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#1 Paul Bruening

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 02:34 PM

Given that bokeh occupies more screen space than any other single lens characteristic, we discuss proportionately little about it. It's more like the retarded cousin that no one in the family ever talks about.

Max is one of the champions of bokeh, here. He has contributed much to the topic. But, shouldn't we have more to say about it? Is it so ignorable? Don't we all have at least one observation about it? Or is its real value its inherent ignore-ability?

I'm afraid Max has really infected me with this topic. I spend a lot of time these days looking at the out of focus parts of the screen, which are significantly present indeed.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 03:30 PM

While it's certainly there the only though I had given to it was in reference to a short which I wrote which i'll never have the money to shoot using Anamorphics to use the elongated Bokeh to show a strange world the main character falls into. Just my thought on it all and very on the nose, I know.
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 05:28 PM

I pay attention to what is *in* focus. Sorry, no counting number of iris elements in the OOF areas for me. . .
;)
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#4 Simon Wyss

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 06:18 AM

Paul, I think you're quite right in your approach to what optical projections are. When I study pioneer films they invariably establish total focus pictures, so to say. Donisthorpe, Le Prince, Dickson, Démény, Skladanowsky, the Lumière, they all saught everything to be sharp and neat although they struggled with light. Still, it is reported that Lumière operators liked to stop down to 4 or 5.6 in the sun but they had the most sensitive emulsion of all.

I have a lot of admiration for Jacques Tati(cheff) who was not afraid of a very slow pace in his films, of long shots and little to no bokeh. One can say he is close to filmed theatre. Tati is very filmy. When we look at the beginning of Play Time (in Todd-A. O. 70 mm) for instance he literally plays with an unidentifiable aspect of a hall, is it a hospital now or an office building or are we at an exhibition? For this he shows all detail, and that is very modern to me whereas today's movies represent some fallback into the period of Have-you-now-finally-seen-what-it-is-about-? of___C o l d___W a r.


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#5 Paul Bruening

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 09:54 PM

Could we be getting more out of an image if we treated bokeh with more respect and not just a way to force viewer's eyes to the subject. Can we embed more unconscious information there? Has anyone read any tests on OoF area impact on viewers?
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#6 Joshua Jackson

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 05:37 PM

I'm very sure it could join the "not so various" and sundry cliches:
-It's what you don't light
-It's what you don't say
-It's what you don't do
-It's what you don't focus upon

It's definitely something on which to spend more time and study. I believe some sort of collected study would be interesting; however, the subjectivity of the actual affect of the OoF material could itself exceed any grounded studies. There are seemingly infinitive variations on the amount of "out of focus"ness possible.
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#7 Mike Washlesky

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:06 PM

Given that bokeh occupies more screen space than any other single lens characteristic, we discuss proportionately little about it. It's more like the retarded cousin that no one in the family ever talks about.

Max is one of the champions of bokeh, here. He has contributed much to the topic. But, shouldn't we have more to say about it? Is it so ignorable? Don't we all have at least one observation about it? Or is its real value its inherent ignore-ability?

I'm afraid Max has really infected me with this topic. I spend a lot of time these days looking at the out of focus parts of the screen, which are significantly present indeed.



I guess I am an idiot. What is "bokeh"??
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#8 Matthew Buick

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 03:31 PM

Bokeh is a point of strong light that's made out of focus by the lens of the camera. Here's a good example below.

Here. Sorry I can't directly link the photo.


I'm normally a huge fan of bokeh, but my HV30 has a four bladed shutter that produces a diamond shaped bokeh that I'm not so keen on.

Edited by Matthew Buick, 09 December 2008 - 03:32 PM.

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#9 Mike Washlesky

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 04:23 PM

Bokeh is a point of strong light that's made out of focus by the lens of the camera. Here's a good example below.

Here. Sorry I can't directly link the photo.


I'm normally a huge fan of bokeh, but my HV30 has a four bladed shutter that produces a diamond shaped bokeh that I'm not so keen on.



i thought those were called "Circles of confusion". Different?
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#10 Matthew Buick

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 04:26 PM

Ooh...perhaps that's another name for them.
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#11 Will Earl

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 04:27 PM

What about the shape of the boken?

Is there a preferred shape to the boken? Is there a shape that we tend to find more aesthetically pleasing or 'natural'? 4-sided doesn't sound too good according to Matt, but what about 5 or 6 sides? Is it better to have something more circular?

Has anyone used the shape to creative effect - either as part of the storytelling or even just as a gimmick? As an example I'm thinking along the lines of the Lensbaby 'Creative Aperture' system. I'm not sure how possible it would be to change out the aperture on most camera lenses.
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#12 Matthew Buick

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 04:34 PM

It's a personal thing of course, but I do like circular bokeh in the vast majority of photos. But what can you expect from what is just a consumer camcorder.
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#13 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 04:56 PM

Has anyone used the shape to creative effect - either as part of the storytelling or even just as a gimmick? As an example I'm thinking along the lines of the Lensbaby 'Creative Aperture' system. I'm not sure how possible it would be to change out the aperture on most camera lenses.


You don't have to change out the lenses aperture.
A mask in the filter ring will work. The square matte on the front of Cooke zooms produces square bokeh. You can cut out masks in all sorts of silly shapes, Xmas trees, letters, derr crossing signs, what ever.

The actual mask will be so out of focus as to be invisible, but will affect the shape of out of focus images.

Testing required.
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#14 Will Earl

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 05:12 PM

Leo,

Did not know - always assumed it was solely aperture related. Anyway that'll be my new thing which I've learnt today.
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#15 Paul Bruening

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 08:32 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh
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#16 Josh Silfen

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 09:27 PM

Has anyone used the shape to creative effect - either as part of the storytelling or even just as a gimmick? As an example I'm thinking along the lines of the Lensbaby 'Creative Aperture' system. I'm not sure how possible it would be to change out the aperture on most camera lenses.


I was once going to shoot a short film that was a fictional story about the origin of paisley. I planned to use a cut-out of a paisley shape on the front of the lens, and lots of Christmas lights in the background to get all the circles of confusion to look like paisley. I was even hoping to use a lens with a rotating front element so all the paisley shapes in the background would rotate as the lens was focused and call more attention to them. In the end, the shoot never happened, and I haven't found a use for this gimmick since.
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#17 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 03:31 AM

Perfectly round out-of-focus highlights are the most natural obviously, but as soon as you start stopping down, you'll start seeing the shape of the iris. So the more iris blades, the more circular the out-of-focus highlights appear. The Hawks and their 15 iris blades are the only lenses that I know of that you can stop down and not see the shape of the iris. Cooke S4s give the ugliest out-of-focus highlights on the other hand. 8 sides that are not stright, but bend slightly inwards.
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#18 Chris Keth

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 05:23 AM

I rather like the odd shape of S4 bokeh. On the other hand, one thing I like about shooting 8x10 stills is the lenses that routinely have 20 or more iris blades and give a really super smooth look to the out of focus stuff, which can be a lot of a picture on 8x10; the normal lens is a 300mm.
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#19 Paul Bruening

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 03:14 PM

What about composing frames more with bokeh (OoF) in mind? What about unconscious or subconscious elements in that area? Could bokeh-space be a more usable space?
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#20 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 04:02 PM

That's what I love about anamorphic, you can really play with the out-of-focus parts and use them for your compositions. As soon as you go very close to someone, you still have more than half of the frame to put in out-of-focus elements. And Im not just talking about pretty background, but important picture information.
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