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Controlling DOF


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#1 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 03:19 AM

I've often wondered why on certain projects, one would want to keep the same DOF for a scene, say an EXT beach shot. I know DP's mention that they dislike shooting with filters...etc but I'm wondering if the DOF becomes a continuity issue?

Am I thinking about this all wrong?

Thanks,
Jamie

PS, was just thinking that if they DOF was changing, that meant the stop was changing (or lens) and that meant the light is changing, so in an INT scene; that's no bueno.
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#2 David Auner aac

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 04:24 AM

I've often wondered why on certain projects, one would want to keep the same DOF for a scene, say an EXT beach shot. I know DP's mention that they dislike shooting with filters...etc but I'm wondering if the DOF becomes a continuity issue?

PS, was just thinking that if they DOF was changing, that meant the stop was changing (or lens) and that meant the light is changing, so in an INT scene; that's no bueno.


IMO that depends on the circumstance. For instance you start with a wide angle master shot. The you move in to take coverage e.g. shot/counter shot CUs with long lenses. DOF has changed but that's totally acceptable and you can't do much about it anyway.

But if you cut together two CUs, one with shallow DOF and one with deep DOF I would only do that if it served a purpose, e.g. the one CU has a person in the BG which is important to the story, a detective watching two bad guys dealing... a wife watching her husband and his lover....

Same goes for continuity, one CU is shallow DOF then you cut to the counter shot and back and this time it's deep, I'd be distracted...

Cheers, Dave
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#3 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 12:19 PM

IMO that depends on the circumstance. For instance you start with a wide angle master shot. The you move in to take coverage e.g. shot/counter shot CUs with long lenses. DOF has changed but that's totally acceptable and you can't do much about it anyway.

But if you cut together two CUs, one with shallow DOF and one with deep DOF I would only do that if it served a purpose, e.g. the one CU has a person in the BG which is important to the story, a detective watching two bad guys dealing... a wife watching her husband and his lover....

Same goes for continuity, one CU is shallow DOF then you cut to the counter shot and back and this time it's deep, I'd be distracted...

Cheers, Dave



Oh, that's understood. Thank you for the explanation.

I'm wondering if when you change lenses, is the 1st reading DOF charts to keep it all consistent?
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 12:26 PM

Oh, that's understood. Thank you for the explanation.

I'm wondering if when you change lenses, is the 1st reading DOF charts to keep it all consistent?


Generally the same lens is used for both closeups in a conversation, so it basically takes care of itself.
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 12:55 AM

One gig I AC'd on spent most of its budget getting a pro DP and a pro sound recordist and didn't have anything left in its budget for a 2nd AC or anyone else who could take detailed notes as we went. This caused a problem while shooting one scene, because we'd shot one actor's closeups, then moved to medium, then wides of both of them. Then, when we went to do a close-up of the other actor from the reverse angle, we weren't completely sure what lens we used for the initial closeup.

Thankfully I remembered, but for the look and for the closeups to cut together well, it was crucial that we had that same DoF.

It's always a good idea to just have SOMEONE else there to jot down those little facts that will probably save you further along.
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#6 Michael Collier

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 09:20 PM

I gotta disagree. DOF is something you can constantly play with in a scene. Give one person a deep focus CU and they are in a busy environment, somewhat oppressive maybe, then cut to a CU with shallow DOF and they seem to be in the power position, or maybe just calmer in their mind or whatever your trying to intimate.

Its subtle but I always choose DOF on the scene itself. Its like framing. You might shoot one persons reax a bit dirty with a shoulder or ear in frame for one, but clean for another charecter in the same scene. It all depends on the spatial and contextual relationship you are building between the two having talks. This can also set up a rythm that can be changed mid-scene to indicate a shift in power or what have you. Few things are every purely a continuity issue, and I think DOF really can't be a continuity problem, at least not the way I see it. Opinions may vary.
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#7 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 11:06 PM

it was crucial that we had that same DoF.


I was just speaking within the context of the film I was working on. Of course, the method and choice of using DOF in a scene is completely open to the filmmakers

:)
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