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Is a Depth of Field Adapter Worth it?

Getting true depth of field (DOF) on a video camera seems to be the holy grail of low budget filmmaking. Since just about all video cameras shoot everything "flat" (where everything appears in focus almost all the time), it's hard to get that elusive "film look" where there are lots of focal planes to choose from. Being able to control this focus means you can easily direct the eye of the viewer toward what they should be looking at.

The only way to get this kind of DOF on a video camera is to make or buy a DOF adapter. They come in several flavors and can cost more than your camera. They also force you to be a slave to critical focus--if you are just a hair out of focus it will be noticable (unlike a stock video lens). I think if you have the time, true DOF is they way to go, as it looks really, really good. But be warned. What was once a simple shot (like a dolly shot to an actor's face) now requires a focus puller to keep the talent from going all fuzzy.

So, yes it is worth it, I believe, but be ready to change the way you do just about everything.


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