Exercise: Depth

Camera: Sony PXW-FS7
Lens: Sony 28-135mm f4

Task:

  1. Frame a shot containing a close and distant object.
  2. Zoom in close on the close object.
  3. Slowly zoom out, keeping both objects in frame.

This task demonstrates the perception of depth within a frame.

The shot begins with a long focal length of 135mm. This produces a shallow depth of field, in which the squeaky toy in the foreground is in focus, while the dog in the background is out of focus. Resulting in a shallow focus shot.

The camera zooms out to a short focal length of 28mm. This produces a deep depth of field, in which both the squeaky toy and the dog are now in focus. Resulting in a deep focus shot.

The perception of depth is created by composition. The viewer of a moving image looks at a 2D canvas and perceives a 3D space. This perception of depth is achieved through the creation of perspective. Placing an object close up to the lens, such as the toy in this exercise film, and other objects further way, such as the dog, gives a perception of increased depth.

Perspective within a composition can also be emphasised by:

  • placing a character in the foreground, which helps to increase their size in relation to the background
  • or using a wide-angle lens to exaggerate the sense of depth within the frame.

The perception of depth can also be achieved through the manipulation of the depth of field within the image. Altering the amount of detail in the background by reducing the depth of field.