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macro shots, shallow DOF, canon 5D and compositing

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Graham Hutchins
macro shots, shallow DOF, canon 5D and compositing
on Feb 28, 2011 at 3:15:31 am

Hello all,

So my situation is that we're shooting macro shots of musical instruments, sound boards, VU meters, etc. in a white screen studio. The idea is to use match moving and planar tracking to lay motion graphic elements over the instruments.

My initial reaction is to use a camera and lenses that shoot as deep focus as possible with as little compression as possible to facilitate the compositing, tracking and roto we'll need to do as simple and flexible as possible. My plan is to add a gradated lens blur to the final comp instead of trying to match different DOFs for each comp. I also have a feeling that Mocha is going to have a harder time tracking shallow DOF footage.

My producer is set on using the Canon 5D, which is quite the opposite of all of the considerations I've mentioned.

My question is, is this a sound direction to go? Is there a lot of VFX work that is being done with the 5D? The camera will be on a dolly with slow moves, so rolling shutter is not an issue. The macro nature of what we're attempting also means that no matter what camera and lens package we use, there will be some focus falloff. Am I being overly cautious, or are my concerns real? I'm the one doing the comping and I want this to look as good as possible and I feel like I'm having my arm tied behind my back with this camera choice.


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: macro shots, shallow DOF, canon 5D and compositing
on Feb 28, 2011 at 7:27:30 am

It's not the 5D you should be worried about, but the lens that will be used, the lighting and the DOP. If you got a good lens, good light and a good DOP, then you should be fine, especially since from what I understand there will only be simple moves. As long as there is good focus Mocha should be able to track. My advice though- do a test in advance to see how this will work for you. If any glitches come up then you have a solid proof for the producer, if not, then you'll be at peace.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Jeremy Allen
Re: macro shots, shallow DOF, canon 5D and compositing
on Feb 28, 2011 at 7:01:53 pm

Like you said, shooting macro will produce that shallow DoF, but you can try to minimize it by throwing as much light on it as possible so you can close the aperture down. Maybe that will help some..

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