Question by Jackie: Can someone help with a question concerning a DEPTH OF FIELD issue in filmmaking?
I’m looking at buying a new HD camcorder for indie filmmaking. My question is, do I REALLY need a 35mm adaptor to achieve the shallow depth of field look that appears in my mainstream movies at the theater?
Also, is a DoF adaptor the same thing as 35mm adaptor or are they two different types of adaptors?
Answer by lare
back in the day, the ISO of motion picture film, especially color film was very low requiring a lot of light and open iris. in fact in the early days, indoor shooting was rarely done, the indoor sets were actually built outside open to sunshine and difusers tarps to prevent give away shadows. to make things worse, feature film was shot on 1 inch or 2 inch wide film stock (35mm or 65mm). This made the “normal” lens to be 50 to 100 mm focal length. This made focus critical for indoor shots. Hollywood turned these Lemons into Lemonade by using the shallow depth of field to advantage when setting up 2 shots where the focus shifs midscene.
nowadays we have sensitive CCD sensors, some only 1/8th inch size so the combo of short focal length lenses and high effective ISO makes everything in focus. Instead of celebrating the liberation from DOF limitations, modern directors try to recreate the old tyme effects because the aren’t creative enough to figure out new methods of storytelling. It much like putting on artificial scratch marks to give a projected film look.
A DOF adaptor or 35mm SLR camera lens adaptor are the same thing.
The DOF adaptor is the only practical way to create the effect where the focus shifts between near and far in the same scene. Critical focus by itself can be imitated easily using spot fog filters, so the subject is in sharp focus, but background elements are not.. You can use real filters (ie Cokin) or do in post with digital editor effects.
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