In partnership with cmotion Lens Control Systems of Vienna, Austria, London-based filmmaker Oliver Janesh Christiansen has developed Cinefade, a new system that enables cinematographers to gradually vary the sharpness of the background in a motion-picture shot at constant exposure, whilst keeping the foreground in focus.
Cinefade is an in-camera effect that can immerse viewers in a story or make a client’s product stand out in a commercial, enabling an interesting new form of cinematic expression.
Depth-of-field is a powerful cinematic storytelling device. In the past, cinematographers have always been limited to choosing either a shallow or a deep depth-of-field that stays consistent throughout the shot. Cinefade gives them the opportunity to explore the creative potential of a variable depth-of-field. Fading from a deep to a shallow depth is possible, thereby gradually blurring the background, which could communicate a shift in the subject’s emotional state in a narrative or guide the viewer’s eyes to focus on a product in a commercial.
Cinefade uses a custom cmotion lens control system to vary iris diameter, changing the depth-of-field. A custom-built variable neutral density filter sits inside a matte box and keeps exposure constant by slaving the filter motor to the iris motor.
The Cinefade system works with any digital or film camera and cine lens, and allows for a range of up to five T-stops. Cinefade is currently being used by directors of photography for TV dramas, feature films, commercials and music videos and is available as a rental-only item in London and Los Angeles. Christopher Ross BSC commented, “Cinefade is a really useful and subtle tool to use in moments of extreme drama.”