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Old July 23rd, 2007, 12:38 PM   #1
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Creating Depth of Field: With Low End Consumer Camera?

I am just really lost about all of this...
I have read a few sites about DoP and loads of threads here on DVinfo. But I have yet to see one that involves a consumer camera without spending hundreds on a 35mm adapter.

So how does one go about doing this?
My camera is a Canon Elura 100. It has almost full manual.. and it has a 20X optical zoom. It also has a 27mm thread on front. I currently have a UV filter on it just for protection.

So my question is; can it be done? I don't have much in the way of money, hence, I have a cheap camera. So I think a 35mm adapter is out of the question.

I don't think this has been talked about before here, but if it has, then please redirect me to it! And I apologize to the Administrator if so.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
~Gabriel
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 01:19 PM   #2
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Theres a discussion here about DoF, ND filters and manual exposure in consumer cameras.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=99109

If you want the quick answer, use an ND filter and a wide aperture in 'aperture priority' mode to get more depth of field, or just use the telephoto end of the zoom.

Can't understand why movie people are so hung up on the 'movie' DoF, to the extent that they try to turn video cameras into movie cameras with exotic adapters. Personally I love having everything in sharp focus, especially in HD - but that's just me.
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 03:04 PM   #3
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Thank you, Tony!

That is what I was looking for...

I know what you mean.. I like everything to be sharp, also. Its just the standers and all that. So I am just looking for some new stuff to try...

Thanks for the link!
~Gabriel
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 03:45 PM   #4
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It's for a feel, than anything.

In my experience, a movie-like DoF brings you into the story more. You've got specific areas that are in crisp focus that your eye is pulled towards, this helps immerse you into the production.

If you're watching two videotaped people talking and you can see everything in the background all crisp and clear, what's to stop your eye from wandering over to the guy in the background who is checking his watch, or reading a bus schedule?

On film, or video with the appropriate DoF, only the people you are supposed to pay attention to are in focus. That guy checking his watch or reading the bus schedule in the background isn't even noticed. And if you the story calls for you to notice him, the frame will focus on him and your eyes will automatically be directed to him.

Does that make sense?
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 03:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Will Mahoney View Post
In my experience, a movie-like DoF brings you into the story more. You've got specific areas that are in crisp focus that your eye is pulled towards, this helps immerse you into the production.

If you're watching two videotaped people talking and you can see everything in the background all crisp and clear, what's to stop your eye from wandering over to the guy in the background who is checking his watch, or reading a bus schedule?

On film, or video with the appropriate DoF, only the people you are supposed to pay attention to are in focus. That guy checking his watch or reading the bus schedule in the background isn't even noticed. And if you the story calls for you to notice him, the frame will focus on him and your eyes will automatically be directed to him.

Does that make sense?

Watch Citizen Cane. It is rated as the greatest American movie of all time. It uses no shallow DOF. I'm not saying DOF doesn't have its uses, but IMO it is way over used. Generally to hide poor production value.
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 06:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Mahoney View Post
In my experience, a movie-like DoF brings you into the story more. You've got specific areas that are in crisp focus that your eye is pulled towards, this helps immerse you into the production.

If you're watching two videotaped people talking and you can see everything in the background all crisp and clear, what's to stop your eye from wandering over to the guy in the background who is checking his watch, or reading a bus schedule?

On film, or video with the appropriate DoF, only the people you are supposed to pay attention to are in focus. That guy checking his watch or reading the bus schedule in the background isn't even noticed. And if you the story calls for you to notice him, the frame will focus on him and your eyes will automatically be directed to him.

Does that make sense?
Yes, that does make sense Will. Thank you.

I am sure I will use it. But I think what Ken is saying is true. IMO, I agree..

So yes, thank you. I was more so just wanting to know, so when I am in a place where it is needed, I can do it. I have yet to make a short with this camera. I did one thing, but it is not my doing.. It was just a plug and play, so to speak.

But I am in the process of setting up a new short. And in one of the scenes, I wanted it to have a lot of DoF. Thats why I asked for this...

Thank you for your info, guys!
~Gabriel
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 07:07 PM   #7
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Why is it when someone asks about Depth of Field they always say that they want "LOTS of DEPTH of FIELD", when in reality they want Less Depth of Field? Film has a shallow depth of field. Consumer camcorders have a large depth of field.

