hey everyone - first post here! so i thought i'd ask a question that has baffled me for years.. and might have a very simple explanation (i'm a professional cameraman who has been doing this for a decade, so i'm a little embarrassed to be asking):
quite often in both large scale TV and film productions i'll notice on CUs of actor's faces with shallow DOF that the focal point is a good inch behind their eyes - the tops of the actor's ears are tack sharp, but their eyes and face are slightly softer. when i first started noticing this i assumed it was a mistake / sloppy focus pulling, assuming that an actor's eyes should always be their sharpest feature in a close up, but then i noticed this "technique"(?) more and more often and realized it must be intentional.
it occurred to me that DPs might be going for a soft focus effect on the face because it's more flattering on the subject, but then .. why is this an effect i see so inconsistently, even within a particular film? curious how obvious of an answer this might be. be gentle, i'm self taught and never went to proper film school.