, 2009, 04:11 AM   #4
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If your narrative involves any scenes in normal sized rooms, this technique will quickly become difficult to maintain. As you have seen, you need a substantial distance between camera and subject (and between subject and background) for this to work. Trying to design a narrative piece around these parameters is putting the cart before the horse; it's better to tell the story with the appropriate focal length and not worry about depth of field. It is more than possible to make beautiful images without the background being soft, regardless of the current fascination with shallow DOF.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 08:19 PM   #5
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I think the shallow DOF is largely over emphasized on many of these forums. A friend paid 2K for his adapter and he still doesn't have a good tripod. Medium to wide shots in 35mm always have a wide depth of field, it was only at 80mm or longer that you wever get much blurring in front or behind your focus point. As it was at 50mm you could set your aperture to 5.6 and focus at 5 feet be guaranteed everything from 3 feet to infity was in focus.... So I'm not a believer in dropping lots of money in an relay lens unless you have a very good reason and a very good budget. Better to watch your props and set colors and shoot medium shots with select close ups at a 80mm (35mm equivelant... so maybe 40mm with a 1/3 video camera for instance)

So my recap: Save your money, if you have close ups (dramatical punch lines) spend the time to have bland interiors behind your cast preferrably where you can back the camera to the corner, the cast close to the camera zoomed in as much as you can and have the opposite side of the room with little or no pictures on the wall and out of focus as much as you can with your aperture close to wide open.

I say get a better tripod and some used studio lights instead of a relay lens.

Outuside, use your ND built in on Max and maybe add a ND screw on filter to really help keep the outside dark enough so you can open up your aperture on your small chip (1/3 to 1/2) CCD/CMOS camera.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 12:03 AM   #6
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Keep in mind that usingthe liong end of the lens will also compress your image (visually) as in things in the background seem to be in the same space as the foreground, while a really wide lens will distort perspective. ie wide lens close to a persons face will make there nose look huge.

I agree the shallow DoF look is getting out of hand.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 01:12 PM   #7
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I agree with the depth of field thing. It's a waste of money... just shoot with what you have and make it look as good as possible. The film look doesn't come entirely from depth of field... it's the overall look. Whether you shoot 8mm, 16mm, or 35mm... regardless of depth of field, it still looks like film. The looks comes from how film effects shadows, highlights and overall depth.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 04:39 PM   #8
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Glad to see that not everyone is falling for the current uber-shallow trend.

Many of those who explore 35mm adaptors or DSLR's seem to feel that the only logical place to be on the lens is as close to wide open as possible. There are a lot of reasons for working at a "reasonable" stop, not the least of which is maintaining focus on the subject (oh, that!). I've seen little comedy shorts that have desperately shallow DOF, where the subject's eyes are in focus but their hair isn't. It just doesn't feel right.

Rack focuses are becoming what zooms became in 70's--overused and trite...
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 09:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Glad to see that not everyone is falling for the current uber-shallow trend.
I bought the JVC COPLA PL mount ciné lens adaptor for my JVC 1/3" HDV camera so I could emulate a 16mm (roughly 2/3", the broadcast "standard" imager size) DOF. I "settled" on this as a target because I was always able to work WITH the factors surrounding DOF to get the look I was after - sometimes BG out of focus was artistically a good choice, other times a blurry background was ESSENTIAL while shooting news and current affairs to keep folks in the background from inadvertently becoming the focus. Still other times, a BG IN focus for context was my goal. I bought the adaptor for CHOICES.

And now after that investment, I have STILL yet to use the adaptor on a paid shoot as I don't OWN any PL lenses and renting takes money out of my pocket. Soon, I keep promising myself...
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Old January 4th, 2010, 01:56 PM   #10
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Most movies these days have intentionally shaky cameras, which I think is achieved through simple hand held camera work (as opposed to purposely shaking a camera). So I don't see why you can't shoot a movie with your shallow depth of field method even without a tripod. My HDR-FX1 camera gets the shallow DOF quite easily, I don't need to zoom that far.
Don't worry if people think it's a trend, there's nothing wrong with shallow depth of field (or handheld camera work for that matter). I can't even think of the last movie I've seen that DIDN'T use shallow depth of field, and I see nothing wrong with you trying it.
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Old January 6th, 2010, 03:10 PM   #11
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Recent non very shallow DOF movies.... 3D movies tend not to have a shallow DOF, as do films with lots of green screen work.

Older films tend not to have a very shallow DOF and some even go for deep focus.
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Old January 6th, 2010, 03:22 PM   #12
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From the low budget shooter point of view, I agree with Charles Papert that shallow depth of field gets over used. To many times we see faces badly out of focus because the talent has moved an inch or two forward or backward with a "normal" lens wide open at F 1.2 or 1.4. While certain lighting conditions will mandate that wide of an opening, in shooting the Canon 5D, I am learning that F 4 to F8 is the sweet spot for a normal or short tele lens shooting a face, in which I want solid focus in hair, ear, eyes and nose. And when you are moving the camera or the talent is moving, higher F Stops are also important to provide some forgiveness in your follow focusing.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 04:57 PM   #13
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A cheat I often use for shallow dof in tight spaces with smaller sensor cameras is macro mode. Minimum focus distance on most cameras is around 80cm, so you need to be closer than that, and you also need to be careful of creating too much of a distorted perspective by getting too close. Zooming in a touch helps ameliorate that somewhat. Freaking your talent out by being so close can also be a problem, but if you show them a quick shot they understand how it works.
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