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Depth of Field -correct lens?

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Adam Salgat
Depth of Field -correct lens?
on Mar 1, 2014 at 7:35:07 pm

I have a Canon T4i with the stock lens. I want to get the depth of field seen in this video.... http://www.doingmoretogether.com/nicolas-story.html

Any suggestions on what lens I should buy?


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Todd Terry
Re: Depth of Field -correct lens?
on Mar 1, 2014 at 8:21:20 pm

Well couple things...

Firstly, with the lens you have, make sure you are shooting as wide open as possible (the lowest f-stop possible). The lower the f-stop, the narrower the depth of field. Longer focal lengths will help too, although with the cheaper stock lenses the more you zoom in, the more limited the maximum aperture is... but just make sure that whatever focal length you are using the f-stop number is as low as possible.

Of course that might lead to some exposure control problems. If that's giving you over exposure, make sure your camera does not correct for it by increasing the shutter speed. You'd likely want to keep your shutter speed within the "normal" realm, which is one-over-twice-the-frame-rate (i.e., if you are shooting 24p that would be 1/48th of a second). So control exposure with ISO changes and/or neutral density filters.

I think if you make sure you are always shooting wide open, you might be able to get the results you want with the lens you have. The sample video didn't seem all that remarkable or extreme in terms of depth of field. It was fairly shallow at times, but not super super shallow.

If you still can't get it and want to go the new lens route, you simply need a faster lens... something that will go down to at least f/2 or so, or even faster if possible. I shoot with superspeeds which are f/1.2 and with the right combo of focal length and distance, wide open I can reduce depth of field down to an inch or less... often more than one would want (or can focus).

The downside of course is price... the faster the lens, the more expensive it typically is. A 50mm f/2.0 might be two or three times (or even much more) the price of a 50mm f/3.5. The difference is even bigger (much bigger) if you go down to something really fast in the f/1.2-1.3 neighborhood.

T2

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



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Adam Salgat
Re: Depth of Field -correct lens?
on Mar 1, 2014 at 8:54:32 pm

Thanks for the response. I'm still learning all the capabilities of my T4i. For the longest time I've simply been filming with the Canon XHA1. I can't create any depth of field with that camera.

Here is one of the first videos I've filmed with my T4i. The interview at the very beginning of the video on the home page is a good illustration of the depth I got. I would of liked having it a a bit more "blurry" in the background. http://pushproductionsajs.com/

The two lens I have are listed here. This is the package I bought.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008HRPF4O/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00?ie=U...


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Todd Terry
Re: Depth of Field -correct lens?
on Mar 1, 2014 at 11:45:56 pm

Yeah, your DoF is pretty deep in your sample.

If that was using the 18-55mm lens, I believe that is f3.5-5.6... so if it was as wide as possible it would have been f/3.5 max, and you were likely zoomed in some so the max f-stop would have been even higher.

So... sounds like you need a faster lens. I can't really guide you to any specific lenses, I just don't have any expertise with DSLR lenses as I use PL mount cine lenses. But as I said above, the faster the lens (the lower the f-stop number), the shallower you can make the depth of field.

Kodak has a great free DoF calculator app for your phone. I don't see it on the Google Play store, but I think you can get it straight from the Kodak website. If not, there are tons of other DoF apps and will help you learn exactly how shallow or deep a DoF is for a particular focal length and f-stop combo.

Some more cinematic lighting would also help... your interview also had a very video-y look not only because of the deep depth of field, but because it was lit that way (or might have even been just available light, not sure). I always tell people who want their video to look more cinematic to first light as if they were shooting film, not video. That goes a long way toward giving the "look" a good start.

Good luck!

T2

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



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Adam Salgat
Re: Depth of Field -correct lens?
on Mar 2, 2014 at 12:06:57 am

Thanks!

Lighting is definitely a weak spot in my abilities. I've don't have the best of equipment or much knowledge.


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Todd Terry
Re: Depth of Field -correct lens?
on Mar 2, 2014 at 12:18:25 am

That's ok... there's always room to learn and sources to do so.

I'm still learning new tips and tricks all the time... and how to do things better, faster, and often more inexpensively. I can light better now with one instrument and a few pieces of grip gear than I could a decade ago with six or seven instruments.

You should head to the COW's Cinematography and the Lighting Design forums where you can really learn a lot from the pros like Rick Wise, John Sharaf, and about four or five other guys who really know what they are doing. I've been a DP for 20+ years and what some of those guys know and do can still makes me feel like a hack.

http://forums.creativecow.net/lightingdesignpros
http://forums.creativecow.net/cinematography

T2

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



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Craig Alan
Re: Depth of Field -correct lens?
on Mar 2, 2014 at 5:59:42 pm

Todd is right on. Lighting may even be more key here than DOF. If, for example, the b.g. is blurry but lit up as bright as your subject then you have these distracting geometric shapes in the b.g. and still calling attention away from your subject. The easiest light to get decent results with is a kino flo. Just get one diva lite on a Matthews baby jr stand and dim your b.g. however way possible and light your subject with your key to one side of your cam. Play with the distance of the light to your subject and the camera to your subject. If you back away from your subject with your cam you can get a narrower DOF by zooming in. The other thing that will really help you compose your shots is an external monitor. Get a broadcast monitor from Flanders and what you see is what you got. The pros at the lighting forum have years of experience and they can give you pointers but every situation is different. You know the look you want, experiment until you have it. Having a monitor allows you to do just that. Otherwise you are just guessing.
The monitor can also help improve the look in post. Color correction has come a long way and it is not just for high end pros any more. One thing to look for to keep attention on your subject is the catch, the little spot in each eye - these makes the audience see the life in your subject. Angle your key light so you see the catch. Try to find b.g. that provides contrast to your subject. Light subject dark b.g.
The fast canon lenses cost several times that of your camera. Go to bhphoto and do a search for canon lenses that fit your camera. Read the f-stop and focal lengths. You'll get it. You get what you pay for. With your camera I'd start with getting a lighting kit. I highly recommend the kino flo for beginners because it's very flattering. It also uses any outlet available. And does not get hot. I recommend the kit cause it will be easy to bring to a location, protected and with spare bulbs.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/258599-REG/Kino_Flo_KIT_D4_120_Diva_L...

Note:Fluorescent tubes are not included

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Adam Salgat
Re: Depth of Field -correct lens?
on Mar 4, 2014 at 11:39:12 pm

Thanks for the input!

That light looks great but a bit out of my price range right now. Any suggestions for $600 or less?


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Adam Salgat
Re: Depth of Field -correct lens?
on Mar 7, 2014 at 5:48:26 pm

What are your thoughts on this kit?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DVUSE9K/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8...


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