Depth-of-Field in small offices/spaces

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    • #70141
      To all you experienced cinematographers: 
      I have to do short videos for my workplace. These are often in small offices, especially for interviews. Many, if not most, have to be in their office for work reasons. 
      My Question:  How does one get the best shallow depth-of-field in a very small office/room, and in tight spaces? No room to back up more, so are there proper lenses (short wide-angle vs longer medium/telephoto) that work better? How best can this be achieved?
      Thank You,
    • #208569

      Get as close to the subject as you can

      1. Keep the background far away
      2. Keep the aperture wide open
    • #208574

      Ken – the methods to achieve shallow depth of field are:


      – widen your aperture – you can do this with a neutral density filter


      – lengthen your focal length – zoom in – and get farther away – (this may not be an option for you)


      – buy or rent a camcorder with a large sensor or an adapter that emulates one


      Sadly, if the amount of space and/or the budget you have to work with is limited, there is only so much you can do.


      Sorry I couldn't be more helpful,



      Hybrid Camera Revolution

    • #208577

      Using a wide angle lens preferably a prime lens in the 10 to 30 mm with an fstop of 1.4 to 1.8 will give you good shallow of depth while able to take pictures in smaller areas.

    • #208612

      Are you shooting with a DSLR? Your question about proper lenses suggests you are. This would be best case scenario. If not, you may not be able to achieve the shallow depth of field you're looking for – it just likely isn't possible with a small sensor video camera.


      Do you really need a shallow depth of field?


      Assuming you are using it to seperate your subject from the background, you may also try to light your subject in a way that provides seperation through light.  Watch some of the interviews on national weekly news programs. Some can be very well lit, using a white balanced light on the subject and a gel on background lighting to change the color of the background. A backlight can also help provide seperation of your subject form the background.


      Food for thought – on my T3i (and all Canon APS-C sensors) using a 50mm 1.8 lens, I can achieve a 1.83" depth of field at 4.5' wide open. Stop it down to improve sharpness a bit and at f/3.2. you're still getting a 3.25" dof at 4.5' from your subject.


      You're not going to get a very wide field of view with this lens in a tight space, however. You're only looking at 23 degrees of horizontal view.


      So, short story long, you need a wider lens with a low f stop – like the other guys said. 🙂


    • #208616

      One very under-used approach, or 'trick' that can work: if your video camera has a macros setting, or if the lens you're using offers macro, I've found (as have others, once they see it) is that there is usually a zone within which you can set the lens to macro, and still be able to zoom in a bit; since macro really is just allowing the lens to focus very closely, the background will fall off, i.e., shallow depth of field. Its free, its easy-ish (be really attentive to your focus), and looks for all the world like…well, shallow-depth-of-field!


    • #210479
      Is this your only blog on this matter? If you have any more blogs or anything on this can you please let me know? I found this blog very enticing.
    • #210487

      All the comments above are correct. The reality is that wide angle lenses do not optically give shallow depth of field and zero with small chip sensors such as 1/3", mft, APS-C (limited).  So you are hooped.  I have a 15mm f4.5  Voigtlander which is fantastic for what you need.  Mounted on my Sony FS100 (super 35mm sensor), it has almost no shallow dof of what you are looking for.  Even an 18mm f2.- 2.8 on a 35mm full frame camera (best case scenario) is going to give deep dof.  I think that work around is the lighting control spoken of – now that makes the most sense. Lighten the subject more, darken the background is your best option plus your lens settings. I like the macro part too – never thought of that, but it DOES work but wide angle may not be available. On that note, I wonder if the +1,2,3 close-up adapters may nor work for you.  I don't know because I have not tried it out nor have those lenses.

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