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Hi guys and girls,

I have just watched The people vs OJ Simpson, in just three days. I liked it a lot, especially the cinematography.
I have a question about one of the shots i saw, Two people in the shot, one in close-up and the other in a chest shot (so there's distance), both of them are in focus but the background isn't. Is this deep focus or is it compisited?

Thanks!
The people vs OJ Simpson ep.10

post-72245-0-17740800-1489336702_thumb.jpg

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Just looks like deep focus (stopped down lens) though it may have been helped by using a tilt-focus lens in conjunction with stopping down. He's a little out-of-focus here so it is unlikely to have been a composite shot.

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Just looks like deep focus (stopped down lens) though it may have been helped by using a tilt-focus lens in conjunction with stopping down. He's a little out-of-focus here so it is unlikely to have been a composite shot.

 

Thanks! I thought about that too but i don't know the exact behavior of a tilt shift lens.

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Here is an example:

remains2.jpg

 

Here is something I shot:

akeelah2.jpg

 

 

The focus falls on a diagonal plane rather than flat onto the camera plane, so one edge of the frame is at minimum focus and the opposite edge is at infinity. But the more you stop down to increase depth of field, the more you help the deep focus effect.

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Citizen Kane was famously known for its deep focus shots. New film stocks at the time helped them achieve that effect, along with good wide angle lenses. First movie I'm aware where they used this effect.

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Deep focus shots appear off and on through the silent era, mostly on day exteriors or day interiors lit with a lot of sunlight. "Greed" (1925) for example has some deep focus shots and some of Buster Keaton's gags relied on the foreground and background action being seen at the same time in relatively similar focus (there's a joke in "Steamboat Bill Jr.", 1928, where Keaton, established as an East Coast dandy, visits his tough steamboat captain father in jail -- he brings a loaf of bread with tools inside so the father can escape from jail but he shows up soaking wet from a storm with an umbrella blown backwards and is framed in the doorway of the jail with his father in the foreground turning to face the camera in disgust at his inept son, who then has to get his attention to the loaf of bread he is carrying.)

 

James Wong Howe claims to have used deep focus for most of "Transatlantic" (1931) but what he really did was use a 25mm lens for most of a movie for the first time, giving him a somewhat deeper focus but not true deep focus in terms of having things in focus from near foreground to background. During the hype over "Kane" and its deep focus look, many people like Howe or Hitchcock were defending the use of selective focus to draw your attention to the subject.

 

Toland himself had a few deep focus shots in "Grapes of Wrath" and then more in "The Long Voyage Home" (both 1940) as a run-up to what he'd do more dramatically in "Citizen Kane". Some deep focus shots in "Citizen Kane" are composites, some in-camera and some in an optical printer.

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I would mention the use of split diopter too....

http://nofilmschool.com/2013/10/deep-focus-use-of-split-diopters-in-film

 

Deep focus shots appear off and on through the silent era, mostly on day exteriors or day interiors lit with a lot of sunlight. "Greed" (1925) for example has some deep focus shots and some of Buster Keaton's gags relied on the foreground and background action being seen at the same time in relatively similar focus (there's a joke in "Steamboat Bill Jr.", 1928, where Keaton, established as an East Coast dandy, visits his tough steamboat captain father in jail -- he brings a loaf of bread with tools inside so the father can escape from jail but he shows up soaking wet from a storm with an umbrella blown backwards and is framed in the doorway of the jail with his father in the foreground turning to face the camera in disgust at his inept son, who then has to get his attention to the loaf of bread he is carrying.)

 

James Wong Howe claims to have used deep focus for most of "Transatlantic" (1931) but what he really did was use a 25mm lens for most of a movie for the first time, giving him a somewhat deeper focus but not true deep focus in terms of having things in focus from near foreground to background. During the hype over "Kane" and its deep focus look, many people like Howe or Hitchcock were defending the use of selective focus to draw your attention to the subject.

 

Toland himself had a few deep focus shots in "Grapes of Wrath" and then more in "The Long Voyage Home" (both 1940) as a run-up to what he'd do more dramatically in "Citizen Kane". Some deep focus shots in "Citizen Kane" are composites, some in-camera and some in an optical printer.

how come you don't mention split diopter??? that's been used quite a bit in films

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I don't think the frame from the original post used a split diopter filter because the split would have been seen in her shoulder.

 

As for the history of deep focus, the earliest use of a split diopter filter that I can find is from the mid-1950s though there is no reason why it couldn't have been invented and used much earlier, I just can't find any examples or mention of them before the 50s.

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