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Deep Focus


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:07 AM

I've read a little about how to shoot deep focus photography, but I was wondering if anyone has done it, and knows what the process is? I gather that excessive light is a must, to allow for tight aperture (f22 I believe) and increased depth of field, but is there anything else? Any film stocks well suited for DF? What about lenses? Does it only work with wide-angle primes, or could it be done with telephotos or zooms? I'd greatly appreciate any tips on recreating this wonderful (and sadly neglected) technique!
Best,
Brian Rose
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 10:48 AM

The more you stop down, the more depth of field you get.

Wide-angle lenses make the background look farther away, so small details back there look more in focus; a telephoto lens enlarges the background, making its lack of focus compared to the subject more obvious. So even though wide-angle lenses don't technically increase depth of field -- because if you want to keep the same subject size, you have to move closer to the subject, and depth of field drops off again as you focus closer -- they give the illusion of greater depth of field.

Smaller target areas than 35mm allow use of shorter lenses to get the same view as a longer lens in 35mm, and thus tend to produce the effect of more depth of field.

I've used tilt-focus lenses to hold two subjects in a raking shot in focus, and then stopped down to f/16 to create an overall greater depth of field.
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 11:31 AM

Mr. Mullen,
Would you be able to recommend any good sources (whether book or online) for basic info on depth of field? I realize how critical an understanding of this concept is, and admittedly I lack understanding of it. Thanks!
Best,
Brian Rose
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#4 Sam Wells

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:29 PM

Ansel Adams' "The Camera"

-Sam
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#5 Stephen Williams

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 01:51 PM

Mr. Mullen,
Would you be able to recommend any good sources (whether book or online) for basic info on depth of field? I realize how critical an understanding of this concept is, and admittedly I lack understanding of it. Thanks!
Best,
Brian Rose


Brian,

Try this:-

http://www.vanwalree...optics/dof.html

Stephen
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#6 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 02:44 PM

Ansel Adams' "The Camera"

-Sam



I was waiting for someone to mention that Man.

Look him up. Although he was shooting 8x10 (film size; compare that to your 35mm), and had the time to expose it at f/64, it's a little harder to do in motion pictures, since an aperture of f/32,/f64 bring about some real light problems, leaving you to tweak the shutter, giving a nice surreal drunk effect.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 03:02 PM

I was waiting for someone to mention that Man.

Look him up. Although he was shooting 8x10 (film size; compare that to your 35mm), and had the time to expose it at f/64, it's a little harder to do in motion pictures, since an aperture of f/32,/f64 bring about some real light problems, leaving you to tweak the shutter, giving a nice surreal drunk effect.



Well, that and you can use the tilts and shifts on view cameras like he normally used to move the plane of prime focus. If he was shooting in Yosemite, say, he would tilt the top of the film plane back so that the plane of sharp focus would tilt to make a line between the foreground in front of the camera and the mountains in the distance. While this would be a terrible idea for cinematographers because of the wild perspective tricks this would play when you move the camera, it's a beautiful thing in still photography to have that much control.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 03:24 PM

Assuming you have to run at 24 fps, in motion picture film it's pretty much the practical manner of being able to light (well) to a high f-stop level.

A good example, besides "Citizen Kane", is "Paper Moon", which was all shot in 35mm b&w at f/16 on a 25mm lens I believe, even close-ups. Watch that to get a sense of the depth of field effects.
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#9 Sam Wells

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 06:54 PM

I suggested that book because it describes what lenses do and how.

-Sam
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 07:21 PM

Since this movie is about to come out, I don't think the studio will mind a low-rez AVID screen grab (it's even got my initials on it so they can track me down), but here's a shot where I did a deep focus effect in anamorphic by using the 90mm slant-focus Panavision lens, shot at f/8, the lens slanted to hold the near left and far right of the frame in the plane of focus:

Posted Image

Generally I discovered that even when using the slant-focus lenses, they look better if you also stop down a lot if you're going for a deep focus effect. The girl in the shot is being questioned by a school principal (off-camera) while a mysterious stranger (to her) is sitting behind her, so the idea was the by putting him in focus, it draws attention to the fact that someone is sitting behind her (plus some of his reactions can be read as well.)
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Rig Wheels Passport

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Technodolly

Tai Audio

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Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape