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#1 Ken Minehan

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 12:49 AM

Hi Guys,
I had a question about focus.

Sometimes i see TV commercials that has the subject very sharp in focus where as some other commercials and films are in focus yet softer.

I have read in other threads that contrast in lighting gives you a sharper looking image?
However I have seen beauty commercials that are very evenly lit yet seem extremely sharp.

How does film stock play a role in giving you a sharper image?

How about lenses. Which lens can give you a very sharp image?

Thanks
Ken Minehan
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#2 Jan Weis

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 04:25 AM

Hi Guys,
I had a question about focus.

Sometimes i see TV commercials that has the subject very sharp in focus where as some other commercials and films are in focus yet softer.

I have read in other threads that contrast in lighting gives you a sharper looking image?
However I have seen beauty commercials that are very evenly lit yet seem extremely sharp.

How does film stock play a role in giving you a sharper image?

How about lenses. Which lens can give you a very sharp image?

Thanks
Ken Minehan


When you say that you've seen movies that have a softer focus, do you mean in some shots or scenes? Or do you mean the entire movie?

Yes its true, Contrast often provides an illusion that the image is sharper than it really is. Also close ups often appear sharper than wide angled shots.

Filmstocks that have a lower ASA might appear sharper, in the sense that you see more details, however many people
around here would disagree with this notion.

Lenses are the key to sharp images, thats why the good ones come at such a high price (but also because of their low T-stops)

To conclude I'd like to say that soft focus is mostly visable on the big screen, its harder to see it on low resolution tv
screens.

/Jan
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#3 Ken Minehan

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 04:43 AM

Ok thanks Jan. When i say softer focus i mean for the whole movie. It's not out of focus but it seems to have a softer feel.

Which lenses do you think give you the sharpest image. I dont mean a video lens kind of sharpness, but the kind where you see all the lines and wrinkles on an old mans face for example.

Thanks
ken Minehan
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 09:29 PM

Ok thanks Jan. When i say softer focus i mean for the whole movie. It's not out of focus but it seems to have a softer feel.

Which lenses do you think give you the sharpest image. I dont mean a video lens kind of sharpness, but the kind where you see all the lines and wrinkles on an old mans face for example.

Thanks
ken Minehan

Generally, the most modern high-end prime lenses like Zeiss Ultra Primes, Zeiss Master Primes, Panavision Primos, and (controversially) Cooke S4's have the best glass and highest quality lens coatings which optimize contrast by reducing lens flare and are made to produce sharp images even at their widest apertures, where older designs like Zeiss Super Speeds tend to lose some of their resolving ability. The Cooke S4's are "controversial" because many people feel that they are designed to be less sharp than the Zeiss lenses, instead aiming to create a rounder, more painterly image. You probably wouldn't notice the difference on TV or DVD unless you were looking for specific Cooke lens artifacts, though. Also, don't forget that a lot of DP's like to soften modern lenses with all kinds of diffusion filters, especially when shooting an actress's CU.

Shooting a film stock which is higher in contrast will make a difference in perceptual sharpness as well. Try shooting reversal stock even with old lenses on a sunny day, and you'll see what I mean. I suspect that most of these sharp-looking commercials were lit soft with sharp lenses, and then had the contrast increased in telecine (blacks crushed, mids lifted, whites lifted, saturation increased). Probably noise-reduced as well. This would give the impression of the ad having been shot on slow-fine grained stock with contrasty lighting and sharp lenses, while still having soft flattering light on the actress's face. It's a cheat!

That's why I think a DP like Lance Acord, ASC ("Lost in Translation", "Marie Antoinette") is so interesting -- when he shoots a low-con looking film, he embraces the low-con look totally and doesn't rely on adding contrast in post to make it look conventionally pretty.
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#5 Jamie McIntyre

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 12:09 AM

I have a question about focus also.

In Spider Man 3 there was an amazing rack focus of the villain Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church). It was near the start of the film. A police car drives off into the back ground and Sandman enters the left of the frame. He is in very soft focus and looking away from the camera in the direction of the police car. When he looks forward (almost breaking the 4th wall) The focus racks extremely fast and Sandman becomes in very sharp focus.

I have never seen a rack focus that sharp or quick, i don't know if anyone else has seen it but i would love to incorporate it in some of my future work if presented with the chance.

If anyone knows how it was achieved i would appreciate any feedback. Is it the lens, the skill of the 1st AC, digitally enhanced?

Thanks in advance,

Jamie McIntyre
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 07:33 PM

I have a question about focus also.

In Spider Man 3 there was an amazing rack focus of the villain Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church). It was near the start of the film. A police car drives off into the back ground and Sandman enters the left of the frame. He is in very soft focus and looking away from the camera in the direction of the police car. When he looks forward (almost breaking the 4th wall) The focus racks extremely fast and Sandman becomes in very sharp focus.

I have never seen a rack focus that sharp or quick, i don't know if anyone else has seen it but i would love to incorporate it in some of my future work if presented with the chance.

If anyone knows how it was achieved i would appreciate any feedback. Is it the lens, the skill of the 1st AC, digitally enhanced?

Thanks in advance,

Jamie McIntyre


I don't remember that but if it was when we was in regular human form, I must assume it's just a really good, accurate 1st. If it was when the sandman was in his sand-form, it could have been digitally created.
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#7 Jamie McIntyre

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 10:58 PM

I don't remember that but if it was when we was in regular human form, I must assume it's just a really good, accurate 1st. If it was when the sandman was in his sand-form, it could have been digitally created.


Yeah he was in regular human form. It was before he obtained the ability of the sandman.
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