Jamie: Well done, well exp

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Jamie: Well done, well explained. I am a boketh junkie from my still years, using Zeiss glass to achieve an incredible quality that melts ice. Each and every shot was composed and then a carefully selected aperture selected to get that precise effect on film and my shots won awards. It had a magical air about it. Most shots were wide open aperture which forced the eyes to see the subject and put distracting stuff in the back or foreground out of focus. It was simplicity.

Now filming comes along. This is much harder to do as action takes place, the eye is not set on a single picture element, but on a story – so much more has to be said while following the action. The depth of field is more critical now, as the still work says one thing, filming says much more. Then you have to follow focus on the subject, or the reactions or whatever the film maker desires the audience to see, even if the speaker is not to be in focus. In other words it is controlling the emotions of the audience by forcing them to see what you want them to see and how much of it.

Small sensors do not give that latitude by any stretch – not even close. Everything is in decent focus and that is a pain when I specifically do NOT want or CAN’T all to be in focus. It kills the story. And then you want to also have a beautiful boketh as well for the right scene.

Not all bokeths are nice. I have a Zeiss 85 f 1.4 that up to f4, the iris diaphram blades do not form a clean even octogon circle, but the ends of the blades cause 8 detents in circle. When filming late at night with street lights (for example) in the background, you see these 8 sided, detented light shaped objects and it turns an otherwise gorgeous scene into a complete waste. But the softness in daylight is legendary. Some bokeths do not leave a softness, but multiple soft images as if in double vision. That is no good. And some lenses like my 180 f2.8 Zeiss leave an image to die for – incredibile boketh, control, contrast, color – like a diamond.

So, selecting lenses is an art and must be carefully made and shot under all conditions. If you want cinematic qualities, shallow depth of field abilities, lovely boketh, as Jamie says, it is a big sensor on an excellent camera and the best lens you can afford. 1/4″-2/3″ will not cut it no matter how good the glass is.

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