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The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Lesson 6 of 15

Depth of Field Tools

Bill Megalos

The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Bill Megalos

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Lesson Info

6. Depth of Field Tools


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:14:31
2 The Three Eyes of Filmmaking Duration:18:59
3 Basic Film Terms Duration:12:18
5 Camera Mechanics Duration:20:32
6 Depth of Field Tools Duration:20:19
7 Framing & Shot Sizes Duration:12:55
8 Camera Holding Techniques Duration:19:24
10 Sound Basics: Learning to Hear Duration:24:45
11 Basic Interview Setup Duration:18:23
12 Interview Techniques Duration:17:59
14 Telling a Story Using Imagery Duration:17:10
15 Creating the Shots Duration:1:08:27

Lesson Info

Depth of Field Tools

We're going to be talking about some of the other things below here first, we're gonna start with depth of field, but as we go through the different focal length, we're going to talk about reading shots, speed, motions, attention and release, which is really tension and releases kind of one of us just a slow disclosures it's really one of the key elements in filmmaking that you build something up and then you release it a little bit and then you build it up again it's like music, it's like, almost like the chorus in a song or something, you come up to it, you get people familiar and then you just let him relax so that you could bring him up again and a lot of a lot of horror movies try to keep that tension just build bill, bill, bill, bill, bill, you have to let it go a little bit, so shot selection is one of the things that works that way, and we'll talk about that. But first let's talk about depth of field. I mentioned it before and let's discuss it a little bit a little bit more mor...

