ExCap Project 3: Computational Focus Blur

Inspirations —

Focus Blur used on Fireworks

My partner and I were very interested in creating a tool for computationally controlling the focus of a camera, so that we would be able to recreate this effect in vastly different situations.

First Iterations —

Focus Ring Setup

Our first ideas had to do with a follow-focus rig. We 3D printed some parts that would fit onto our focus ring, and another gear that would be servo-controlled through Arduino. However, before we got a chance to truly assemble it, our professor informed us of some new cameras that could be controlled by Arduino.

Final Setup —

The different components of our rig.

For this setup, we had several items operating on the same timeline. At any given point, we were controlling the camera focus, robot arm position, and LED color.

Our OpenFrameworks Timeline UI

This user interface allowed me to operate many values in the same timeline. Being able to operate everything in tandem allows us to fine-tune micro events to occur exactly when we want them to.

Original footage vs. Modified Echo Effect

By varying the focus, we are able to achieve a greater dispersed light; this means dimmer light intensity and greater width.

Using Echo and Curves in After Effects

To get the effect of a streak that maintains its previous positions, I used the Echo effect in After Effects. This feature allows the video to copy and display a selected number of previous frames. I can change the blend mode, rate of echo dissipation, brightness.

Test Footage —

Final Footage —

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