Think You Understand Depth of Field? Take the Black and Blue DOF Test to Find Out
So you just started using DSLRs and you think you’ve got an idea about this newfangled “depth of field.” Or maybe you’re an experienced professional AC and you know the depth of field chart by heart for a 40mm Master Prime. Regardless of your experience level, depth of field is an extremely important concept to wrap your head around if you want to shoot with large sensor cameras (like those DSLRs you might be using). Camera Assistant Evan Luzi over at The Black and Blue has created a quiz with 20 questions to test your depth of field knowledge.
Here’s a little bit from Evan on the test:
Do you know what depth of field is? Are you able to calculate it with just the power of your mind?
Well, it’s time to put you to the test.
I’ve prepared a 20-question Depth of Field Quiz that’ll scrutinize your knowledge of the basic principles of DOF and your ability to accurately guess the amount of depth of field in camera setups.
It’s not easy — but I have a feeling you’re up to the challenge, so give it a shot:
Depth of field is an essential concept to understand in filmmaking — because if you want people to watch your film, it has to be in focus. Understanding how f-stops, sensor sizes, and distances affect the amount of your frame that is in acceptable focus is an important skill. The artistic choices that can result from expert knowledge of depth of field can enhance the effect that a shot has on the viewer. It’s very common to see super-shallow depth of field in videos online, but razor-thin depth of field is an artistic tool (and a possible by-product of no light and large sensors) like any other that can be used to your advantage. One of the better uses of the shallow depth of field caused by the gigantic sensor in the Canon 5D Mark II (same sensor size as the Canon 5D Mark III) was the season 6 finale of the television show House M.D., which used the depth of field to enhance the emotion in certain scenes.
On the other hand, deep depth of field — even though it has fallen out of fashion thanks to large sensor digital camera — is expertly used in the Orsen Welles film Citizen Kane. While that is the most famous example, there are plenty of films over the years that have utilized greater depth to their advantage. If you would like to see more examples of shallow depth of field used in a professional setting, the DPs of the Starz series Boss with Kelsey Grammer — which happens to be shot on the Arri Alexa — work almost exclusively at T1.3 or T2 with Arri/Zeiss Master Primes.
Does anyone have examples of movies or shows that utilize shallow or deep depth of field to their advantage? If so, feel free share them below in the comments.