So let me start off by saying that I really liked this video - it's well shot, well edited, and I thought the visual effects (the large flares, the crops, etc.) were subtle and well implemented.
But videos that are of this (quite good) quality - like Social Paintball's, Tuf's, Samyr's, etc. - always make me wonder: what's the difference between these videos and Cassidy from HK's? His videos are extraordinarily cinematic and, as far as I know, up until recently he was still shooting on Canon DSLRs. So what gives him that extra little umph
? Always been curious, and I think I finally figured it out:
Most of the paintball videos that are of above-amateur quality seem to stick to a focal range of between 35 - 85 mm, probably because those lenses give you the best cost-performance benefit, and because for people shooting on a crop sensor camera it's difficult to get below a 20mm equivalent focal distance without spending $500+ (more than the cost of most APS-C sensor cameras). What this means is that we never see shots that go super wide, and we also don't really see any shots done at 100mm and up. For example, in this video, this is about as wide as we get for a single subject action shot:
For comparison, here's Cassidy:
Cassidy from a similar angle:
I think it's nice to intersperse some of the mid-close 50mm footage with some footage from either extreme, either super wide:
or close but carefully framed:
The other thing I notice is that in pursuit of that super shallow depth of field, people frequently lose and then re-acquire focus mid-clip. I think this not only exposes some technical limitations with shooting action videography on large sensor DSLR's, but also some conceptual inconsistencies with how we shoot paintball footage. For close-up portrait-style shots, I think shallow DOF and good background separation work really well, up until the point you lose focus, at which point it becomes jarring and establishes dissonance between the viewer and the video. The problem with paintball is that everything on the field - the players, the paintballs, the flow of the action - is erratic. You can't rely on someone to stay within that thin margin of focus for long enough to create an impactful shot. Sometimes it happens, but more often than not you capture a great moment with a subject who is moving back and forth between blurry and razor sharp.
Where trying to hit that super shallow DOF doesn't really make any sense to me is with shots where you're trying to show action or context or purpose. Say you've got one player ten feet in front of you in the snake, and another 30 feet down field shooting at him, and in between a few dozen small projectiles at varying heights and distances. Wouldn't it be more exciting to have both players in focus? Isn't that not only easier but more visually stimulating?
All of this said, I really enjoyed this video and am eager to see the next one. Thanks for putting in time and effort to make it!