Friday, March 11, 2011
Shallow depth of field with your digital camera
Let's focus on an important technical concept that you need to understand if you want to get the film look with your digital camera. Would you like to direct your audience's eyes? Yes of course, like every cinematographer... So, use shallow depth of field! This is an important way you can use to bring emotion and make the audience captivated. It helps to get the spectator right into the part of the character, even if it's a cat ;-)
In the previous image, you have a short depth of field and the foreground isn't sharp, but for me the best way to go is to keep only one plane of your image in focus (the background chair shouldn't be sharp). A small depth of field is often called shallow focus.
The more simple way to get a shallow depth of field with a DSLR camera is to use a lens with a fast maximum aperture, like for instance the Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4... Choose the maximum aperture (i.e the minimum f/ number) if you want the shallowest depth of field.
Choose a cinematic shutter speed : 1/40 or 1/50... Concerning the ISO settings, choose the lowest number that brings you a good quality. Remember... The lower the number, the better the quality. But, you need to rise the ISO number when you don't have enough light. This is just a question of dosing...
Video cameras can't get narrow depth of field like DSLR's and Cinema movie cameras.
Go to wikipedia to get more details on the depth of field concept...
Posted by Jonathan Musset at 9:40 PM