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Overuse of Shallow Focus - esp in Vids
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mattm


Aug 19, 2010, 8:44 PM
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Overuse of Shallow Focus - esp in Vids
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Is it just me or does it seem like EVERYONE with a new dSLR that's capable of video seem to shoot FAR TOO MUCH at F1.4? Jeebus! That and the tilt-shift lens. It's especially irritating with all the climbing vids that pop up on Vimeo. I appreciate a nice shallow focus close up on chalky fingers as much as the next guy but at some point you gotta change it up a bit. Drives me crazy when the entire vid has no more depth of field than a foot or two MAX. Especially when the subject moves out of the focal plane. Either pull focus or stop it down.

I sat through MANY lectures on deep focus in film school and a well executed shot at F8 and up can be amazing.

There are Pros out there that mix it up quite well but often times the MOST memorable shots are the ones where you can see for EVER. Simon Carter's work comes to mind.

Great Photographers use a bit of everything and do it WELL. They don't need to be "trendy". Hopefully we'll get past this obsession of F1.4 and change it up again. (Like a little while ago where Everyone had to shoot with strobes! Glad that's past us by for the most part)

Whew. Sorry to rant but I'm batting 5 for 5 on Vimeo this week with blurry backgrounds...


styndall


Aug 19, 2010, 10:14 PM
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Re: [mattm] Overuse of Shallow Focus - esp in Vids [In reply to]
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I really like seeing video shots with very narrow depth of field. Not exclusively, of course, but it's a nice effect, and I think it's great that consumer DSLRs can shoot quality video like that.


mattm


Aug 20, 2010, 8:31 AM
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Re: [styndall] Overuse of Shallow Focus - esp in Vids [In reply to]
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styndall wrote:
I really like seeing video shots with very narrow depth of field. Not exclusively, of course, but it's a nice effect, and I think it's great that consumer DSLRs can shoot quality video like that.

Agreed it looks FANTASTIC a lot of the time. I love the shots that focus your attention on a single flower and then move (via focus pull) to reveal the vast expanse of wall behind. Video guys have wanted 35mm depth of field in video FOREVER and them some. Now with dSLR 35mm, we can achieve an even smaller plane of focus than 35mm motion picture cameras (35mm dSLR have larger sensors than the equivalent motion picture negm thus smaller depth of field).

Just saying that I think you need to be careful not to OVER use it. Something that tends to occur when you've WANTED to use it for a long time. I see it most in wide shots looking down at the climbing. Yes, it isolates them on the wall (pretty) but I often want to know WHERE the climber is in "space" and I haven't been given that yet due to shallow depth of field. I think things are a bit different when dealing with still shots mind you...

There's actually been documented trends in cinema AWAY from deep focus. Can't find my books on it but check out Wiki "deep focus" or http://www.nytimes.com/...ogin&oref=slogin

I'm going to re-watch some stuff and see if I'm overa reacting too - There was one video a few weeks ago that put me over the edge and now I find my self LOOKING for it, rather than watching the film as a stand alone product.

Cheers!


Paulbmounds


Aug 20, 2010, 9:56 AM
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Re: [mattm] Overuse of Shallow Focus - esp in Vids [In reply to]
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How things have changed since I used a DR70 wind up 16mm single system with a 3 lens turret. I learned with those and Arriflex double system sound, and also worked with the Marine Corps Motion Picture Unit at Camp Pendleton where we shot with 35mm cinema. Also learned a lot a the Marine Corps Cinematography Schools at USC Los Angeles.


mattm


Aug 20, 2010, 10:07 AM
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Re: [Paulbmounds] Overuse of Shallow Focus - esp in Vids [In reply to]
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Paulbmounds wrote:
How things have changed since I used a DR70 wind up 16mm single system with a 3 lens turret. I learned with those and Arriflex double system sound, and also worked with the Marine Corps Motion Picture Unit at Camp Pendleton where we shot with 35mm cinema. Also learned a lot a the Marine Corps Cinematography Schools at USC Los Angeles.

Yep - I learned on an ARRI 16s with the 3 turret lens system. Pretty sure they were angenieux primes in there. My prof wouldn't let us use the zoom lens AT ALL for the first year. Made you really think about your setups and "cut in your head"

Those old cameras were built like TANKS.

