When I'm shooting rap videos with my 70d, I wanna get a lot of bokeh within the shot.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Viantef, May 29, 2014.

  1. Viantef macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2013
    So Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 Art or Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art? It's an extra $150 for the prime 50, and they're already kinda expensive. ($800 & $950)

    I like the Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 because it'll be more versatile, in which I use it for a lot of street photography, filming weddings, etc.

    However, I wasn't sure if I shot like this would be achievable on a 35mm 1.8. I just love that bokeh


    Here's another shot, I just love this look. I plan to purchase the 70d & Sigma Lens in 2nd week of June, so any insight would be appreciated.


  2. Chad3eleven macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    I'm not a photo pro by any means, but I've shot video for years.. and at my old job we switched to 5Ds..

    Now.. I didnt shoot a lot but my coworker gave me some lessons regarding adjusting depth of fields..

    It has to to with f stop/aperture and shutter speed exposure.. now I forget what it is but basically a larger F stop (1.4 or 2.8) will give a shallow depth of field when compared to f16. With the same lens you can have a shallow depth of field (lots of bokeh) or the reverse.. with most of the frame in focus..

    When we shot interview type stuff, we used a long lens (200 mm) and tweaked the settings so the BG was out of focus..

    I'd read up more and camera settings and practice with what you have..


  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If you are after a shallow depth of field effect the 50mm prime lens will likely be the best option.

    Technically the zoom when set to 50mm will be the same as the 50mm prime but the depth of field is just the beginning. What many people care about is HOW the out of focal areas look. Is the blur smooth or is it filled with lines and haloes? Generally the primes give smoother results.

    Depthof field (DOF) os controlled by a combination of focal length, subject distance and f-stop. This is VERY basic. I'm surprised you would have such expensive gear and not know this. Maybe I miss understand the question.

    Normally the word "bokeh" is used to means the quality of the out of focus areas, the lack of halo and iris blade effects and a good even illumination.

    What yo should do is read-up on how to calculate "depth of field" then go shoot some still images

    Both those images to referenced where set up to show off this effect. Firs notice how far the main subject is from the background. This is #1.Then they were shot with a wide f-stop. Perhaps 1.8 or 2.0 Most of the time you'd have the camera set to "A" for aperture priority exposure or if shooting video maybe manual to prevent exposure changing during the shot.
  4. crenz macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2003
    Shanghai, China
    I've got a Canon 50mm f/1.4 and it gives a very nice bokeh. I would probably generally recommend the prime lens as well. An added benefit for the lens I have is that at f/1.8, it is super sharp with a nice bokeh - much sharper than zoom lenses. Check the reviews for the Sigma lens to see whether you will get the same benefit.
  5. Borntorun macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2011
    Perth, Australia
    You need to do a bit more research on depth of field and how it works. You seem to be able to afford expensive gear, you should be able to invest in a book such as photography for beginners, or like.

    One thing you should also remember is that, if you are going to shoot with the aperture wide open (1.4-1.8), depending on light conditions you will require a fast shutter speed. When doing video, you really don't want to go faster than 1/100s, and at f/1.4-1.8 will likely lead to overexposure.

    Get yourself a good set of neutral density filters to allow you to drop shutter speed to below 1/100.
  6. Mildredop macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2013
    Saying "I want bokeh in the shot" is like saying "I want lots of weather in the shot".

    Bokeh is the 'quality' of what is out of focus.

    I think what you mean is you want a shallow depth of field to push the background out of focus.

    You want a wide aperture and a long focal length. The large plane of 35mm will of course help a lot, too.

    If you really are talking about bokeh (the second of your attached images is an example of appalling bokeh) then you need the highest quality primes you can get your hands on and a good selection of NDs at the very least.
  7. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Just a short remark:

    I have the 70D and the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 lens. I also have the cheap (around $100) Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. The cheap Canon lens gives me much shallower depth of field (DOF, exactly what you want). There are three factors that will make your DOF shallower and blur out the background:

    1. A bigger sensor (e.g. full frame DSLRs, but you seem to be fixed on the 70D)
    2. A wider aperture (f/1.8 is pretty good, f/1.4 is even better)
    3. A longer focal length (18-35mm is not that great, 50mm is good, 70mm would be better, etc.)

    So: The Sigma 18-35mm is a brilliant lens. It is tack sharp even wide open and in the corners, and it is built like a tank. I love it and use it a lot. But: It will hardly give you a blurred background unless you are VERY close to your foreground subject (like just the face in the frame). If you want an image like the one you linked to, where the whole group is in the picture and the background is still blurred out, you will be better off buying something like the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 or the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 for that price.

    But I seriously recommend that you get the Canon 50mm f/1.8 first. It's very sharp in the center and if used wide open even has acceptable bokeh (meaning the quality of the blur! The amount of blur is no problem, that will be enough). It does get a little soft towards the edges, but that's not so bad if you are aiming for an MTV style music video, they tend to do that. It's the best bargain you will find, and it's not as big and heavy as the longer lenses.
  8. Viantef thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2013
    Thanks Man!

    I really appreciate that! I'm 17 and I was hesitant to save for a $800 lens I was unsure on.

    I've decided that for my setup, I'd go with the 70d because of it's great autofocus and relatively inexpensive price.


    Canon 50mm 1.4
    Canon 135mm f2 (Weddings) -- (Rented, till I can afford to buy)
    Tokina 11-16mm

    Any advice on starting to become a freelance videographer? You think I should do a lot of things for completely free in the beginning?
  9. floh, Jun 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014

    floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    I am not a professional, meaning I don't make money from videography, and I do it as a hobby besides my day job. So maybe someone else has to chip in for that? I think that you will need some practice in the beginning, so doing quite some weddings for free will not only help spread the word but also help you get better before you charge money for your services. But again, I'm not the best person to give advice on that.

    For your lens selection: These are all great lenses. In my opinion, you should definitely rent them for a few weeks (from a shop, of from a friend if you know someone) before you spend that much money!

    My thoughts are:

    1. The Canon 50mm f/1.4 is an amazing lens but very expensive. The f/1.8 as I said is a fairly good entry level lens that I still use even though it is the cheapest lens I have. So maybe compare the two before you invest.
    2. The Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 is awesome and I purchased it as well. It is however very, very wide (like 172° view at 11mm), and I see myself reaching for the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 way more often than the Tokina. Basically, it takes great images but sits in my bag almost all the time. I almost consider it a specialty lens.
    3. I have never tried the Canon 135mm f/2, but it sounds very impressive. Be aware however that while a prime lens will give you amazing performance, it might be tough in a situation like a wedding where you can't control or repeat everything. You could only get a really strange angle or crop, and the take is ruined. You'll also have to consider that at 135mm and an f/2 aperture, you will get a very shallow DOF, even with a cropped sensor. If you shoot just the bride in close up, and the camera focuses on her cheek, her eyes might not be sharp anymore. Certainly, if you focus on the bride or groom, the other person will be out of focus. I had a 70-200mm lens on for a wedding, and found myself using the 70mm end more often than the long end, and stopping down to f/4 or f/5.6 to get everything I wanted in focus. Half way through the wedding, I switched to the 24-70mm and was way happier with it.

    Just some thoughts. I for example bought the Tokina and am still very happy with its performance, but I am disappointed that I spent so much money and now hardly ever use it. I probably wouldn't buy it again. That's why I say you should rent first.
  10. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Long focal length + low number f-stop + larger sensor --> narrower depth of field.

    For video the most important factor for bokeh is sensor size. The 70d has excellent af but a small sensor.

    Moving the background further back will throw it out of focus, too.

    The 1st image you refered to, was shot on >200mm which is visible by the way the background is compressed.

    The 2nd image you refered to, seems to have been shot with a more normal focal length.
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I actually did once shoot a wedding with just a 135mm f/2.8 lens and black and white 35mm film. Of course the results were very much different from the more common wedding shots. But it was outdoors and I was able to get as far away as need be for wide shots and I could get details from 20 feet. Shallow DOF is not a problem because your f/2.0 lens can also work at f/8 if need be.

    Before DSLRs took over almost al weddings were shot with a "normal" prime. The #1 most common one being a 80mm Hasselblad lens.

    If you are shooting music videos then you have a HUGE advantage over a wedding photographer in that you can tell people were to stand and even select the venue. So you can use a prime manual focus lens. You can get some very nice and fast Nikon primes for under $200 each. These lenses will have far better build quality then anything made today. And did say under $200? When you can total control of the the action you can place the subject where it looks best for the lens you have. You can even wait for the weather to be what you want. Primes work well in controlled situations. A zoom is better if you have no idea what you will need to shoot but a fast zoom will be way-expensive.

    If you think you will be using primes then it will pay to buy a Nikon body.
  12. OsakaTom macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2009
    Bear in mind, if you're going to be hand-holding for most of your shooting, long focal lengths without IS will result in significant 'shakey cam.' Even @ 50mm, you'll get quite a lot of jitter if you don't lock your camera down (or use a rig and a steady hand). If you plan on 'running and gunning,' you'll want to pick-up at least one lens with IS, and a decent zoom range (though a bit slow @ F/4, the 24-105 L can be had for ~$600 on new whitebox on Ebay). The shots you're seeing are almost certainly pulled off with steadicams, sliders, jibs, etc.

    You might also want consider moving away from the Canon, unless you absolutely need the AF on the 70D (which is good, but not fool proof -- particularly if you're looking for paid work). On the lower end, the Sony A6000 (see: http://philipbloom.net/2014/05/12/a6000/) has massively better IQ. You're also almost within striking distance of the Panasonic GH4, with 4K capability, and even more dramatically better IQ (though, that would kill your lens budget).
  13. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    Focal length is longer on those shots and lenses are probably stopped down a bit... For that "look" (field of view/depth of field/perspective rendition) get a longer lens. The 85mm f1.8, 100mm f2, etc. are pretty cheap and will give you way shallower focus than that if you want!

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