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Adam Frisch FSF

Frisch's Law of Photography

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Standards are important, and fortunately most of the cameras available now, are capable of having the lens mount switched out. However the major issue that I see with LPL moving forward, is that almost all of the major lens manufacturers have just recently released their new larger-format lenses, all of which have been designed for PL mounts.

Which makes the likelihood of new lenses being released, that have been designed with the benefits that the shorter flange distance and wider throat diameter of LPL in mind, probably a looooong way off.

So although I'm sure we'll see LPL mounts available for the Monstro and Venice in very short order (and possibly some LPL mounts for existing PL lens that offer interchangeable mounts). I think that native LPL lenses designed around the shorter flange distance, are a ways in the future.

LDS-2 is brilliant though, I hope everyone starts putting that into every lens there is ASAP.

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Does anyone feel this comes down to what era you started in cinematography? I didn't start until the 5D Mark ii splashed into the scene and so in a weird way the shallow depth of field that camera produced has been the subconscious standard for what "good" looks like to me.

 

I think it has more to do with what films you study. I started out in visual arts using the F/64 Club style, and didn't really start using a shallow depth of field until I started incorporating people and wildlife into my photographs, especially in macro photography.

 

My transition into motion pictures coincided with dSLR video because that was when it became affordable, but the stuff with insanely shallow depth of field didn't inspire me at all.

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As a caveat to Frisch's Law, I'd say that the more control you have over the setting or set, particularly an expensive set or exotic location, the more you will want to see it and not have it constantly in soft focus.

 

I once did a TV pilot in Chicago, a police drama, and shooting on longer lenses, I tended to stop way, way down just to hold more of the city in focus since it was a character as well. Otherwise we might as well have shot it in Vancouver or Toronto, faked for Chicago.

 

I'd also say that for the rare b&w movie, where color won't be an element to distract the eye, then deeper focus might be desired for its graphic possibilities, though shallow focus in b&w does solve the problem of separation.

 

I also think there are diminishing returns of one thinks that shallow depth of field helps focus the eye on the subject and take away ugly distractions because there can come a point where the image is SO shallow in focus that it becomes distracting in its own way because it looks so unlike how a human would see and experience a space. Sometimes you want a modest and ordinary space to feel modest and ordinary, not overtly stylized.

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I had a conversation just yesterday in which I tried to emphasise that excessive background blur just turned the subject into a person floating in a world of vaguely-brownish fog.

 

Frisch's Law prevailed, sadly.

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I had a conversation just yesterday in which I tried to emphasise that excessive background blur just turned the subject into a person floating in a world of vaguely-brownish fog.

 

Frisch's Law prevailed, sadly.

This topic has a still photography counter part. For me, I'm in the 'deep focus' camp. Mushy backgrounds drive me insane. I looked at the kick off post on this thread, and was astonished to see it was in regard to the film "Dunkirk"(2017).

 

I just saw this film a few days ago as part of the Best Picture series at a local theater.

 

Throughout the film, all I could think of was, 'why is the background so blurry?" No of the original (few though they may be) images of the Dunkirk evacuation had such blur... The other thought was the somewhat modern looking buildings in some of the shots... but the blurred background was everywhere...

 

There is only one condition in my mind where 'blurring the background' works... and that's when the background is so crappy that it would seriously interfere with the subjects. Wedding/Event coverage or News reporting come to mind on situations where there can be little time for arranging the background in an artful way... and one has to take what one can get.

 

Otherwise there should be no excuse, and 'artistic style' isn't enough for me... speaking of which... Kaminski's 'mushfog' look was apparent in "The Shape of Water"(2017)... However, because I was able to get into the story more than "Dunkirk", it was not as objectionable to me, as the movie played.

 

During "Dunkirk" all I could think about was 'How would Mel Gibson have made this film?..."

Edited by John E Clark

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I'm always shooting multi cam, multi character, and never want to repeat a take for blown focus. The trend for some reason is to never give the 1st ac time for marks, and the directors I work with don't want them anyway. So for those reasons, and because it feels more natural to me I generally default to 2.8 indoors, and 4 outdoors. Of course, I'm nowhere near the level of some of the members on this thread but it works for me.

 

I do prefer my inserts to have shallower dof, to concentrate the eye on detail. so a SS at 1.8 or greater feels right.

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I also think there are diminishing returns of one thinks that shallow depth of field helps focus the eye on the subject and take away ugly distractions because there can come a point where the image is SO shallow in focus that it becomes distracting in its own way because it looks so unlike how a human would see and experience a space. Sometimes you want a modest and ordinary space to feel modest and ordinary, not overtly stylized.

 

Couldn't agree more, David. The time I find it really pretty is on wides that have fall-off. Too much gets distracting on CU's. It's easy to overdo. I seem to use mainly lenses in the 27, 32, 40 and maybe 50mm range, so tend not to get so long that it becomes a problem, but I've certainly been guilty of it in the past.

 

Longer I do this, the more I subscribe to JJ Annauds idea of doing your wides on longer lenses and backing off, to get that tableau, painterly feeling, and doing the close-ups with wider lenses, closer, nearer. That close work seems to mimic the human eye better.

 

But to get back on topic about softness in wides: there was the IMAX shot of the Joker after the robbery, that was essentially a full body shot where the background got soft. It was a very impressive shot when viewed on a big screen. To me, that felt cinematic. Although I totally appreciate the super sharp, deep focus work of photographers like Crewdson etc. But they have the luxury of having a set that's 100% controlled and designed. We rarely get that as DP's and on the wides it's where you need the ability to draw the eye with focus the most.

 

Here's a cropped pic of that. On the IMAX he was full body.

post-85-0-46641800-1520224885_thumb.jpg

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I agree Adam that wide-angle shots with shallower focus is a nice effect, as are long-lensed shots with deep focus (ala Kurosawa) -- both of which are harder to achieve... I only like long-lensed shots with shallow focus when the out of focus shapes are particularly interesting.

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So where are we a year later?

Well, the LF cameras have not completely replaced the 35mm frame size quite yet as I predicted. My rental house friends say the Mini/Dragon still stands for the majority of the rentals. It is shifting, though. And I get the sense that the lenses was what was holding LF back. Or lack of, rather. Now with Cooke releasing 1.8x anamorphic to cover FF, Thalia's and lots of little smaller producers releasing interesting lenses, like Bardford Young ASC's company, Tribe7/Blackwing7, there will be interesting times ahead. The Sony Venice has made big inroads, and the new Mini LF is sure to be a hit.

Will see where we are in another years time, but I think with anamorphic being more accessible in LF, it will start to win some hearts and minds.

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