The term “deep focus” comes from the fact that you can see more detail in the foreground than at any other point on the screen—it also gives the look of being very close up rather than looking far away. It is usually used when filming something small such as flowers, animals, insects, but may be applied to larger subjects too if they are not large enough for standard lenses. The use of this effect has been widely adopted by indie filmmakers who want their work to stand out amongst many similar films made using traditional techniques. More recently, the technique has become popularized through video-sharing websites because it allows users to create videos without having access to expensive equipment. In addition, the method often results in interesting creative effects due to its ability to emphasize specific features within a scene. Below, we have thoroughly covered a common question amongst video-makers – “what is deep focus in film?”.
History of technique
The deep focus was used extensively by early filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Flaherty but has fallen into disuse due to its technical complexity. Today, it is often achieved with special lenses designed specifically for this purpose. Actually, the technique has been used since early silent films to create emotional effects through contrast between characters’ positions in their surroundings. It was particularly popular during Hollywood filmmaking from the 1930s to the 1950s. Famous examples include Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Psycho; Peter Yates’ Don’t Look Now; Roman Polanski’s Chinatown; Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, which won Best Picture Oscar; Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; and David Fincher’s Fight Club.
The very term “deep focus” was first used by American director Joseph Mankiewicz for the opening sequence of his 1956 movie The Barefoot Contessa. It has since become popular among filmmakers who want to create images that are more dramatic than usual. However, when it comes to filming landscapes, there can be problems with this approach; sometimes objects appear out-of-focus because they’re too far away from the camera’s focal point.
Why use it
Deep staging can provide dramatic impact by placing an actor near the center of attention while still allowing him/her to appear as part of the scene’s environment. The audience feels more connected with the person who occupies the middle ground between two extremes – whether he or she is sitting on a sofa next to a fireplace or standing alone against a wall. In these cases, the foreground character appears much larger than does the background one: his presence dominates the sense of the scale of the entire setting, yet we are not overwhelmed by a mass of objects around us. This allows the audience to become immersed in what is happening within the frame without being distracted by extraneous details outside its borders.
The examples of how directors use deep focus
– An actor enters the frame from the left and moves toward the center. The camera focuses on him as he comes into view until his head fills most of the screen. Then the scene shifts back to show what happened before he came onto-screen. This movement also creates an opportunity to shoot through windows with interesting views of other rooms beyond them.
– Two characters look directly across one another’s faces. In this example, the character who looks away first has her face filled with her hair, while the second person’s face remains clear. After she turns around, however, the fullness of her features becomes clear.
– When two people gaze deeply at each other, they become more intimate than when their eyes meet only briefly. By placing them so close together, we can see that they have been attracted to each other and want to spend time with each other.
– We often see a large amount of action going on behind our main protagonist. As long as there isn’t any important visual information being shown within the frame, then a wide-angle lens allows us to get a sense of scale without having distracting elements inside the composition.
Sometimes directors prefer to place a prop or object off-center in order to add interest to the composition. It’s not always necessary to do this; anyway, keeping objects centered makes the setting feel too static.