Can everything be in focus in a movie?

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by Syzygys, Mar 29, 2010.

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  1. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Not exactly computer science, although when watching Avatar I started to wonder:

    Why is the background still out of focus when it was done by computers and blue screens? Can't they just make everything in focus all the time?
     
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    In Avatar it was quite deliberate that things were out of focus. James Cameron wanted to force the audience to look where he wanted them to look, rather than looking at action in the background. He didn't want the 3D to distract too much.

    In general in live-action, non-computer movies, the general principles of photography apply. You can't have everything from near to far in perfect focus. For any given f-number, there will be a range of distances between which things are in reasonable focus. The smaller the f-number, the smaller the range of distances in focus (due to wider aperture). The extreme is a pinhole camera, which will have everything in focus, at the expense of letting very little light through, requiring long exposures.
     
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  5. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    For one, it would look really strange, like a drawing or painting with no perspective. We would feel disoriented in such pictures.
    Just the other day I saw a photo in the newspaper, it seems it was taken with a special lens. All the objects appeared focused, but out of proportion. The man in the photo was as big as the house in some distance behind him, but since both appeared equally clear, it looked really strange.
     
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  7. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    That's fine, I am willing to give it a try. Let the audience decide if they like such a movie style. After all, they are trying to force 3D on us, without even asking...

    The same with "cartoon" style movies like Up or Monster Inc. Or Star Wars. They could make everything in focus. What is the point of putting so much stuffs on the screen if they are let to be not sharp and hard to see???? I guess what James said, they are trying to make them look more realistic, but I don't always want realism...after all it is cinema...
     
  8. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    If you don't like 3D, go to the 2D showings. Or close one eye. Or wait for the DVD.

    Yes, what James said. Only so much stuff is relevant, the rest is background. You really want to see every leaf on every tree behind the character or action that you are supposed to be paying attention to? Why?

    Also, what James said, it's camera mechanics, unless every shot is very well lit, and the depth of field is limited (like we are shooting indoors only) there is a limit to what can be in focus. Only CGI could keep everything in focus, and nobody in their right mind is going to spend money on a camera system that keeps distant objects in focus for live action movies, when it's completely pointless.

    Lastly, stuff being out of focus, using depth of field, varying distance and zoom (like the famous Chief Brody scene in 'Jaws') is cinematography, the art of showing us what we need to see. You don't want that?
     
  9. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    What if 10 years from now everything is going to be in 3D? Let's say my grandpa didn't like color movies, eventually everything was made in color...What if my friend is showing it in 3D and everyone wants to watch it like that? Oh yes, I can close 1 eye...

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    Yes. Why? Because I can.

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    When I am watching National geography or Discovery I like when everything is sharp as hell.

    The technology is there, they could make it as such. Why have HD? Do you really want to see every pore on an actor's face? You could say that something should be left for the imagination.

    We are talking about CGI, after all I mentioned Avatar and Up...

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    I dunno. Let me experience ALL focus first, THEN I can decide...In Avatar first they make it very realistic, then they put it out of focus, which kind of wastes the whole point of very realistic....It could be a Muppet in the background as far as we can tell.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  10. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    OK, let me explain what bothered me with Avatar. When something is really far behind and it is out of focus because that is how it looks in real life, thus it ads deepth to the movie I don't mind it. But in Avatar characters were out of focus in the background when they were relative pretty close. Here is an example:

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    The guy on the right is just a few steps behind the main characters, but his face is not sharp at all. I guess that's how the director wanted to make us concentrate on what was important, but it is like making my eyes artifically bad...
     
  11. John99 Banned Banned

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    I agree with whats been said. It is deliberate CGI 'trick'. otherwise everything can be in focus because that is how it would normally be. it is done is to make the cgi look more realistic in relation to an actual camera and not really an actual true to life experience.

    it is up to the animator becauese there is no mechanical limitation. in film or video it is up to the lens and the f-stop. sometimes you dont want depthe of field (with a lens) and sometimes you do. all lenses will do this though, just to varying degrees, but the human eye doesn't do this. if you watch the movie you will also see instances of rack focusing, not that i have seen the movie but they nearly every movie weather film\video or animation uses this 'trick'.
     
