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Deep focus

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A scene from William Wyler's film, The Best Years of Our Lives, exemplifies deep focus. Note the in-focus figure in the phone booth in the background — best seen in the enlarged view of the image. A scene from William Wyler's film, The Best Years of Our Lives, exemplifies deep focus. Note the in-focus figure in the phone booth in the background — best seen in the enlarged view of the image.

Deep focus is a photographic and cinematographic technique incorporating a large depth-of-field. Depth-of-field is the front-to-back range of focus in an image — that is, how much of it appears sharp and clear. Consequently, in deep focus the foreground, middle-ground and background are all in focus.

The opposite of deep focus is shallow focus, in which only one plane of the image is in focus.

A scene from Jean Renoir's film, The Rules of the Game, exemplifies shallow focus. Note the out-of-focus figure in the background — best seen in the enlarged view of the image. A scene from Jean Renoir's film, The Rules of the Game, exemplifies shallow focus. Note the out-of-focus figure in the background — best seen in the enlarged view of the image.

In the cinema, Orson Welles and his cinematographer Gregg Toland were the two individuals most responsible for popularizing deep focus. Their film, Citizen Kane (1941), is a textbook of possible uses of the technique.

However, cinematic deep focus did not originate with Welles or end with him. Film-makers such as Erich von Stroheim and Jean Renoir experimented with the technique in the 1920s and 1930s. And director William Wyler also favored deep focus in the late 1940s and 1950s — as can be seen in his post-World War II drama, The Best Years of Our Lives, from 1946. French film critic Andrι Bazin championed deep focus as a major advance in the realism of the cinema and singled out The Best Years of Our Lives for analysis in his influential collection of essays, What Is Cinema?


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Movies, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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