Crisp subject, fuzzy background.

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    • #36823

      I know this is proabably a very easy question, but I have no idea how to do it.

      I know you have all seen it in movies. The main character is perfectly in focus, but behind him or her the entire scene is fuzzy and distant. How do they achieve that look?

    • #163544

      It all has to do with changing your "depth of field" (DOF).

      Click on the link below for it has a nice interactive tutorial that explains it very well.


    • #163545

      Excellent Video, that is about the best tutorial I have seen yet.

    • #163546


      Havent looked at the tutorial. Soooooo, off the top of my head.

      First off, this was a snap with still photography in the old days. Maximize the aperture (hole in the middle of the lens letting light through; smaller the number, bigger the aperture; confusing eh); and set the shutter speed so that the overall exposure is correct. Bigger the aperture (smaller the number), the narrower the depth of field/focus, i.e., the narrower the range of distance in front of your camera which is in focus; e.g., tiny aperture, from 7 ft to infinity in focus; large aperture, from 7 ft to 10 ft in focus.

      Hope you are still with me.

      1. With your video cam, do this on a cloudy/overcast/non-sunshiny day, or under a shadow casting woodsy canopy. Bright will make your cam want to have a tiny aperture for a maximum depth of focus from here to eternity.

      2. Have your subjects (what you want to be in sharp focus) in the near foreground, closer the better; 3 ft to 7 ft should work.

      3. Focus MANUALLY. Incredibly, the above should work with the cam in AUTOMATIC EXPOSURE mode (i.e., shutter speed plus aperture opening; normal shutter speed automatically set by cam is usually 1/60th; on a dull day this should result automatically in a large aperture ).

      4. This is a situation where a field monitor (not just your cams LCD) is almost indispensable to see precisely the result of your camera setting.

      5. In the event automatic exposure doesnt cut it, set your shutter speed manually as fast as needed in order for the camera to adjust the aperture to the widest position. For really fast shutter speeds (e.g., 1/500 or faster), if you are shooting motion, you may see some odd looking effects. (If you dont have a monitor on the scene, you might not notice them until later.) Your cam may allow for direct manual setting of shutter speed or aperture/iris or both. Whatever. The main thing is to maximize the opening.

      REGARDS … TOM 8)

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