I do like how all this new, lightweight equipment has made the overall quality better though. Cedar Wright has a nifty portable mini dolly track he uses with his dSLR - sweet, old school looking stuff.


CCSRacer


Aug 21, 2010, 12:09 PM
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Re: [mattm] Overuse of Shallow Focus - esp in Vids [In reply to]
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Boo hoo. As long as it's used properly, I enjoy a shallow DOF. Not necessarily 1.4, but a discernible field of focus is a lot closer to how us humans are used to seeing the world.


esqueleto


Sep 22, 2010, 12:09 PM
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Heh, well, it's trendy and if its all you know, then it's all you will use. You ever get sick of watching skateboard films with the fish eye? The fish eye lens pretty much ruined skateboard flicks as it got overused just like the shallow DOF, thats not to say it is bad or isn't necessary, just overused.

On the bright side, if you make something with variety it separates you form everyone else. In todays world and market where anyone can make a photograph or video, proper techniques and skill still shine through all of the crap stuff that's out there.


LeadZeppelin


Feb 27, 2011, 11:38 AM
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My DSLR can't do video, but with regard to still photography, I can give you the perspective of a photog noob.

I'm not a photographer. I got a DSLR because I wanted to get into it. I've only had the camera for four months or so, and I don't get to use it that often. Anyway, not knowing much about photography, shooting a shallow depth of field is an easy way for me to create a more artsy photo. I fully realize that it's a substitute for actual skill, but at the moment that's about what I'm left with!

That said, even I get tired of people who shoot every picture with a super shallow depth of field. To me it just screams lack of skill or lack of creativity. For me, it's true: I really do lack photography skill right now. But it's definitely annoying when I see professional photographers doing this. I think, "shouldn't you have more tricks up your sleeve?"


mattm


Feb 27, 2011, 11:40 AM
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Re: [LeadZeppelin] Overuse of Shallow Focus - esp in Vids [In reply to]
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LeadZeppelin wrote:
My DSLR can't do video, but with regard to still photography, I can give you the perspective of a photog noob.

I'm not a photographer. I got a DSLR because I wanted to get into it. I've only had the camera for four months or so, and I don't get to use it that often. Anyway, not knowing much about photography, shooting a shallow depth of field is an easy way for me to create a more artsy photo. I fully realize that it's a substitute for actual skill, but at the moment that's about what I'm left with!

That said, even I get tired of people who shoot every picture with a super shallow depth of field. To me it just screams lack of skill or lack of creativity. For me, it's true: I really do lack photography skill right now. But it's definitely annoying when I see professional photographers doing this. I think, "shouldn't you have more tricks up your sleeve?"

whoa - blast from the past. Still stand by my statement. even more so now that I've had a chance to look at collections from Jim Thornburg (awesome new book) and Simon Carter (awesome books and a good article in the latest R&I)


LeadZeppelin


Feb 27, 2011, 11:42 AM
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Re: [mattm] Overuse of Shallow Focus - esp in Vids [In reply to]
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mattm wrote:
LeadZeppelin wrote:
My DSLR can't do video, but with regard to still photography, I can give you the perspective of a photog noob.

I'm not a photographer. I got a DSLR because I wanted to get into it. I've only had the camera for four months or so, and I don't get to use it that often. Anyway, not knowing much about photography, shooting a shallow depth of field is an easy way for me to create a more artsy photo. I fully realize that it's a substitute for actual skill, but at the moment that's about what I'm left with!

That said, even I get tired of people who shoot every picture with a super shallow depth of field. To me it just screams lack of skill or lack of creativity. For me, it's true: I really do lack photography skill right now. But it's definitely annoying when I see professional photographers doing this. I think, "shouldn't you have more tricks up your sleeve?"

whoa - blast from the past. Still stand by my statement. even more so now that I've had a chance to look at collections from Jim Thornburg (awesome new book) and Simon Carter (awesome books and a good article in the latest R&I)
Ha, in my defense, this WAS on the first page. The photog forum is just super slow! :)


fnfolen


Jul 20, 2011, 7:53 AM
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a580 is good for this


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