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john spader

Split Field Diopter...

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Posted (edited)

we are planning on utilizing a couple split focus shots in next film, but have never actually used a split field before.

we are trying to accomplish a shot similar to the first shot in the below link. But can any DP out there tell me which one to

rent...because they're a little hard to come by and can only rent from Atlanta or LA and we're shooting in Austin, so

I don't want to waste time getting the wrong one delivered out there. +1, vs +2 or +3? which one?

We will be using Atlas Orion anamorphic lenses just FYI.


Edited by john spader

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You can use this close up lens calculator to work out what diopter strength gives you the right combination of distances:


For example, if the taking lens is set to 4 ft with a +2 diopter close up lens, it will focus at 14 inches. So a +2 split diopter lens will let you focus at both 4 ft and 14 inches. Or 6 ft and 15.5 inches, 10 ft and 17 inches, etc.

A +3 split diopter will let you focus at 4 ft and 10 inches, or 6 ft and 11 inches, etc. 


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You need to rent a set, though most of the time it’s a +1 or +2. There is always some trial and error unless you already know the distances involved. But usually it’s situational.

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wow, you are always so helpful over the years David...and Dom...thank you guys. Super appreciate it.

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You basically set the lens focus on the far subject that gets the clear area of the split-diopter and then try different strengths of diopters until the near subject comes into focus, and then when you get as close as possible to getting the near object into focus, you adjust things to help get both subjects to fall into focus -- perhaps you shift the lens focus for the near object covered by the diopter and then move the far object until it comes back into focus, or you leave the focus on the far object and push/pull the near object further or closer until it is sharp, or you shift the camera position, etc.  Generally though you want to make sure the near object is sharp because it tends to be bigger in frame than the far object.

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