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How to film through a door peephole?


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This may seem relatively simple to some of you, but how would I go about filming through a peephole in a door? I'm shooting a short film where a man needs to look through a peephole at a delivery man. Any suggestions? Can I accomplish this with a DSLR? If I put my camera to the peephole I can't really see the man. I've seen films before where it gives the point of view of the individual, thus making the image through the peephole more clear. I can't seem to get that effect of actually looking through the peephole by just putting the camera up to it. Should I use a certain types of lens? Different camera? If this is not possible is there a way to replicate the effect? I hope this is clear. Thanks in advance for any help.

Edited by Bernard Joseph Ellouk
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The notions that make the peephole view believable to me are...wide angle, some distortion, an apparent vignette.

You could use a wide angle lens for a smaller format and just let it naturally vignette, or add the vignette effect with a deliberate matte. Just have to find a way to mount the small format lens. Or us whatever fisheye you otherwise would on your camera and use a round matte to give the apparent vignette.

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This used to be done by making up a larger prop keyhole.

 

Resorted to this on a music video - 16mm black and white so it was a bit hit and miss in terms of keeping the obvious parts of the prop underexposed enough - worked well though, should have done it from the get go

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You can get a cheap wide angle adapter for like $20 for your DSLR lens which will distort the image and soften it- you may not even need the peep hole proper, if the actors play right to camera-- as in a POV shot.

If you want the peephole in frame as well then you need to build a prop.

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There's lots of ways to do this. I guess you pick one and make it work...

 

ECU profile or frontal of eye arriving at peephole.

POV through peephole (fisheye with round matte)

 

or

 

Quick POV dolly in to ECU peephole on door.

POV through peephole (fisheye with round matte)

 

or ditto using door/peephole prop, pull focus to peephole view.

 

Edited by Gregg MacPherson
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Ours was a camera move into the keyhole from action in one room to a short scene in the next. I guess easy to comp, but we were going %100 analog for this project. We were able to remove the lock and place some black card with a keyhole cut into in place. It terms of size it would have been about 3x higher. Hazed up the room and shot a lamp through it from afar to get a keyhole shaped beam of light that we approached.

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Take a wide angle adapter for a video lens, the larger the better. Mount it into a small piece of showcard (the black side) and support with a c-stand. Use a medium to long focal length macro lens on your camera and shoot into the wide angle adapter, taking care to tent out any reflections on the back side.

 

The adapter will create a fisheye image with a black circular border that you can photograph with a macro lens. You must use a macro since you are rephotographing the image created by the macro lens a few inches away from your taking lens.

 

The more telephoto the macro lens, the larger you can reproduce the peephole image on film. Since the fisheye makes everything seem smaller, you'd want to make the peephole image fill the frame as much as possible so it actually reads on screen.

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We did something like this on a short I shot a few years ago. We just went with a profile shot of the actor putting her eye to the peep hole with some hard light shining through (so you knew the peephole was there) and then went POV without showing the doorframe or the peephole with a 10mm lens. Worked great.

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