You may notice that most cinematography has a shallow depth of field. There are many reasons for this, and in this video, a filmmaker goes over the pros and cons of using it and why it’s often avoided.

Wolfcrow is from afar my favorite YouTuber on cinematography and film. His analysis of even the most fundamental subjects of filmmaking is always shrewd, clearly presented and engaging. This video discusses the topic of deep focus vs shallow focus, especially in movies, and why you might choose one over the other.

One obvious item is a technical limitation. To use a narrower aperture and deepen what is in focus, you limit the amount of light that can reach the sensor. In photography this can be compensated by slowing down the shutter speed, but the exposure triangle in video is more limited because the shutter speed is usually fixed. So the only solution is either to increase the ISO – which has some accompanying baggage – or to add more light to a scene.

The question that came to me after watching the video is: do I prefer the shallow depth of field in cinematography because it’s aesthetically better, removing distractions and giving a softer feel, or is this just what i’m used to? Deep focus is definitely a lot more difficult and requires a lot more consideration for everything in a frame, so that should be more impressive, right?