#storyf19 depth of field assignment

Assignment Overview

The goal of this assignment is for you to hone your photography and video skills while also considering how depth of field helps tell a story about an individual human subject.

The assignment is informed by the following Course Objectives:

Objective 1: Storytelling
Students will understand the principles and practices of effective storytelling and be able to create media objects that effectively apply storytelling principles and techniques for desired rhetorical, aesthetic, and communication goals.

Objective 4: Risk-taking
Students will know what it feels like to step out of their comfort zones and take risks with their approaches to and understanding of the course activities and other course objectives.

Objective 5: Reflection
Students will develop their understanding of the important role of reflection during the reading and communication process.

Assignment Specifics

For this assignment, I’d like you to take a series of photos and videos that will help you think about the importance of depth of field for telling visual stories. To complete the project, please follow the following steps:

  1. Find 1 human volunteer to be photographed and videoed (the person can be in class).
    1. Prior sections have found that completing this in pairs or groups will save time and will allow to share gear.
  2. Find a bright location outside — do not complete inside — to take the photos and record the videos.
  3. Place the camera on a tripod — the project cannot be completed without a tripod.
  4. Put the camera with 50mm prime lens on manual focus and select Aperture mode.
  5. Place your subject in one spot and frame their face.
  6. Once framed, make sure they do not move. Focus on their eyes.
  7. Take a series of eight photographs, one photo at each of the following f-stops:
    • 1.8, 2.0, 4.0, 5.6, 8.0, 11, 16, 22
  8. Record a series of eight 30 second videos in which you ask the subject to say a short phrase that describes them at the following f-stops:
    • 1.8, 2.0, 4.0, 5.6, 8.0, 11, 16, 22
    • the phrase should be the same for each video


The photographs must be made using one of the following equipment available in the Gear Room:

If all of the prime lenses are checked out or reserved, you may use the kit lens. But, set the lens to 50mm and do not change it throughout your process. You will not be able to get down to a 1.8 f-stop, so start with the lowest you can and go from there to f22.

If you have your own DSLR and 50mm prime lens, you may use that camera and set the lens to 50mm.

Read the A/V Gear Policy and reserve your gear well ahead of time, understanding that gear is limited.

Submission Info

You will receive an invitation to a GoogleDrive folder call “depth-of-field-study.” Once you have, please complete the following:

  • create a new folder titled with your last name
  • in that new folder, upload all of your photographs, with each file named for the f-stop depicted, such as “f1.8.jpg” or “f22.png.”
  • upload ONE video that contains each of your videos in order from f1.8 to f22; add titles to each clip naming the f-stop that it depicts (do not upload multiple small videos)
  • upload one document in which you briefly discuss which film and video f-stop you believe creates the most intimate story about your subject and why. No more than 100 words.

Due Dates

  • 10/16: Portraits due by class time
  • 10/18: Videos due by class time

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