How Do You Get Depth of Field With a Video Camera?

When it comes to creating high-quality videos, one technique that can make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of your footage is achieving depth of field. This technique involves having a subject in sharp focus while blurring out the background, creating a sense of depth and separation between the subject and its surroundings.

So how do you achieve this effect with a video camera? Here are some tips and techniques to help you get started:

Understanding Aperture

One of the key elements in achieving depth of field is controlling your camera’s aperture. The aperture refers to the opening in your lens that allows light to pass through and hit the camera’s sensor. When you adjust the aperture, you’re essentially controlling how much light enters the lens.

But aperture also affects depth of field. A larger aperture (represented by a lower f-stop number) will create a shallower depth of field, while a smaller aperture (higher f-stop number) will create a deeper depth of field.

Choosing Your Lens

Another important factor to consider when trying to achieve depth of field is your choice of lens. Some lenses have wider maximum apertures than others, which can make it easier to achieve that shallow depth of field effect.

For example, if you’re using a kit lens that came with your camera, it may have a maximum aperture of f/3.5 or f/4.5. But if you invest in a prime lens with a wider maximum aperture (such as f/1.8 or f/1.4), you’ll have more flexibility when it comes to controlling your depth of field.

Adjusting Your Camera Settings

Once you’ve chosen your lens and adjusted your aperture accordingly, there are some additional camera settings that can help you fine-tune your depth of field effect:

  • Focus: Obviously, having your subject in sharp focus is key to achieving depth of field. Use your camera’s autofocus or manual focus to ensure that your subject is crystal clear.
  • Distance: The distance between your subject and the background also plays a role in depth of field. The closer your subject is to the camera, and the farther away the background is, the easier it will be to achieve a shallow depth of field.
  • Focal length: Longer focal lengths (such as 50mm or 85mm) can help to compress the background and make it appear more blurred, which can enhance your depth of field effect.


Achieving depth of field with a video camera requires some technical know-how, but it’s a skill that can greatly enhance the visual impact of your footage. By understanding aperture, choosing the right lens, and adjusting your camera settings accordingly, you’ll be well on your way to creating stunning videos that capture viewers’ attention.