They're here! More Muvipix.com Guides by Steve Grisetti!
The Muvipix.com Guides to Premiere & Photoshop Elements 2019
Not quite sure what our site has to offer?
Check out the
Muvipix Video Tour

depth of field

MiniDV, DVD, Hard Drive, 8 mm, High Def, brands, import / capture techniques, settings ... talk about camcorders in here.

depth of field

Postby Matthew Max » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:54 pm

I'm shooting with a Sony HDR-XR550. Are there some good tips for keep the background blurred? Will this cam allow me to do that?
Matthew Max
Premiere Member
Premiere Member
 
Posts: 491
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:11 pm
Location: could be anywhere at any time

Re: depth of field

Postby Bob » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:00 pm

In general, depth of field is determined by three factors -- the focal length of the lens, the distance from the camera to the subject, and the f-number of the lens opening (the aperture or iris). You can control all three with your camcorder.

Everything else being the same, wide angle lenses have a greater depth of field than telephoto lenses. If you want the background out of focus, try to avoid using the widest angle setting of your zoom lens. You don't want to zoom in too much either. Focal length affects the perceived perspective and subjects will appear "flatter" with long focal lengths compared to shorter focal lengths. Something is the middle is usually best.

For a given focal length, the closer the subject is to the camera, the shallower the depth of field will be. Conversely, the further away the subject the greater the depth of field. If the subject is far enough away, everything from the subject to infinity will be in focus. You want the subject to be far enough away that you don't introduce noticeable distortion, but close enough that you keep the depth of focus shallow. It also helps if you increase the distance from the subject to the background.

The aperture of the lens is very important. The smaller the opening of the iris, the greater the depth of field will be. To get a shallow depth of field, you want to open the iris as wide as you can get it. If your camera doesn't have an aperture priority capability, use manual to set the iris to a wide setting (i.e. small f-number). Your camera can assign the IRIS setting to the manual dial. Do that and use the dial in manual mode to set the lens to the widest opening.
User avatar
Bob
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 5861
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:49 am
Location: Southern California, USA

Re: depth of field

Postby Matthew Max » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:44 pm

This is great information. I'm going to become a student of this method and see if I can accomplish what you're saying, professor. If I can't get it with this info, I'll be back for another seminar. I appreciate this class!
Matthew Max
Premiere Member
Premiere Member
 
Posts: 491
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:11 pm
Location: could be anywhere at any time

Re: depth of field

Postby Chris B » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:07 am

A picture - as they say - paints a thousand words (geek joke - it seems that my pictures are about 675,000 4 byte words these days ;) ) Anyhow - a quick google and I came across this (in my opinion) rather fine illustration of the difference between telephoto (zoom) and wide angle.

http://www.picturesbymom.com/photography/wide-angle-vs-zoom-lens-photo-examples-the-difference-between-wide-angle-and-zoom-pictures.html

The pictures illustrate Bob's points very well. The background on the zoomed photo is much more "blurred". Also note how the shape of the face of the subject changes in the wide angle vs the telephoto. Lastly both these pictures are taken at the same f-number (1.4 in this case) and it is just the focal length of the lens that makes the difference in this case.
Intel Core i7 8700 - 32GB DDR4 - 500GB Evo 970 SSD - 3+2 TB HDD - GTX 1080- MSI Z370 Pro - Win10 64 bit - Cannon HV30 (PAL) - Sony A6000 - GoPro 3 Black
User avatar
Chris B
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 766
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:04 pm
Location: UK

Re: depth of field

Postby Matthew Max » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:30 am

Hmmmmmm.... Thanks, Chris. My challenge is going to be how to keep the backgrounds of some shoots out of focus with a camera that want to put EVERYTHING in focus. And another challenge at the same time will be whether that focus and out-of-focus can be maintained with the normal movement I make when conducting some kinds of interviews or shots. These two photos help me understand what I am wanting to do.
Matthew Max
Premiere Member
Premiere Member
 
Posts: 491
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:11 pm
Location: could be anywhere at any time

Re: depth of field

Postby Chris B » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:06 am

Video camera lenses - particularly because they are handheld and often meant for "unplanned" shots tend to have large depths of field. This is why DSLRs are popular with the indie film community because the lenses often have much narrower depth of fields. It gives it a more film like look.