e specifically, and we're going to start looking at the camera's, looking through comparing cameras and seeing why you choose cameras for this depth of field depth of field what's in focus. Is the depth of field what's out of focus behind it and out of focus in front of it? You can't have everything you can't have everything in focus but you know generally you don't want to you think oh I want everything in focus well if everything's in focus then how do you let people know what you want them to see? All right, we have many ways we want to guide the audience we don't want the audience to have a hard time if any of you guys have ever written before you know that if this if the writer works hard then it's easy on the reader if the rider takes it easy on himself it's hard on the reader same thing with the filmmaker if you guide people where you want them to see it it's easy for them to follow your story if you're not guiding them if you're using pour ce film grammar that it's really hard for them to know what's what you're talking about so one of the tools that we have is this shallow depth of field if if you if if only one things in focus and that's what people are going to look at another way of doing it would be movement someone that's the way dancers do it you the one who's moving is the one you're watching another way we're doing it would be lighting lighting hits something that's what you're supposed to look um but right now we're talking about depth of field so this is this is now the big thing in movies now before when you remember what we talked about the different slides and we had the different censor sizes the smaller the sensor for the same angle of you the more depth of field okay, so a small camera so so a smaller sensor like the camera that's like it like in this camera here is going to have it with the same angle of you let's say I'm I've got cameras in the same spot and I've got wide enough to cover the three of you guys there's going to be more depth the field with smaller sensor the bigger sense is going to have a longer lens to cover that same area and so it's going to have less step the field so this is depth of field in in motion okay this is the same shot at at two point eight remember we talked about it being wide open right the slower the number of the bigger the opening and this is it sixteen over here with a small opening well this is a really dramatic showing of depth of field minimal depth of field on the left a lot of depth of field on the right okay these air the three things that determined depth of field right here focal length longer the lens the shallower the depth of field aperture the wider the opening, the shallower the depth of field. Okay, right here. This's a wider opening, so challenged up the field tighter opening close, more closed down. Less light comes in much more depth of field distance. The closer the object is to the lens, the less step the field. So if I were if I were to bring my camera over here and go changing the other things, keeping keeping a long lens keeping ah wide open aperture, I could make it so that just your eye was in focus and everything behind. But if I were to bring the same camera over here, you would be much more and focus. Okay, what was your question and depth of focus? Would that be this synonymous? No depth of focus. Where did you hear that term? I didn't hear it. I just okay there is a term called depth of focus depth. The focus has to do it's really a film turn and it has to do with where the lens focuses on the film plane, which is now replaced by a sensor so don't use depth, the focus it can, but again, we're going to use words that air you want the scalpel you don't want the forceps, okay, this is what people know people know the term depth of field um, let me just ask you so the three things focal length apertura distance in that order because you rarely do you have real control over the distance, but these are the two that you control the most of all. These are the two that you're going to control most of all right? There is going to make your decisions. Let me just ask you when I talk about a wide lens, I'm talking about a wide angle lens when I talk about a long lens. I'm talking about a telephoto lens, right? Take a look at this picture back. We're going to go back this picture tell me we haven't discussed this yet, but just from your own sense of knowledge and whatever is this taken on a telephoto lens or on a wide angle lens? It's taken on the telephone how can you tell it's really close up? Well, it could be close up on you could get a wide angle lens very close up to her. Well, that way we've adjusted that with the amateur what's. The other thing is there's something else in there that tells you that's, a telephoto lens, I instantly notes telephoto lens and you do, too, but you don't do you know why uh, single, smaller it doesn't show that much. The angle of view behind her is very small, right? It's? Not a lot of tree behind her, but the other thing that I'm looking for here and we're going to see it in a minute is does it feel like the distance is compressed like that? Background is pulled up closer to her right that a compression of distance that's one of the characteristics of a telephoto lens. So here we have here we have the camera is in exactly the same spot. Camera has not moved. And guess what? The car has not moved. Everything is still these are the same camera, and the least camera is in the same exact spot. And this is what a wide angle, a quote unquote normal lens. And then a telephoto lens due to the same scene car has not moved. All right, so what? What? What can we see as the differences here? Obviously, the wide angle and these numbers up here refer to thirty five millimeter film frame. Right? What we now call super thirty five. All right, so that these air, these air, the references numbers, if we had a but so that we were talking so that we're kind of comparing apples and apples um, so the wide angle, we see it very wide, we see a lot the normal lens we no, we say, uh on, but this one magnifies it all. If you were to look at this, if I were to blow this up, the because the camera is in the exact same place, the relationship between this and the background and these in the foreground are exactly the same. They're just blown up. It hasn't really we changed. I'm just what I'm doing is just taking a tiny little slice of that. Ok? As opposed to this here's what's happened when we were using different lenses. All right, twenty four millimeter wide, it's not as wide as the eighteen seventeen. A little bit like a short that would be considered a short telephoto and a two hundred a long telephoto what's what's happened here. The camera is moving in order to make this person roughly the same size. I know he's not exactly the same size, but what we've done is, you know, you were you were saying before I know to telephone because it's a close up well, this is this is a medium shot with the telephone, and with a wide angle you can make the size of the face in. There is not the determination of what the lenses it's, what the angle of len sees. So what happens here on the wide angle, we see quite a bit with the set so so let's say that the wide angle starts back here sorry guys say the wide angle starts back here in order to get I'm sorry take it the other way let's say the wide angle is pretty close to him to ti get him at this size shot okay the cameras right here well the camera is why so it sees from this fence this bit of fence all the way over to the other side of the horizon in order to get him at the same size in a short telephoto and a seventy millimeter instead of the camera being here the camera has to move back to about here but because the camera has a shorter has has a tighter angle of view what happens? We see a lot less of the background we see from like here to here but what does what happens to the background it gets bigger, it gets bigger, it compresses the space it makes the distance between when in this wide angle you can see that that shack his way back there by the time you get to the telephoto the big telephoto it feels like it's right over his shoulder. Okay, so so in order to shoot him in the with the two hundred millimeter instead of being here if where I was for the seventy I have to go all the way back out here okay in order to get him the same size but what that does is so that's giving me choices of what