Variable depth of field effect in Huawei P10 commercial

Still of the Cinefade variable depth of field effect on Huawei P10 commercial

Modern smartphones such as the iPhone X and Huawei P10 have dual camera technology that allow users to create photographs with an (adjustable) depth of field effect, where the background is blurred, emulating the shallow depth of field look achieved with professional large sensor cameras.

Read more  about how dual camera technology works.

Read more about how dual camera technology works.

DP David Procter was tasked with showing off this feature in a commercial by The Mill for client Huawei

I wanted to show the depth of field effect happening in real time. Luckily I had met Oliver Janesh Christiansen of Cinefade just weeks earlier at the Camerimage Festival in Poland, who have the only system that can vary depth of field in one shot at constant exposure. Cinefade was the perfect solution to the problem I was facing.
— DP David Procter
DP David Procter

David wanted to gradually transition from a deep depth of field to a shallow depth of field in one shot to blur the background and isolate the foreground subject. This draws attention to the depth of field effect and communicates to consumers the capabilities of the P10 phone and the artistic value that the feature offers.



Shot by David Procter 



Production company The Mill from the UK organised the week-long shoot in Ukraine and hired a system directly from Cinefade in London. The system includes a custom three-motor cmotion cvolution system with hand unit and receiver, custom FilterTray and accessories. A User Manual was included so that the Ukraine-based ACs could follow the step-by-step guide to setup and operate the Cinefade system.

Motorised ND filter sits inside matte box
Cinefade system inside Pelicase
Cinefade FilterTray, lens motors and hand unit

David Procter used Cooke S5i lenses, shooting on an Arri camera. The planned shot involved an elaborate set build so that a crane could fly through an array of light bulbs, revealing a man in the foreground. The depth of field transitions from a deep to a shallow depth of field, as the phone is revealed, blurring the background and causing a nice bookeh effect with the light bulbs.

Huawei shoot BTS with Cinefade on Russian Arm

Cinefade is operated via a slider on the cmotion hand unit. After the crane is moved through the array of light bulbs and reveals the man in the foreground, the slider is operated at the desired speed to vary depth of field. 

A motor on the iris opens the aperture from T8 to T1.4, while a motor on the FilterTray rotates one of two polarisers, controlling the light transmission through the lens to ensure the exposure remains constant. The two motors are slaved together and are controlled by the custom cmotion system.

The phone, the black and white effect and the speed ramp are added in post production. No post production is applied to achieve the Cinefade effect or to keep the exposure constant.

Cinefade Huawei split screen

The variable depth of field system is available for rental-only in the UK, directly from Cinefade or through Arri Rental in London and through Keslow Camera in Los Angeles. Please feel free to get in touch with Founder Oliver Janesh Christiansen for more information.

Oliver Janesh Christiansen at Cinefade

+44 (0) 77 8993 0557