Exercise – Depth

He’s Behind You – Exercise – Depth from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

  • Zoom in on the close object. Notice the distance object is now out of focus.
  • Zoom out keeping the two objects in the frame.

Just like a photograph a video is a two dimensional object that allows access into a three dimensional world. One of the ways in which this happens is by depth. 

Before starting this exercise I researched ways in which you can generate a feeling of depth and perspective in movies.

  1. Using light and shade. The more of a contrast the scene is the more depth appears.
  2. Placing people in the foreground, middle and background can create an illusion of depth the same as people walking down a path or anything that recedes into the distance.
  3. Focus.
  4. Layers. One thing in photography you can do to create depth is using layers. For a landscape photo you would have the foreground such as a pebbly beach, the middle ground, maybe a raging ocean, and the background, perhaps the rock formation that is Durdle Door. The eye will be tricked into believing what you are looking at is an actually 3D image because there are so many layers.
  5. Occlusion. When the person in the foreground covers the person in the background. This is used in conversations such as the discourse with Anakin Skywalker and Darth Sidious.  Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 11.38.35

6. Using a dolly so there is a strong sense of perspective and the camera goes nearer or pulls back to create an extension of space.


This exercise was all about how changing the zoom alters the aperture (that is the setting that determines the amount of focus in an image. I generally shoot on a wide aperture on my camera as I love the depth of field it gives and makes the subject burst out of the photo. But on my camcorder there is no aperture control unfortunately but a wide aperture is generated when you zoom in and the focus is on the object and the background is a blurred. I took these photos which show the effect of aperture here. If you hover over them you can see the info about the shot.

I wanted to give this exercise a mood or atmosphere so set up this little glass ornament of two birds having a bath and placed it on the bed in the foreground in front of a very interested Skye.

I started with the wide screen ensuring both Skye and the birds were in focus and slowly zoomed in. The further I zoomed in the more Skye became a hazy blur but not too blurred that you couldn’t make out his features. By the time it was zoomed in on the birds and they filled the frame all you could see was the blurred presence of Skye watching the birds.

Zooming out the focus jumped to Skye and the birds became a blurred foreground, the more I zoomed out the more everything in the image became in focus. I added some music and copied and pasted the same song but altering it in pitch to give it a rising frequency.

Skye was only too happy to oblige and was a perfect little actor.



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