The Depth of a Field

Depth of field. We’ve all heard of it, but only a select few know what it means. And an even smaller group knows how to control it. Sit down, folks, because today, you become a part of that group.

A shot’s depth of field is how large of a distance from the camera is in focus. A deep DOF has a lot in focus, while a shallow one has very little. There are three factors that affect a shot’s DOF.


As a general rule, moving the camera away from the subject deepens the DOF.

This is evident in wide shots, which often have most of the shot in focus. Speaking of wide shots:


Wider lenses have deeper DOFs.

85+ lenses work well for rack focuses because they have shallow DOFs, so you can see the change in focus.

For more information about lenses, see this post.


The aperture, which is controlled by the f-stop, also affects the DOF. Allowing more light into the camera decreases the DOF, so changing the lighting and f-stop simultaneously can increase or decrease how much is in focus.


Thinking about the depth of field is important. It determines the distance, lens, and f-stop you choose to use. This will significantly change the feel of your shot. Experiment with it, get a feel as to how each factor affects the outcome. Practice makes improvement, after all.

Tune in next week to look behind the scenes of pre-production for a new film!

I am super happy to say that this is my 20th post! I would like to thank everyone who has supported my filmmaking over the years.

Fade to 21.

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