Film Language Tag: rack focus

1. The technique of shifting the lens focus from a foreground subject to a background subject, or vice versa, while the camera is running. This technique draws attention to the second subject. For this effect to work, the distance between the two subjects must be greater than the lens’ depth of field, so a rack focus generally requires a shallow depth of field. This is accomplished by using a wide aperture or a long lens. Simply adjusting the camera's focus to accommodate a moving subject is not a rack focus. 2. The visual effect of a rack focus or a shot that contains a rack focus. [Attributed to American film director Richard Rush.] [Also select focus; shift focus; split-focus shot] Kroon, R. W. A/V a to z: An encyclopedic dictionary of media, entertainment and other Audiovisual terms. McFarland, 2014.


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