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Pull focuses unfashionable?

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Thomas Morter-Laing
Pull focuses unfashionable?
on Jul 20, 2010 at 2:27:53 pm

Hello- just an advice/ opinion question really, but one of the 'signature' suggestions of good camera work in 'art' film often seems to be the notorious pull focus. As well as 'refocussing' the view of the audience, it also seems to serve a little simply to subtly say 'we shot this on a good camera which has lens control'.
I personally love the pull focus, but it rarely seems to be used in broadcast OR film, i mean, i was watching Harry Potter for example, and they VERY rarely use anything like that. Obviously they always have a lovely shallow depth of field because of their 10billion dollar cameras, but still- and even in other different genres.

So my question for all is: Is this because it's such a simple thing to do that camera men think 'amateurish over fancy stuff', or is it just because it's not practical too use that often?

Let's discuss the pull focus!!!! :D


:D
Tom Morter-Laing
Certified Apple Product Proffessional, 2010
Production Assistant, Grace Productions
Degree; TV Production



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Todd Terry
Re: Pull focuses unfashionable?
on Jul 20, 2010 at 2:50:21 pm

I personally have noticed quite a few times that DPs (or directors) chose for whatever reason not to rack a focus during a time when I myself normally would... usually during a conversation or where two people were talking on screen and one of the parties was markedly softer than the other.

I think they may be out of fashion a bit when done over-dramatically and noticeable, but they still happen all the time.

It depends somewhat also on the director and shooting style. For someone who favors long lenses (say, a Luc Besson type), you'll still notice a lot of focus racks. For someone who shoots wider (say, Woody Allen, who almost never uses anything except extremely wide lenses), you'll never see any focus racks.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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todd mcmullen
Re: Pull focuses unfashionable?
on Jul 20, 2010 at 4:32:01 pm

hmm
I think it comes down to what the scene/story dictates. I think in most cases focus is where the audience would expect it to be...ie...focus on the subject who is talking. however, lets say the person in the foreground is sharp and(facing camera) the person in the BG is soft and the one doing the talking. you would expect the person in the BG to be sharp because they are talking, but maybe the story and the moment is not what is being said but how the person in the foreground is hearing it.


Todd McMullen
Flip Flop Films
Austin
http://www.toddmcmullen.com


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Rick Amundson
Re: Pull focuses unfashionable?
on Jul 20, 2010 at 5:23:36 pm

I would agree that it is the story that should dictate focus decisions. Examples of missing focus on purpose might occur when shooting a narrative in the style of a documentary (i.e. Friday Night Lights) or wanting to obscure the details for the sake of the story. I agree that it seems to have come into vogue to "miss" focus on purpose and it can look cool but doing it for the sake of doing it will get old in a hurry.

Best of luck!

Rick Amundson
Producer/Director/DP
Screenscape Studios
Bravo Romeo Entertainment
http://www.screenscapestudios.com
http://www.bravoromeo.com
http://www.indeliblemovie.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Pull focuses unfashionable?
on Jul 20, 2010 at 9:40:58 pm

Maybe this is not so much about how fashionable it is to use rack focus shots, as it is about what goes into making the aesthetic choice to use it.

I like them myself, but feel they are best used sparingly, and preferably, you shouldn't notice that it was a focus pull at all, rather, you should just feel a normal shift of your attention as if it was your own idea, and not me forcing you to shift attention by my use of technique. If an effect stands out calling attention to itself, and taking you out of the story, you're using it wrong, in my opinion.


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Pull focuses unfashionable?
on Jul 28, 2010 at 8:57:43 pm

Mark absolutely nailed it. Fashionable or not it works if it's not forced. Do it because it strengthens the story, not because it looks cool.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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