Depth of Field

Viewing 4 reply threads
  • Author
    • #37100

      I have a Sony DSR PD170 and want to be able to create a video where the foreground is in focus and the background is out of focus and vice versa. Can someone explain the settings I need to accomplish such? I have seen examples of weddings where they used this technique and really like the affect.
      Thank You

    • #164455


      Needs to be average light enrironment, as opposed to super well lit. Technique should also work with lower light. In super well lit situation (e.g., in a TV studio for live broadcast), camera will want to have a smaller aperture, which yields wider depth of field/focus, which is working against what you want to do.

      Try this:

      Camera in manual mode. (What resembles somewhat a small version of a standard electrical wall switch on back of camera, upper left, should be in middle position.)

      Place camera in maximum aperture/iris position. (Button and rotator wheel on left side of camera, in the camera ready for shooting position, marked iris. Press button and move rotator wheel until you see the smallest number in viewfinder or LCD. Smallest number indicates camera is in largest aperture position.)

      Just ahead of the iris controls are the manual focus controls. Place switch in manual position. (Focus switch in middle position. At this point widest rubber covered ring on barrel of lens will control focus.)

      What you focus on manually will be in focus, foreground or background, everything else will softly be going out of focus; the greater the distance between focus subject and non focus subject, the more obvious. Works best if foreground subject is 3-10 feet in front of camera.

      If you practice with the rubber focus ring, you will smoothly be able to focus on what you want as the camera is rolling/shooting.

      REGARDS … TOM 8)

    • #164456

      Thanks Tom 😀

    • #164457


      Using longer lenses augments the effect greatly too. (ie: zooming in)

      Also, if your camera has a built in ND filter, you can use it to open up the iris in brighter situations.
      If it doesn’t have an ND filter, you can buy one that attaches to the lens.
      And last but not least, you can always speed up the shutter speed to counter-act the wider iris. (Though it may produce slightly choppier video)

      I love having a narrower depth of field. It looks so much more cinematic.

    • #164458


      Very good point about the zoom-in factor Spencer. In wide angle or "normal" with the PD170 or any cam, you will maximize depth of field. In max zoom position (front part of zoom rocker on top of camera, also on handle, pushed down all the way on PD170), the depth of field will be compressed for the effect that you want. If focussed past about 30-40 feet or so, however, everything will be in focus from that point up to "infinity."

      The PD170 has two ND positions. If you are in manual iris/aperture, I think that use of will just make the shot darker (less exposed) or slow the shutter speed; don’t think it will effect depth of field. If you are in auto exposure, where the default would be 60th shutter speed and whatever aperture, use of the ND options would open the aperture/iris and narrow depth of field. Would be quicker by a tad to do this compared to ticking the iris wheel up and down in manual exposure. Check this procedure out j’rome; may be what you are looking for.

      Didn’t even want to get into manually using faster shutter speeds as a way to achieve widest aperture/iris. Don’t like that choppy look for most subjects. (Cool for shooting rain, water droplets in fountains, and such though.)

      Happy Shooting!

      REGARDS … TOM 8)

Viewing 4 reply threads
  • The forum ‘Miscellaneous Techniques’ is closed to new topics and replies.


Panasonic LUMIX GH5s w/ Leica lens

Given away to one lucky winner

Competition is open worldwide