Blurring out background – Tele setting

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    • #51267

      I have a Sony HandyCam CX160 and I'm looking to shoot a 20/20 style interview, in which the background is blurred out.


      Alright so here's what I need help with:

      How do you actually use Tele-Macro on CX160?

      I don't know how to select a subject. Again, it will be just a guy sitting down. But every time I click ON for telemacro it just zooms in so much that I can't do anything. And when I try to zoom out, it just cancels the tele macro.

      I need help. Any suggestions?

    • #204478

      Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the point of a macro is to capture small objects at great magnifications. To this end, some cameras (like your Sony) will zoom in to their maximum length, in order to magnify smaller objects. You should try zooming in manually, without the tele-macro feature. Small chip cameras will have a difficult time pulling off shallow DOF shots (especially indoors), so I'm not sure you'll be happy with the results regardless.

    • #204480
      Luis Maymi Lopez

      I'm afraid you will have a tough time getting a depth of field with your camera. To get good DOF you need a large lens, such as the ones uses by DLSR. Still you can try to step back a few feets from the subject and zoom in almost all the way. Then you adjust the focus until you get some DOF. Again this make not work perfectly with your camera, but it's worth a try. 

    • #204481

      move back as far as possible and zoom in with your telephoto setting on the lens.
      if needed you can either dim the lighting or add a nd filter or cp filter and that should force the camera to open to the widest aperture on the lens …. the combination of telephoto lens and wide aperture will give you the shallowes dof effect possible on your camera…

    • #204489

      Take a look at for a quick but illuminating discussion of DOF and how to (try to) control it.


      One of the easiest means of controling the appearance of DOF in an interview is to keep light off the background, thereby pushing the subject into the foreground.


      An Australian DP I read about used this trick in a tight situation: he had to shoot a talking head at an outdoor stadium. The client wanted us to be aware of the stadium but didn't want it to take focus. The DP brought in a big piece of fine mesh netting, the plastic kind used for window and door screens and hung that, stretched tight, behind the talent. This effectively grayed out and softened the background, making it appear to be outside the DOF.


      I'm not sure why you feel you have to "blur out" the background, however. Why not pproject some kind of soft pattern on the blank wall and shoot the talent in front of that? We often use a small Venitian blind, hung low on a "C" stand and off camera, with a light shining through it to cast soft shadows on a wall, or cut random patterns in a sheet of foam core and throw soft-focus light from a Fresnel through it to the wall. You can put color media in the holes (gel) or in front of the light to achieve lots of interesting background effects. With the intensity of the light kept low, these patterns break up the wall surface and creat the illusion of DOF.


      DP Walter Graff has an excellent discussion at, with photo illustrations of lighting backgrounds. His website is an really excellent source of information about the techniques and technology of our art and craft ( Be sure to look at the "Instruction" section.



    • #204495

      Kriller, I don't have the same model of Sony videocamera as you have but I have two models that appear to have the same type for features as yours. When you click on the macro-zoom, your camera will zoom in and focus on what is in the center of your screen. If this is too zoomed and only shows the center of your subject, you must move your camcorder back until you have the entire subject in your viewfinder. When you are tight (close to) on the subject, you will notice that not very far behind the subject will be out of focus. This means that you have a shallow depth-of-field. I believe this is what you are looking for. But as you move your camcorder back to give a wider field to get your entire subject in the frame, your dof will become less shallow. you will have to experiment with your actual shooting situation to see if this will work for you. Keep shooting. 

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