March 29

Tech & Technique: Split-field Diopter


buzzmasters blog tech technology and technique split field diopter

Creating a video is just point and shoot right?

If you’re simply trying to document something, sure, but if you genuinely want to create a video that is engaging, that reinforces your branding while creating a video that your customers will want to watch over and over, you realise it’s about a great deal more than pressing record.

..want to create a video that is engaging, that reinforces your branding while creating a video that your customers will want to watch over and over... it’s about a great deal more than simply pressing record. Click To Tweet

Especially if you want to invoke emotion through narrative. You can find out more about that in our last post.

There are techniques used that go beyond the words spoken by the characters, beyond their body movements and message; there are techniques using the camera, it’s positioning, and even the lens chosen.

Split field diopter, anyone?

Once you know what the lens looks like in the final product, you can easily see its result. But it takes a team like Buzzmasters to show you what you can achieve with your brand, your reach and your ability to achieve brand loyalty – even increase your dwell time – simply using a technique like this.

Would you rather add a minute of extra film, more script writing to convey your message, or simply add a lens to the camera – and really, only half a lens!

A split field diopter is a partial lens that is added to the camera – partial in that it only covers one half of the total camera lens. It allows both the foreground and background of any video shot to be in focus, rather than one or the other. It often appears in films where not only is the makeup of the scene important, to be able to see all the characters, but also to show where they are within the space.

It is easily recognized in this still from a scene in Wandavision:

See that blurry line down the middle? Split-field diopter.

And it’s not a new technique either – cinematographers and directors have been taking advantage of this technique – allowing them to add underlying emotion or even build terror. You may recognize this scene from Jaws – unless you watched the whole movie from between your fingers. Now that you know what a split-field diopter looks like, notice anything about this still from the movie?

There’s that blurry line again.

And if you are ready to see what it can do in action, here’s Buzzmasters’ Vice President and Studio Head Ryen Veldhuis and this shot from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

“At the end of the scene,” says Veldhuis of the following video clip, “as Bruce Willis’ character flees from his attacker, he turns a corner to escape. A split field diopter is used to keep both characters in the foreground and background in focus, which helps bridge the physical gap, making them feel much closer together than in reality, which heightens the tension.”

When you work with Buzzmasters, you work with a team that understands that creating interesting and engaging video content is not about simply pointing and shooting. You’ll work with a team that understands and knows how to use complex cinematic techniques to help you attract your clients and customers without added cost, and sometimes, without your customers even knowing.

Can you spot the split field diopter? Let us know in the comments which are your favourite scenes using the specialised lens! Or know of another lens, or perhaps a shot you can’t quite figure out? We want to hear from you too! 

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tech, technique, technology, video production

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