I'm saying about the background about his relationship to the background if the background now why's the background out of focus here was the background out of focus here and why is it in focus there? What determines depth of field focal length longer lands shallower depth of field? Ok, here the depth of field goes from him all the way to the back here because we're on a long lands the depth of field is much shallow it's just him in the fence and maybe a little bit beyond the fence we can't see there's nothing there in space okay, this is a this is a so these lenses all have personalities every lens, every focal length has kind of a personality it's a different way of telling a story and it's a different way of using it um I'll you know we'll use them for all different reasons and well, sometimes well, sometimes we'll talk ourselves into all of this is the right lens for this because it's easier you know, you got to know sometimes you're tricking yourself because you're lazy, you don't really want to get up and move the camera or but we'll talk about this in the next couple of minutes, but but does everybody see the difference between this and this in this shot the cameras in the same place we put a different lens on in this shot we're keeping the person the same size but in order to do that we have to move the camera and by moving and the different lens shows us that we see have a different angle of you okay why'd angle short telephoto long telephoto but what happens with a long telephoto it compresses distance it makes it come up come closer this one makes that thing look further away these air just typical now this is all this is just a numbness stand this very long this this is the same without we're not moving the camera here it all what we're doing is we're going from a wide too unless why these air still considered these air still considered wide angle lenses here this is this is a normal lens and from here it's all different do you get from grades of of, uh, of telephone okay, now notice that even though these things are really the same distance apart because you're on a longer let it feels like they're closer to each other all right? Has anybody ever seen that shot where traffic doesn't seem to be moving at all it's on a long telephoto shot you see the freeway and the car's air just like barely moving where you see the shot of the guy running and it looks like he's not moving at all well what because of this is one of the visit view some of the characteristics of the lens if you're on a long felt a long lens iii a telephoto lens it compresses the distance so that when someone is moving it doesn't look like they're moving very much all right they're they're moving but because they're not getting bigger as they get closer it doesn't look like they're really moving whereas if we go with a wide angle shot like this one this really this makes or either one of these it makes the background seem much much further away this is a wide angle shot very close to this guy's face all right as is this very close to this guy's face but what's weird about these things so so the telephoto shot compresses distance it makes things look closer the wide angle makes things look further apart increases the distance all right so look at this like if we were able to see him here here even though this look how big his nose is become big his lips are his ear it would be very tiny there look at this guy same thing here the nose and the mouth is very big looking house tiny the back of his head is look at how how small his shoulders are the camera's looking slightly down on him look out his shoulders or not much wider than his head it it accentuates the distance the apparent distance now that turns into something else that turns into energy that turns into movement. I'm going to do two things with this camera first first, I'm going to show you that I'm going to show you in a wide angle lens right now, this is not a super wide angle lens, all right? But you can see that when I'm here, my head is pretty big, it fills the whole frame when I'm back here, my head gets very small pretty quickly, okay? That's accentuating the difference so if I want to run towards the camera if I run, because because I'm going to get bigger faster because it's accentuating this is it looks like I'm moving really fast there. Did you see that? I mean, I moved a little fast, but it looked like I'm really I'm really moving fast, same thing you want to do a punch, right? You want to do a punch? Look how fast my arm is. Did you look out it's starting small back here? But look, look at that. It accentuates that action. It accentuates the motion, whereas if I were to do this with a telephoto lens going to zoom in and we do like a telephoto thank you here, um, I'm just using you for for a focus, eric, don't worry okay so over here um I'm going to do that same punch where am I over here do that same punch nothing happened right that's the same punches same speed okay so this is how we're using the lenses to tell our story same thing if I were to run here from here now I'm not going to run all the way to it but it's gonna look like I'm barely running you know it looks like I'm moving slower because I'm even though I'm covering space it looks like I'm moving slower because the camera's further away okay um we can go back to the slides all right so these air the characteristics of the lenses and I highly recommend you pause on this and take some notes and um we're going to do it first for the wide angle then we're going to do the telephoto ok normal lenses which you're in between it's somewhat in between I'm using the extremes to show you the grill characteristics so wide angle lenses very good for showing a wide angle of view bigger area right it's good for capturing the whole scene one thing that's very important about it is it shows less camera shake because things are not moving quite a cz much alright can you can you please go back to the x three? This one that's over here let's just show this real quick I'll just show you guys what I'm talking about I'm not going to move my camera. I'm just gonna put the camera on my shoulder. Okay, now, this is a wide angle shot if I put my camera on the shoulder here and I'm gonna stop talking at a certain point, which is really unusual. Um but because if I'm talking it's going to shake the camera I'm gonna stop talking. I'm gonna hold this and you'll see that on a wide angle shot it's you can barely tell that it's moving now I'm gonna hold it just a steady with a telephoto shot would be just a steady I'm gonna hold my breath just as I held it before do everything I can yeah you can see that it's moving more and it's not just cause it's magnified it just it so that's it that's the real issue back to the slides, please. So it shows less camera shake we talked about accentuating the distance between people. Write the punch because the punch is experience increases the sense of speed. So, um, remember the shot of the kid in the green shirt? Did you notice the difference when it was on the wide and he was the same size? It showed a lot of the background, okay, what does this mean for interviews? We're going to get to that very soon and it has a deep depth of field. We talked about that before, right? Everything's in focus right now the telephoto I don't even need to do this because it's kind of the opposite but it shows a tight angle of view, right it's good for capturing details if I want to see emmanuelle writing here if I want to see that he's got really bad handwriting or he's you know um and direct it is also good for directing the viewer's attention to specific things what I want them to see right now it shows more camera shake you need to be very careful with hand holding it minimizes the distance between people remember it compresses that space so that even though these cars air further apart, it makes them feel like they're right on top of each other. Whenever you see those shots of of total, you know, total traffic jam and the cars are moving it's done on a telephoto um so it minimize it decreases the sense of speed those cars looked like they're not moving when in actuality they might with the same image side again that kid remember when the it shows much less shows less background in the wide angle. So again, what is what's the implication of this for interviews? We'll get to that in a minute and it has challenged off the field

