Cinematography & Cameras

How to get blurry background in video-best Lens and camera settings for shallow depth of field

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Blurry background, shallow depth of field, out of focus background, bokeh or whatever you want to call it is a great way to show production value in your video.

So if you want to achieve that blurry background look in your videos, in YouTube or anywhere else, this video will talk you through camera settings, including F stop setting, lens options and ISO options to get that look. I’ll be using Canon cameras, but this will work with any DSLR or professional video camera.
Follow the same process with your gear and you will get the same results.

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Today, I want to walk you through how you set up a shot with a shallow background meaning the background behind me is out of focus so I want to walk you through how you do that and I’m going to show you the equipment that I’m using to achieve that what kind of lenses.

I’m using we’re going to walk you through the f-Stop setting the camera settings to achieve this kind of depth of field and I’m going to show you how to do it even more shallow than this with some objects .

So I’ve set up this shot here with some lenses and some cameras.  This is just going to show you how I could just rank the depth of field from the foreground to the background. So right now my focus is in the foreground see if I just go deep in the focus time in the second lens the third Lens cameras, and then if I go way back to the C stand and the wall there, and then I’ll come back all the way.

So I’m just playing with the focus here And I’m placing it right here in my foreground object now the way to achieve. This is all with the f-stop and the focal length of your lens, so I’m actually using a wider lens here, I’m using a 35 millimeter but my f stops at A 2.8 which gives me this kind of a shallow background now let me show you how you could do the opposite and have everything that you want in focus so in my camera setting right now.

I’m just going to go ahead and change the f-stop from 2.8 and close down all the way to like in it F/8. This is an F/8 right here, so to compensate, I’m just going to bring up my iso, so I’m just going to go up on the iso to Iso 5.

Obviously, I don’t have enough light here, so I’ll have to use iso 64 if I want to be at F/8, I’m indoors, but if you were outdoors, you could kind of do this, you still are a bit shallow

So my rack from the foreground to the background is not as big as it was but this is at an F8, so if we were outside. You could basically be a F-22 and then just about everything is going to be in focused. So that’s the that’s not the effect that we’re going for here though here.

We’re trying to get everything out of focus in the background. I have the foreground in focus, so to do that

again, I’ll go back to I’ll bring the iso back to And now the depth of field is significantly different than what it was when I was at a F/8 So that’s the best way to get your background out of focus is by using lenses that give you the ability

to basically open up as much as you can now these prime lenses are the best way to do that because

they open up to a I’m using you’re able to basically get a very wide

aperture in this case the aperture is So now very very very shallow and I could compensate again

by going down to Iso 400 so now almost nothing’s in focus

It’s really hard to get this foreground objects in focus and my depth of field is super shallow

So now my rack is going to take a really long time to get to the background

and all the way to the foreground so I don’t really never I never tried to shoot wide open like this because

It’s just too distracting so really 2.8. Is it’s kind of a sweet spot to get this kind of look

I’ll go back on my iso So basically you’re swapping out your f-stop and your iso to get the perfect exposure

The more Wide-open you are with your f-Stop

The shallower the background the more you close down approaching F-16 for example

You’re starting to get everything in focus now That’s with this lens, so your other option to getting a depth of field that shallow is to use a much longer lens So the prime lenses I was showing you like the 35 millimeter on the camera with 50 here

are basically going to give you the shallow Depth-of-field because they’re able to open up to an aperture like a 1/5 or

F/2 but With a longer lens even though this lens is a 2.8, and it’s not going to open up to a 1.5

you’re going to be able to get the shallow depth of field because you could zoom in so at A

Millimeter zoom for example your background is going to be so out of focus even if you are at a 5 6 or f/8

so you don’t have to be at a 2.8 at So if I was just moving a little bit even here, it’s starting to go a little bit out of focus

And I’m on a 35 millimeter lens so with a 200 millimeter lens

At a to 8 it’s going to be nearly impossible to keep focused even if you’re doing an interview like this and your subject is Moving a little bit just with their natural movement of talking I

Recommend that with a longer lens you stay at maybe a 100 millimeter

And you’re at like a f/4 and that’s going to give you a really nice background really nice fall off. So just to recap The way you get the depth of field to be shallow like you see behind me or the one you saw in the sample with the lenses is by using lenses that allow you to

Open up the aperture as much as possible

So some of the cheap lenses that you might find are not going to give you that ability?

Because those lenses are going to start at like at F56

And it’s going to be a lot harder to be able to get that kind of shallow background. So if you really want that effect prime lenses are basically The easiest way and the best option and the 50 millimeter this one the Rokinon 50 millimeter is one of my favorites it opens up To a 1/5 the focal length is 50 millimeters, so it’s a little bit tighter And it allows you to do really nice interviews like this

and it allows you to do really nice tabletop stuff like the ones I have set off with the lenses and

The other option is to use a longer length. This is a very versatile lens

It’s a great photography lens, but we use it for video a good amount and again. It’s a good

interview lens for Getting a Shallow Depth-of-field like at 100 millimeter at F/4

So between using the 50 millimeter and having that basically at 2 8 and

Using this longer lens at a 100 millimeter at F/4

Those are my favorite two settings to getting a shallow depth of field for either tabletop shots or interview shots now keep in mind use your iso to compensate, so if you’re at 100 millimeter at A F/4 for example Just make sure that your iso is in the range to get a good exposure From that shot because you can’t just be in a place where you just open up to an F28 and you roll because it might be overexposed because you have too much light, so you could also use your nD filter a lot of times where I’m outside. It’s impossible to shoot at F28 there’s way too much light even if my iso is as low as possible even if my iso is that

For example the C300 here has a nD filter built into it that you could just roll on and most cameras have that DSLRs don’t have that so you’ll have to buy a screw-on

ND filter that just screws on on your lens if you’re planning on shooting outside and getting that depth of field It’s a little bit more difficult, but it’s achievable with nD filter and adjusting your iso now if you’re indoor And you’re trying to shoot at a to 8 it’s going to be a lot easier and make sure then you

Compensate still with your iso now if you have any questions, please leave me a comment in this section

And I’m going to include some links in the description for some of the lenses that I showed you here

So the 50mm mu is actually a very affordable lens again. This is a canon mount I was using a canon camera

That’s the canon camera. I’m shooting on a C300 one of these C 300s here and

You could buy them in different mounts if you have a sony I have a sony FS7 there

And you could buy them in sony mount too

So these are the canon L lenses that I’ve had for a long time, and they allow me to get that depth of field

Just really because of their zoom range, so some of are you no?

I hope this was helpful, please leave us a comment

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That will be posted every Monday with tips and tricks

just like this one, and if you have any questions, and if you want to see something that

Maybe you can’t find a good video about please let me know in the comment section, and I’ll try to get around to it previously.

We haven’t done much training videos But I get emails all the time about making videos with content on how to make things look cinematic. So I’m just going to make sure every week I have something on different camera setups different interview setups different filmmaking tips and Different software editing software tips and things like that so stay tuned and thanks for watching.

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