  12. X-Man2 We're under no illusions. Registered Senior Member

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    I assumed the backgrounds were kept blurry on purpose to keep your full attention on the main actors/main scene.If the backgrounds were just as clear wouldn't our attention waver from the main?
     
  13. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    No you can't. And when you watch National Geographic channel, no, everything isn't sharp, it obeys the depth of field rules optics obey.

    Why, because one guy (you) wants it? It can only be done for CGI. Then it would look less real than reality. That is pointless.

    What point are you trying to make? You seem confused.
     
  14. John99 Banned Banned

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    phlog, everything in a scene (even with a REAL lens) can certainly be in focus. in fact, the best cameras are better at keeping the whole scene in focus because like syzygy said the whole frame is sharp and in focus, which is what the person filming wants. In other words, you would need an object to be very close to the lens for it to go out of focus but really aanything as close as a few feet is in focus and that includes wide shots of landscape etc.
     
  15. John99 Banned Banned

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    to add to #11, that would actually be closer to how a humans vision works. in reality a better lens is just better at simulating a human eye and that is to NOT loose focus.
     
  16. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Please post the statistics done by you showing that the majority of the viewers wouldn't want it.

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    Also we already established we ARE talking about CGI...

    On Ignore, off you go...

    Now going back to the original problem, I actually hate (and assume most people do) when in normal films 2 characters are making a conversation, but because one is much closer to the camera than the other, one has to be blurry, which is clearly a technical disadvantage (why would anyone not want to see both characters talking?) and not the director's wish...

    Here is an example:

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    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  17. MacGyver1968 Fixin' Shit that Ain't Broke Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think we have to worry too much about this. 3d only works for certain types of movies, like action and adventure movies. Romantic comedies and the like, wouldn't really benefit from it...plus it's really adds to the cost of the movie. From what understand, one third of movies make money, a third break even, and a third lose money. I don't think producers would take the financial risk of 3D on just any old movie. 3D is more of a fad....it comes and goes.
     
  18. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    On the other hand they can charge way more for 3D, so there is incentive for the industry to push the standard. A 3D ticket costs $19.5 in NYC...We only have HD since the last 10 years, but pretty much every chanel is aviable in HD now, when at least half of the programs don't benefit from it (old films, news).

    I don't think it is a fad, just look at the new TVs. The TV makers also need a new standard (or gimmick) so they make you buy a new set in every 5 or so years...

    I agree, that most films don't benefit from 3D, but that doesn't need to bother the industry...
     
  19. John99 Banned Banned

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    Old films DO benefit from HD.
     
  20. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Even older sitcoms don't look HDish. They might look better, than before, but I don't think they can be made true HD.... On my cabel certain sitcoms are shown even in smaller screen I guess because it is sharper that way...
     
  21. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Jesus fucking christ, again you demonstrate your total fucking ignorance of anything scientific or technical.

    Clearly you have never owned an SLR, or even read about photography.

    It depends on the available light. Do you know how a camera aperture works? Understand how a pinhole focuses light? Understand how the depth of field varies with the aperture, and the aperture setting is dependent on the amount of available light and the desired shutter speed? Clearly you haven't got a clue about any of the above.


    The 'best' cameras work the way they do because of something 'syzygy' said? Do you rave man?


    Clearly they don't. Clearly cinematographers deliberately keep some background out of focus, and clearly, you are talking rubbish again.

    Jesus, do you no proof read what you write? 'wide shots of landscape' at 'a few feet' ?

    Meanwhile, read and understand this before you post any more drivel;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field
     
  22. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    You so far are the ONLY person I have heared ask for it. Prove otherwise.

    You mentioned the National Geographic channel, which is not CGI, ....

    They don't have to be. Clearly you understand nothing about photography or cinematography. If one is out of focus, it's because director wants them to be.
     
  23. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    'loose' focus? Do you mean 'lose' focus?

    John, are you telling me that you think you see everything in focus, from the foreground, to the horizon, in perfect focus, all the time?
     
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