Class Description

It is common to "postpone" your filmmaking due to insecurity and doubt: Do I own the right camera? Do I have access to the proper resources? Can I support my vision with a strong artistic/technical point-of-view? Those fears are why so many film and media projects never get off the ground.

In The Lone Wolf Filmmaker with Bill Megalos, you’ll learn camera, sound, and storytelling techniques that will place you on a simple, yet sophisticated path towards completing a moving-media project. 

Bill will help you:

  • Choose the best camera for your project and budget
  • Use the camera on a technical level, with an artistic intent
  • Develop an aesthetic and technical approach to sound recording

The class will demystify the distance from the first step to the completion of a formidable, marketable piece of media. You’ll learn techniques that will simplify your process, no matter the scope of the project or your experience as a filmmaker.


Mulk Raj

This was excellent. I’ve been learning filmmaking up until now from watching YouTube videos and from my own practice which has been great. But I found these lessons to complement everything I knew and filled in much of where I was going wrong or wanted to know, and all in one convenient place. The course covering both the technical aspects as well as telling the story. There were lots of great techniques, tips and information from all aspects. Shooting mainly on the Sony Camcorders but I didn't consider this to be an issue, and the course also provided an excellent side by side comparison with the Digital SLRs. You can see from the lesson list that many topics are covered from the different types of lenses (one interesting question Bill asked was “what type of lens was that photograph taken with?” I had never thought you could discern this from the photo). Other great lessons was on sound tests, covering reflective sounds and comparisons with booms and lab mics and the ideal placement. The emphasis was always on telling the story and the reasons why you would choose one over the other. I learned a heck of a lot from the interview section. How to set-up, where to set-up an interview, looking at all the different aspects and backgrounds open to you from a location, how to conduct an interview, how to ask questions, lighting from the far side, the concept of slow disclosure, and the final hour being a fly-on-the wall on getting the shots was really interesting if you’ve never worked on a filmed set before. I personally thought this was an invaluable insight into filmmaking, well worth the investment. Great work.

jamie applegate

I have seen a couple other film courses on CreativeLive, but I think I have enjoyed this one the most. It was very informative, Bill's personality is great. I loved how hands on he really got with his student's including seeing them actual film. It had some good laughs. Well done!

Josh Moore

Great overview of capturing video from a one-man/small production team perspective. And great insight from an expert who's done it all. The Making One Location Look Like Many episode was fascinating to see how Bill spontaneously approaches creating shots in a location.