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Old September 19th, 2005, 10:42 AM   #1
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Over used shallow D.O.F.

With the advent of these new shallow D.O.F. adapters I can tell that a lot of folks are going to over use them with their film language. If you look at most movies (common film language) shallow depth of field is mainly used for Close Ups and Close Inserts of props.
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Old September 19th, 2005, 10:55 AM   #2
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Yup. I'd say you're right.
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Old September 19th, 2005, 12:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting that, I couldn't agree more. While it can be a nice effect it can also be a real cliche. And remember that directors like Hitchcock and Welles went to great lengths to acheive greater depth of field. My favorite is the final scene of Hitchcock's Spellbound where the head of the asylum points a gun at Ingrid Bergman. We view this all from the gunman's eyes and Hitchcock wanted the foreground and background both in sharp focus. To acheive this he built a huge hand and gun!
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Old September 19th, 2005, 12:57 PM   #4
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To be fair it's all part of learning. When I bought a split diopter I had to go out and start looking for reasons to use it. I'm sure most people will eventually learn to use the effect tastefully. I hope anyway.
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Old September 19th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #5
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I watched the 100 Greatest Movie Quotes on Bravo (via AFI) and when they got to the scene in Midnight Cowboy when Hoffman and Voight are walking down the street in the daylight, and the cab almost hits them and Hoffman says, "I'm walking over here!", there's a lot of shallow depth of field, and I thought it was cool.

I want to do some shallow DOF on my next film. More than I have been doing.

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Old September 20th, 2005, 12:24 AM   #6
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I tend to go away from shallow DOF. I said it in another post some time ago, but to me it doesn't represent how my eyes work (assuming I haven't consumed too much Shiner Bock the previous evening). Although we may only focus our eyes in a narrow range, the autofocus is pretty darn fast and you just see everything in focus if you shift your gaze from near to far or vise versa.

I know why it's used but to some degree it is a workaround that was adopted early on by those who wanted to not have to arrange or remove distracting scene elements to force the viewer's attention towards the subject of interest. Just blur everything else and then you have no choice but to look at the subject.

It is an effect like any other and should be used sparingly as a means to an end. That's also what I like about true HD material and deep DOF. With a lot of the scene in focus, you can almost feel like you're there.

But hey, that's just me.

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Old September 20th, 2005, 01:39 AM   #7
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I was watching Total Recall and I noticed that there is not a lot of shallow D.O.F. in it. It is definately there, but it is nowhere near as much as what some people are doing. All in and all though, I would say that shallow D.O.F. is definately a part of modern film language.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 11:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Boston
I said it in another post some time ago, but to me it doesn't represent how my eyes work (assuming I haven't consumed too much Shiner Bock the previous evening). Although we may only focus our eyes in a narrow range, the autofocus is pretty darn fast and you just see everything in focus if you shift your gaze from near to far or vise versa.
Very true. On the other hand, however, our eye (or rather our brain) is able to fade out (sorry, I don't know a better word at the moment) everything that does not interest us. If we talk to somebody we hardly notice, unlike the camera, that there are distracting things in the background. That is one reason to use a shallow D.O.F. .

But yes, it can be overdone.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 11:28 AM   #9
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Iím a firm believer that technique should never be seen by the viewer but I know we are at a disadvantage- :)
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Old September 20th, 2005, 11:31 AM   #10
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Last night I watched a rough cut of an HD feature I shot at a screening (Sony F900). Much of the film takes place in elaborate settings that are virtually characters themselves, and as such I tended to use wider lenses to play many of the scenes. I almost never "forced" a shallow depth of field by specifically shooting longer lens, except a pivotal scene towards the end of the film. There were very few times that I wished I had been able to get a slightly softer background than what was on screen--I'm happy with the way it looks. Granted, the F900 is better able to resolve background detail than any 1/3" camera, but I usually shoot DV with the same approach; put the camera where it feels right and don't worry about it.

That said, I do like using the Mini35 when I can, but even then I don't make it all about the shallow focus, it happens where it happens.

An exception is when shooting over-the-shoulder coverage; I really don't like the foreground shoulder to look sharp. This is even an issue for me when shooting Super 16mm.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #11
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A refresher on any camera, HD, HDV, DV, etc. Is it:

1. More open iris=shallow depth of field (less in focus).

2. More closed iris=deeper depth of field (more in focus).

Or do I have it backwards?

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Old September 20th, 2005, 11:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heath McKnight
A refresher on any camera, HD, HDV, DV, etc. Is it:

1. More open iris=shallow depth of field (less in focus).

2. More closed iris=deeper depth of field (more in focus).

Or do I have it backwards?

heath
Yeah, you have it right. But I think with 1/3" cameras the difference is probably negligible.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 12:07 PM   #13
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I think people who are new to shallow-DOF-adapters are indeed going to overuse the effect, but not forever. As Marco said, it's all part of learning and eventually most will learn to use it tastefully. It's the same as anything else - closeups, you name it.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 01:04 PM   #14
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Motivation.. shots should be motivated not constructed to show off or look cool. A shallow DOF causes you to focus on a specific object, not the surrounding environment. I like shooting very wide shots and cutting them with tight shots with a shallow DOF. The old black & white movies are a little bit of a different animal, B&W just looks better wide and those oldschool talented directors had to tell the story in the cut, a talent that seems to be lost on modern film makers....




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Old September 20th, 2005, 01:15 PM   #15
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by shallow-DOF-adapters are you talking about mini35 adapters?
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