Initial Ideas

I started the course without an immediate artistic direction. Although I had lots of ideas – nothing stood out. I decided to concentrate on developing my technical videography skills in the mean time.

One technical interest has been depth of field and how to achieve a shallow depth of field (DOF) effect so crucial to bringing drama and focus to an image. I have a Casio Ex-F1 camera which amongst other attributes has a fairly deep DOF typical of many non-DSLR prosumer cameras. I looked into using a DOF adapter of which there are a few, but for the cost and clunkiness, decided against this. Instead, I turned to Macro where extremely shallow DOF is the norm. I had been looking at the weeds growing out of the curb and thinking about how much detail is commonly overlooked by us in our everyday lives.

I began to think about tracking shots along curb sides and how the view of road edge/curb detail tells us something about the people that frequent a particular area. I had also been wondering about how to bring a sense of narrative to the curb idea. Initially I had been thinking about post-production motion graphics and animating text and/or shapes along the vertical face of the curb to tell a story.

Looking at David Levinthal’s work made me think about introducing models and this seemed like a quick way of testing out some ideas.

The first issue with macro is focus – it’s almost impossible to ascertain correct focus from a camera monitor screen, no matter how large and bright. The second problem is position. Using a macro lense, the camera must be positioned absolutely accurately to ensure the optional focal point. The third problem is control, with the camera on the floor and the image composition subject to disruption from wobble, its difficult to control the shot. I found a fairly clunky computer program that enables PC control of the Casio which has been a godsend. Although the live image shown on the computer is not good enough to test focus, a shot can be taken and checked in detail before more shots being taken at a given setting.

For the first tests I decided to dispense with video and just shoot stills to figure out what the issues might be. The results are shown below.

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