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Having two different objects in focus

I have a shot in low light, which shows a character in real time with a clock sped up (granted this a bit heavy handed). When planning the shoot, i intended to shoot with a lower f-stop to get a larger DOF. But without time to properly asses our location (this has been all organised in the last week), I underestimated the available light to us. The scene is a bit noisy as it is, but acceptable enough for what we are doing. So i couldn't stop down anymore. I had hoped that I could shoot it with the clock out of focus, and it would work, however, I don't think it really does.

this is the shot: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1cA66qv8T4WckxNcWE4NVNBSm8/edit?usp=sharing

Is there a way to save this in post (i've sharpened it about as much as I can), or do i need to reshoot? And if so, how should I achieve this shot (without more light, we don't have any fittings available to us)? I'm currently shooting it with the actor standing there (then leaving) and leaving the camera running for a long while to get the clock going around, and cutting the shot in half in post, playing the clock in fast time, and the actor in normal - if that makes sense. Would racking to the clock work with this technique (it would mean both the actor and clock are in focus in the final shot), or would that look really odd?

Thanks


edit, i realise the crop between the two parts of the scenes is a bit rough (hence the light flicker), i'll tighten that up later
 
At what focal length, on what camera and what aperture was that shot ?

Anyway, rack focus would work but not the way you describe it. The actor needs to be out of focus in the final shot.

You let the actor do his stuff, then you rack focus to the clock while your actor stays there for a while (say 20s), out of focus. Then he leaves the scene, you leave the camera there for as long as you want to.

In post, make sure the clock is doing her thing when the actor is out of focus.
 
There's no way to save this shot without VFX in post. You could composite in an in-focus clock, however with the background being out of focus the way it is, it would look out of place. The only way to do it in such a case would be to shoot a sharp background plate, then shoot the actor on a green screen and comp him in. Green Screening it would also save you having to cut the shot in half.
As to whether you could shoot the bg plate and t he actor on the same day at the same location really depends on lens and aperture. As far as I can tell, your suggested idea of recording the clock sharp and then putting a sharp clock half next to the sharp actor half would have the effect of a split diopter, which I don't think is what you're going for. However, as always, YMMV.

An easier solution is to just add more light and stop down, and/or decrease the distance between the talent and the clock.
 
There's no way to save this shot without VFX in post. You could composite in an in-focus clock, however with the background being out of focus the way it is, it would look out of place. The only way to do it in such a case would be to shoot a sharp background plate, then shoot the actor on a green screen and comp him in. Green Screening it would also save you having to cut the shot in half.
As to whether you could shoot the bg plate and t he actor on the same day at the same location really depends on lens and aperture. As far as I can tell, your suggested idea of recording the clock sharp and then putting a sharp clock half next to the sharp actor half would have the effect of a split diopter, which I don't think is what you're going for. However, as always, YMMV.


I really think the out of focus actor is the best route to go. He doesn't need a greenscreen. He will have to use masks but nothing else.

This is your video file :

!--------------------------------------------------------------------!
A ! B ! C

A is the actor closing the door until the rack focus. B starts when the rack focus ends and last around 20 seconds until the actor leaves the scene. C is the clock doing her thing.

In post, you cut the C part, you speed it and you play it at the same time than B. You put a clever mask (it doesn't have to be half) on it to show both the out of focus actor and the clock.

If you REALLY want both to be in focus, you'll need to give us the details of the shot (aperture, focal length and camera).
 
d'oh, i just realised I completely blanked on shoot. I had storyboarded to shoot facing that direction, so didn't even consider that there was a much closer wall (basically where the camera was sitting).
Thanks for the suggestions though everyone!
 
With proper editing, I think a rack-focus would do the trick, but only so far as keeping your (normal-speed) foreground in focus at the same time as your (sped-up) background.

But that does nothing to make the clock more noticeable. My main problem with this shot is that the only reason I looked at the clock is because you told me to. In order to accomplish what you want, I think it should be framed and staged much differently. The clock needs to be IN OUR FACE. Put the dude in the background.
 
With proper editing, I think a rack-focus would do the trick, but only so far as keeping your (normal-speed) foreground in focus at the same time as your (sped-up) background.

But that does nothing to make the clock more noticeable. My main problem with this shot is that the only reason I looked at the clock is because you told me to. In order to accomplish what you want, I think it should be framed and staged much differently. The clock needs to be IN OUR FACE. Put the dude in the background.

The film hyperbolises reality. The soundtrack will have the sound of a clock speeding up here, which i think will make the clock more obvious. Or is that too subtle?
 
The film hyperbolises reality. The soundtrack will have the sound of a clock speeding up here, which i think will make the clock more obvious. Or is that too subtle?

If you can rack-focus to the clock, then that should probably be sufficient (especially with your planned sound effects). But the footage you showed us just looks like a dude leaning up against the door, and the sped-up clock is very easy to miss, in my opinion.

Just my two cents -- even from an artistic perspective, not just technical, I think it'd be better if the clock was MUCH more prominent in the shot. I personally think it should be in the foreground.
 
If you can rack-focus to the clock, then that should probably be sufficient (especially with your planned sound effects). But the footage you showed us just looks like a dude leaning up against the door, and the sped-up clock is very easy to miss, in my opinion.

Just my two cents -- even from an artistic perspective, not just technical, I think it'd be better if the clock was MUCH more prominent in the shot. I personally think it should be in the foreground.

I might give that a go. The only way to do that will be to change the angle of the shot and have it on the wall beside the actor, though
 
Interesting read. I knew how to achieve similar results with lens whacking (but that wasn't an option for this shot). I won't be able to get one before we have our retakes (I can't see anywhere that sells them, and international shipping won't be fast enough) and I'm not sure it would be a justified expense, either - but interesting nonetheless.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
You can easily have two objects in focus, citizen kane did this sort of shit all the time..

Focus on the left half of the screen.
Focus on the right half of the screen.

Splice the two frames together.
Boom everything is in focus, in what would be an impossible shot to do with just one lens
 
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