The bottom of that article says you should be 15 feed away for a good portrait shot - that's quite a distance but if you do step back from the subject and you'll need lapel mics or similar to get a good sound. I remember seeing an article on a "simple" interview setup - only had 3 lights and a diffuser :-8
Intel Core i7 8700 - 32GB DDR4 - 500GB Evo 970 SSD - 3+2 TB HDD - GTX 1080- MSI Z370 Pro - Win10 64 bit - Cannon HV30 (PAL) - Sony A6000 - GoPro 3 Black
User avatar
Chris B
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 766
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:04 pm
Location: UK

Re: depth of field

Postby Matthew Max » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:13 am

You nailed with the audio issue, Chris. The reason I have been able to "film" a LOT of cool interviews is because of the way I work my powerful little cam. Going in close and getting clear audio, while staying out of the way and not interrupting unnaturally. I have been given unusual access on a regular basis, and a nimble camera is essential. So I cannot always care about depth of field. But when I want it, I would like to be able to have it -- mostly when I have the camera on a tripod.
Matthew Max
Premiere Member
Premiere Member
 
Posts: 491
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:11 pm
Location: could be anywhere at any time

Re: depth of field

Postby Bob » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:52 pm

... a camera that want to put EVERYTHING in focus ...


That's a direct consequence of the small sensor used in those camcorders. With a smaller sensor, the focal length of the lens needs to be shorter to get the same field of view. Open the iris as much as it will go and try to keep the background as far behind the subject as practical. Your lens has only a 2 stop range, so it may not make a huge difference. Hopefully it will be enough.
User avatar
Bob
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 5861
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:49 am
Location: Southern California, USA

Re: depth of field

Postby Matthew Max » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:55 pm

Okay, I'm finally catching on to what you guys are saying. I have tried your tips several times today, and I would say my camera does not have anywhere near the capability I need to shoot the scenes I shoot with the depth of field I was hoping for. But, you know, after making 600 to 700 videos, I have discovered that the real power of a camera is in the ways you use it to compose a story. I do believe depth of field can be a major player, but if you don't have much of it, there are still things you can do -- especially with this kind of camcorder -- to produce a very good result.
Matthew Max
Premiere Member
Premiere Member
 
Posts: 491
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:11 pm
Location: could be anywhere at any time

Re: depth of field

Postby jackfalbey » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:42 pm

Matthew, you may want to consider getting an entry-level DSLR for your interviews. The ability to change lenses will allow you to get the DoF you want, along with many other creative techniques. DSLRs from Canon and Nikon are good choices, but are limited to <30 minutes of continuous recording. Micro-4/3 DSLRs (technically MILCs - Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Cameras) from Panasonic are also a great choice because they don't have a built-in recording limit and you can get inexpensive adapters to use lenses from almost any other manufacturer, including vintage cinema lenses.

I'd also suggest getting a portable digital audio recorder like the Tascam DR-40 for your audio. You'll have to sync the audio with the video in post, but it's not too difficult, and it will give you much better audio than any built-in camera mic.
ASRock Z77 Pro4, Xeon E3-1230 V2, Windows 7 64-bit, 32GB RAM, 3GB GTX 660 ti, 240GB SSD for OS/programs, 3x640GB in RAID0 for projects
Panasonic GH2; Adobe Creative Cloud
http://www.CMDStar.com
http://www.FamilyTreePhotography.co
User avatar
jackfalbey
Super Contributor
Super Contributor
 
Posts: 1185
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:48 pm
Location: Cleveland, TN


Return to Camcorders 


Similar topics


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests