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-   -   Can anyone suggest some ways to create BOKEH/shallow Depth of Field with the HDR-FX1? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/general-hd-720-1080-acquisition/41612-can-anyone-suggest-some-ways-create-bokeh-shallow-depth-field-hdr-fx1.html)

Brent Marks March 22nd, 2005 02:52 PM

Can anyone suggest some ways to create BOKEH/shallow Depth of Field with the HDR-FX1?
Can anyone suggest some ways to create BOKEH/shallow Depth of Field with the HDR-FX1?

Chris Leong March 22nd, 2005 05:14 PM

If you're talking about closeups or headshots, then there's a few things you have to be aware of.
DOF/bokeh is dependent on focal length, iris, distance to subject from camera, distance to background from subject. And negative size/sensor size.
In our case, the CCDs are so small when compared with even a 35mm 8 perf negative's area that not only are all the lenses "longer" than on 35mm (i.e. a 35mm lens, while being a wide angle lens in 35mm stills photography, since it's less than the 43mm diagonal of the 43x86mm negative area, would be a mid telephoto lens on a 1/3" CCD camera.)
So no matter what we do, we're going to end up with a lot more DOF than we're used to in stills.

Therefore: a) go far back
b) shoot as long as you can
c) open as wide as you can (use NDs etc)
d) put the background as far away behind the subject as you can

and e) cheat.

There are three major cheats I can think of:

1) use a 6ftx6ft, finely milled screen on a stand behind the subject (and out of focus) to throw the background really out of focus (kits sold somewhere for this, I believe - EDIT - Check Barry's post lower down for this kit);

2) use a closeup +1 or +0.5 lens to bring the subject up closer to the long end of your zoom;

3) use a mini35 or micro35 adaptor, which basically uses a 35mm lens mount and projects an image onto a moving ground glass, which image is then captures by your camcorder in macro mode. mini35.com and micro35.com for that info.


Xander Christ March 22nd, 2005 06:50 PM

I just shot a short film using the FX1 and surprise, surprise, there was no way to get a shallow depth-of-field on this camera using standard video techniques.

Shooting as far tele as a could which equated to 60' from the actors to get the composition I wanted, the background trees and houses were still in fairly sharp focus. I used the widest aperture (f/2.2 - I think) and used neutral density filters to compensate for exposure. Still everything was in sharp focus. I just gave up on depth-of-field using this camera.

The JVC JY-H10U has nice depth-of-field (true 30p is nice too), but too much chroma noise to be usable for my application.

The best DOF on any camcorder (with an attached lens) is on Canon's Optura XI.

Pick your poison.

Can't wait to see what happens at NAB2005.

Chris Leong March 22nd, 2005 06:53 PM

Next time, try my cheat 2) above - a closeup filter - a set of +1 +2 +4 +8 goes for less than $80 on ebay. That way your people won't have to be 60ft away from you, and you'll add 50ft between them and the background, which is what you want.

Brent Marks March 22nd, 2005 09:13 PM


Can you point to an ebay web link to this closeup filter/lense?

Chris Leong March 22nd, 2005 09:33 PM

Sure thing:


don't forget that the above should be on one line. If this message board wraps the link into two or three parts you'll have to copy them all and paste them into your URL window so it's all in one piece.


Brent Marks March 22nd, 2005 09:41 PM

Thanks for taking your time to post that Chris...

I appreciate it...

Chris Leong March 22nd, 2005 09:43 PM

You're welcome.
Oops. Hope the FX1 takes 72mm filters!
I think it does (my DVX100 does). Otherwise simply find out what front filter diameter your lens does take and ebay search that.
Since you're experienting, don't get the expensive ones until you're sure which ones you'll end up using most.

Jeff Patnaude March 23rd, 2005 10:13 AM

Well, I haven't tried this on DV or HDV, but it works on BetaSP.

I just shot a number of interviews/headshots indoors and outdoors.
I adjusted the iris wide open, then dialed in shutter until the zebras diminished to the point where I had only about a stop or so adjustment from wide open.
Wound up with 1/250 shutter.
Headshot with trees totally out of focus. Indoor shoot- background soft and out of focus.

Jeff Patnaude

Chris Leong March 23rd, 2005 10:47 AM

Very nice effect!

Brent Marks March 23rd, 2005 10:54 AM


Did you just try it or something?

Chris Leong March 23rd, 2005 11:22 AM

No, but I can see what it would be.

Open the iris as far as you can, use the adjustable shutter to compensate for exposure.

Watch for the Saviing Private Ryan effect, though, especially when shooting 24p and extremely high shutter speeds.

Better, shoot at 60i to avoid the stutter - all this requires more light, which means the iris has to be open more, i.e. less DOF, which is what we want.

Also, don't forget that your typical DOF pattern extends from about one third in front of the subject/focus point to around two thirds behind it, which means that in order for the BG to really be out of focus you have to put it at around 4x the distance between the camera and the subject. I usually set it as far back as I can, and have the iris around a stop from WO, which is where the lens performs well too.

And, as with most things, it's possible to overdo it. I cam remember shooting a 16mm film with an adapted Nikkon 85/1.4 lens shot WFO - and came back with the person's eyelashes and end of the top lip in focus, weaving back to the eartips as the person leaned forwards and backwards as they were talking. A most interesting shot, certainly plenty of bokeh, but not exactly what I had in mind...

Barry Green March 23rd, 2005 01:32 PM

That'll work with BetaSP because all BetaSP cameras (except the UVW100, and any other 1/2" models I can't think of) were 2/3" cameras, with their correspondingly longer telephoto lenses.

Won't work nearly as well with a 1/3" camera and its shorter lens. The FX1/Z1 have a maximum telephoto of 54mm.

Using the shutter speed is just a way to get the iris more open, because the iris controls DOF. But using the shutter speed to do so can introduce motion artifacts (such as the 'SPR' effect); it's better to use neutral density filters to compensate for exposure and get the iris more open.

The previous poster had it correct: zoom in as far as you can, get as close as you can, open up the iris as much as you can, and get the subject as far away from the background as possible.

Or, in tight quarters, use a mild close-up diopter lens (like a 1.5 or so) to let you zoom in while getting closer to your subject. The closer you get, the shallower the DOF becomes, but the drawback here is that the closer you get, the more exaggerated your subject's nose will become in the shot.

Chris Leong March 23rd, 2005 02:45 PM

Thus quoth The Man.
Way to go, Barry

ps/wasn't it you who sells the background screen?

Barry Green March 23rd, 2005 04:05 PM

I developed it, but I sold the product line to a company at http://indietoolbox.com

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