What is the optimum range for the Cinefade effect?
There is no such thing as a ‘correct’ Cinefade effect, as it is a very subjective storytelling tool that depends on the narrative and motivation behind its use. Due to the novelty of the effect there is no right way of using a variable depth of field in film and therefore lends itself to experimentation.
However, it could be argued that a good Cinefade effect is one in which the depth of field noticeably changes so that the viewer perceives the effect either consciously (as many attentive filmmakers do) or subconsciously (as most movie-goers do).
In order to notice a change in depth of field, the speed also plays an important role. A depth of field change over the course of thirty seconds will be more subtle than a quick change over three seconds.
In our experience, a minimum 4-stop Cinefade over several seconds is required to make the effect visible and 5 or 6 stops are ideal.
Depth of field
It is also recommended to transition from a sharp background to a blurry background (Example: Trust Me TV drama), rather than from a blurry background to a more blurry background (Example: Food Pack shot).
A transition from a T22 to T4 can be more noticeable than a transition from T8 to T1.4.
Timing and Sound
The timing and placement of the effect in the narrative and the addition of music and sound effects, as well as good subtle acting make the effect more noticeable, like for example in the scene from The Commuter (2018), which is a 4-stop Cinefade from T5.6 to T1.4 by DP Paul Cameron.
Background and movement
A deep background, camera movement and occlusion as well as many other factors can contribute in making the effect more visible, if that it the intention.
We encourage you to experiment with the Cinefade and would love to hear from you with any ideas you may have and hope to be able to offer our support.