What is the ideal focal length to use with 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 depth of the scene plays a vital role. Long focal lengths compress the field of view and even at small apertures the perceived depth of field is not as deep as with wider focal lengths.

If the focal length is too wide however, it can be difficult to achieve a shallow depth of field unless you’re at the minimal focal distance.

In our experience focal lengths between 29mm and 50mm produce the best results for medium close up shots, such as for example in the scene below, which was shot with a 29mm Leica Summilux-C T1.4 lens.

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.