Most people can tell the difference between good video and bad video production. They may not be able to articulate why a production is good or bad whether it’s bad lighting, color or something else, they’ll just know something was off. One tool that we use at Edit House Productions LLC, is depth of field. Controlling depth of field can mean the difference between a professional looking video and something that looks a bit more homemade.
First of all, what is depth of field? It’s the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a photo or video that appear acceptably sharp in an image. It describes how much of a scene is in focus. Deep depth of field puts all actions and objects on different depth planes into focus equally. Everything is in focus. In contrast, shallow depth of field allows you to see the main subject clearly, with all other objects in the background and foreground out of focus.
Depth of field is influenced by a number of factors, including the camera filter used, the shutter, lens angle, subject matter, movement, as well as lighting conditions. At Edit House, we are equipped with cameras that allow us to control the iris, shutter, lens length and much more, giving us complete creative control over how every shot looks. We also have monitors that give us the ability to see everything in real time, we can be sure that a scene looks precisely how we want it to, even before we start filming.
Both are useful, but knowing when to use deep or shallow depth is important. A good director might use deep depth of focus to establish the relationship between various elements within a single shot, eliminating the need to cut between different cameras. The director might also use shallow depth of field to isolate the principal subject of the shot, so that whatever’s going on in the background isn’t distracting. If used effectively, this can create tension or intimacy in a shot. When shooting video, we like to ask ourselves a few questions: What am I shooting? Where do I want to direct the audience’s focus? Why am I using this depth?
At Edit House, we have a wide range of strategies and techniques that we use on different video production projects, depending on what the end goal is. We always sit down with our clients and take the time to discuss and understand their objectives. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish for your business, we can help you get started!
Ed Smith has been in television since the 80s and began Edit House Productions, LLC in 2000. He grew up in Culver City, California, where he enjoyed hanging out with his father on the sets of MGM Studios. Ed has been awarded dozens of Addy, Telly and Aurora Awards for cinematography, directing, and art direction. Over the years, Ed has produced for Fortune 500 companies like Pizza Hut, Cessna Aircraft, Coleman, and Rent-A-Center. Ed earned a MA in Communications and a BA in Radio-TV-Film from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas.