How to use split diopters to enhance your storytelling

Published by bizprat on

Harness the power of split focus cinematography with the CinePacks split filter, the world’s first portable split diopter set.

There may not be a shot in the annals of film history more memorable than these split-diopter shots from movie classics like Citizen Kane, jaw, or cellulose fiction.

You know the ones I’m talking about, these shots that seem to do the impossible by focusing on two different subjects that our minds subconsciously know are too far apart to see both clearly.

And while this technique can be traced back to the early days of cinema, unlike many other cinematographic techniques, it is still very difficult to implement. Traditionally, split diopters have been expensive, difficult to use, and difficult to use for inexperienced filmmakers.

But thanks to an innovative breakthrough with the world’s first portable split rear sight from CinePacks, that has all changed.

Let’s take a fresh look at the world of split focus cinematography to find out how you can use split diopters to enhance your visual storytelling.

What is split diopter?

Before we dive into how to use split diopter in your movie and video projects, let’s first examine what split diopter is and what it does.

Put simply, a split diopter is a technical tool that filmmakers use to create deep focus. And depth of field itself is just another term used to explain a phenomenon of depth of field – more precisely, how filmmakers create a great depth of field that can simultaneously show areas of the foreground, midground and / or background all in focus.

Traditionally, split diopter is a semi-convex glass filter that is attached to the main lens of a camera to “split” the focus in half. These split diopter lenses are obviously difficult to make and can be quite difficult to find outside of large budget commercial projects.

However, the style and look itself have become popular over the years from classic cinema to American new wave directors like Brian De Palma and Robert Wise to modern day filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese.

In recent years, however, new technological innovations (such as the CinePacks split filter) have made the style more affordable and popular in contemporary projects ranging from music videos to short films to corporate and wedding recordings.

Use split diopter for your projects

So now the question arises, how do you get a split diopter like that CinePacks split filter for your own films and projects? Well, as you can see in the great video above Anamorphic on a budget, it can actually be very simple.

That CinePacks split filter is a great option that is much cheaper than traditional split diopter lens filters, and you can actually use it in more innovative and creative ways.

With CinePacks you also have the option of working with three different split diopters that differ in strength and focus.

  • Split 1: Provides a subtle blur for those using longer lenses
  • Split 2: Very versatile, offers the popular ghost blur effect and works with most focal lengths
  • Split 3: Best for bold, heavily stylized, heavily distorted looks

You can use these different split strengths for a variety of uses, from cinematic distortion and bokeh to traditional, iconic split focus shots, based on the strength that’s appropriate for your focus distances.

Assembly of a split diopter filter

As you can see above, you also have the option of your CinePacks split filter straight to your camera cage or rig to keep your focus constant.

CinePacks offers a 11 inch mounting armwhich is the perfect length for using the filters on any camera. Simply attach the bracket to the underside of your mirrorless or DSLR or to one of the ¼ 20-inch mounting points on your camera cage for your cinema cameras.

However, while montage is probably your best bet for creating those smooth split-focus and deep-focus shots with the CinePacks split filter You are also no longer limited to this static approach …

Split diopter holder

Credit: CinePacks

Get creative and go handheld

For any music video director or other creative cinematographer, the real appeal of using a lightweight split diopter like this is CinePacks split filter will be the flexibility it offers.

With its easy-to-hold finger loop handle, you are really free to choose how you want to explore and create those deep focus splits in your cinematography. The possibilities are endless as you can use the split either right in the center of the frame or on the side or any degree you want. (For a cool bonus look, you can try moving or rotating the split filter around the lens while shooting – trust us, it looks awesome!)

this CinePacks split filter Really unlocks all sorts of cool bokeh effects and other creative visuals that tons of post-production tools or effects are difficult to create.

CinePacks split diopters

Credit: CinePacks

Prices and availability

If you have the CinePacks split filter, you’re in luck as they are currently offering a special discount for No Film School readers of 15% on split filters with promo code “NOFILMSCHOOL15“at checkout.

Show us how to use these great tools!

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