Key West Video Logo


Key West Video Announced as a 2022 National and Local Excellence Award Winner by UpCity!

Creating depth in a  two-dimensional video is just an illusion. But it’s an important illusion. It adds production value and makes video pop. In this blog, we’ll talk about how to achieve the appropriate depth of field for your project.

What is Depth of Field?

depth of field in video
This portrait uses a shallow focus

Depth of field (DOF) is a term used to describe how much of your shot is in focus, front to back. An image with a narrow depth of field, or shallow focus, will have a sharp focus on a particular object and the background and foreground will be blurry. This would be used for portraits in still photography or interviews in video. It can keep a background from being distracting and direct the viewer’s attention to the object in focus.

If an image has a wide DOF, or deep focus, all objects from foreground to background are crisp and clear. This is often used for landscape photography or to shoot an impressive vista. It could also be used for an interview where the background contributes to the overall look or subject matter. The video below does a good job of explaining DOF.

Contributing Factors

Focal length tells us the angle of the view, or how much of a scene will be captured. It also dictates how large individual elements in the shot will appear. DOF is greater at short focal lengths and shallower at longer focal lengths. So a longer focal length means a narrower angle of view and higher magnification. A shorter focal length produces a wider angle of view and lower magnification. Focal length is a description of a photographic lens expressed as 18mm, 24mm, 35mm and so on.

depth of field in video
An aperture appears in the iconic James Bond opens

The aperture is the hole in the camera lens that lets in light. The aperture affects exposure, or the brightness, of your image. For situations with ample light, you want to close down the aperture. For darker settings, you want to open up the aperture. DOF is greater at smaller apertures and shallower at larger apertures. Aperture is expressed as an f-stop denoted as an F and a number: F8, f/2.0, etc. The higher the f-stop, the smaller the aperture.

Depth refers to the distance between foreground, medium ground and background elements. When there is less distance between the elements, it’s easier to achieve deep focus. Images with far apart elements make deep focus a challenge.

Shooting distance affects depth of field. The further the camera is from the subject, the larger the DOF. The nearer the camera to the subject, the shallower the DOF. Remembering this can also help you quickly change the DOF in your shot just by moving your camera or the subject.

Other factors affecting DOF include lighting conditions, camera filters, shutter speed, gain and zoom.

Focussed Video

At Key West Video, we know the technical side of video and we also know how to connect with your audience. Call us today for a free quote and let’s talk about how video can boost your business.

Related Posts

Request a Quote