A large depth of field means that more of the shot is in focus.

A shallow depth of field means that less of the shot is in focus.


I don't mean to offend anyone, I'm just a technical guy.
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 07:25 PM   #8
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hahahaha. Thanks for that correction, Kevin.

I guess I should pay more close attention to what I say, huh?

I always wondered what way it was.. Thats why I not normally say it. haha.

~Gabriel
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 07:58 PM   #9
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Generally to hide poor production value.
I don't think its that at all. Shallow depth of field is a function of image size, f stop selection, effective focal length the lens, distance of subject from camera lens.

Now we as film watchers have grown accustomed to the inherently shallower depth of field that is produced by the combination of 35mm or 70mm film, and the lenses that are used to shoot it. In Citizen, the set had to have been lit up extensively to get the unique feel it imparts.

But I wouldn't call the current film makers lazy or lacking production values. Certainly, the selective focus of the larger format film has that capability of drawing are attention to the focus of attention, and blurring the extraneous surroundings, while not detracting from the overall image...
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 08:54 PM   #10
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I'm not saying shallow DOF = low production values, I am saying it is often used, or over used, to fake high production values (film look) and to also hide low production values (blur out lacking sets/non scripted people ect..)
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Old July 24th, 2007, 07:40 AM   #11
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Watch Citizen Cane. It is rated as the greatest American movie of all time. It uses no shallow DOF. I'm not saying DOF doesn't have its uses, but IMO it is way over used.
Deep focus was a style on American war and post war cinema (William Wyler was another proponent) but it seriously helped that those movies were
a) shot in Black & White (Texasville was a colour movie shot in a deep focus style and it looks a little ugly.)
b) generally shot in studios where composition including everything in the background could be very carefully controlled.

Quote:
Generally to hide poor production value.
Well Duh... I mean most of us don't have Orson Welles' budget.
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Old July 24th, 2007, 03:56 PM   #12
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Well Duh... I mean most of us don't have Orson Welles' budget.
Exactly why IMO it is way over used effect .
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Old July 25th, 2007, 08:01 AM   #13
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Citizen Kane (that's Kane with a K) was not a big-budget movie. At just under $700,000, it was a healthy budget for a first-time feature filmmaker in 1940, but not what could be called "big" budget for the time.

In fact Welles never did anything that could be categorized as big budget.

Sorry for the OT post but I've just recently read Barbara Leaming's bio on OW.
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Old July 25th, 2007, 10:31 AM   #14
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Citizen Kane (that's Kane with a K) was not a big-budget movie. At just under $700,000, it was a healthy budget for a first-time feature filmmaker in 1940, but not what could be called "big" budget for the time.

In fact Welles never did anything that could be categorized as big budget.
Interesting, according to http://www.westegg.com/inflation/ that would come out at about £10,000,000 in today's money, but Wikipedia cites the average movie budget in 1940 as £400,000, so CK got not much under Twice the average. In 2000 the average was £50,000,000.*

So I think it unlikely you could ever categorise CK as anything approaching a LOW budget production.

Thing is, were Welles making the film today, where he might get, say a £15,000,000 budget (like first time feature director but previous theatre director star Sam Mendes for American Beauty) where he wouldn't have been able to afford the big sets and have the high production value design he got, yet would have been working with with much sharper film stock and lenses, would he have still chosen the deep focus look?

in 1947, Lady from Shanghai cost $2,000,000 when average budgets would have been under half that, but it's correct to say he never got projects with Gone With The Wind type resources, more's the pity.

BTW there's a lot of deep focus stuff in 2001: A Space Odyssey (despite working in 65mm) which never looks cheap AND is in colour, but once again almost everything is shot in a studio or back lot, or is a special effect.


*O.K, it's Wikipedia though there ARE cited sources for these fugures but as I don't have the Finler book to hand, and the Box Office Mojo site doesn't break down it's figures, I've no idea of the figures are comapring like for like, but it does imply that was CK made today it would likely have cost TENS of millions.
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Old July 25th, 2007, 11:27 AM   #15
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YEahm, sorry Chris, looking at the top topic, this HAS wondered WAY off.
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