The variable depth of field system available through ARRI Rental UK

By varying the depth of field in a single motion picture shot at constant exposure, Cinefade allows the gradual transition between a sharp and a blurry background while keeping the foreground in focus.

Depth of field is a powerful cinematic storytelling device. In the past, cinematographers have been limited to choosing either a shallow or a deep depth of field that stays consistent throughout the shot. Cinefade provides the opportunity to explore the creative potential of a variable depth of field. Fading from a sharp background to a blurry background could, for example, be used to communicate a shift in a protagonist's emotional state in a narrative or guide the viewer’s eyes to focus on a product in a commercial.

Cinefade produces an in-camera effect by using a custom cmotion lens control system to vary iris diameter and manipulate depth of field. A custom-built variable ND filter sits inside a matte box and keeps exposure constant by slaving the filter motor to the iris motor.

The Cinefade system works with any digital or film camera and cine lens, is quick and easy to set up, simple to operate and allows for a range of up to 5 T-stops.

How Cinefade works


1 Custom lens control system changes iris diameter. 


2 Custom light filter keeps exposure constant. 


Depth of field change blurs the background

Depth of field is manipulated by increasing or decreasing the diameter of the lens' iris. When the lens is focused on a foreground subject, the background will become blurry and go out of focus, or vice versa, become sharp.

However, by opening or closing the aperture more or less light hits the camera's digital sensor or film, affecting exposure.

A variable ND filter keeps the exposure constant

There are various ways of compensating for the change in exposure caused by a varying aperture size. Shutter speed and ISO sensitivity could be slaved to the iris but these methods cause distracting motion blur and sensor noise and cannot be employed over a wide variety of different camera systems.

Cinefade uses a variable ND filter that sits inside a matte box in front of the camera lens and is slaved to the iris. This solution is compatible with any digital and film camera system and cinema lens.

Full Cinefade set up

The custom filter tray fits inside a matte box and is connected to the custom cmotion lens control system. The system will work with any digital and film camera and cinema lens with a manual aperture and geared ring.

The Cinefade system includes:

  • Custom cmotion cvolution LCS system with motors, camin, hand unit etc.
  • Cinefade's geared filter tray with Schneider Optics circular polariser and motor-mount
  • Schneider Optics circular polariser
  • TLS Raven matte box with three stage

For booking enquiries or to arrange a demonstration, call 01895 457100