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How to Blur Background of Your YouTube Video

A lot of YouTubers like to vlog in front of a blurred background. Blurring the background of your YouTube video is a fast way to make it look more professional – you really stand out when you are perfectly in focus and everything behind you is blurry. Plus, it is an easy way to disguise the room you are vlogging from.

While nobody expects vloggers to have access to professional studios, people do still get distracted by anything that might be behind you in your bedroom or living room. Clutter, like piles of laundry, will make it harder for viewers to take you seriously. Even if your set is clean there could be things like books behind you which will distract viewers; they will be trying to read the spines. Blurring out the background of your shot makes your video look polished and keeps people's focus completely on you.

How to Blur Background of Your YouTube Video

Blurring your background is also how you create a beautiful bokeh lighting effect. ‘Bokeh' is when you blur lights in the background of your shot creating halo-like circles of light. By attaching a filter with a shape cut out to the lens of your camera you can even create bokeh lights in other shapes, like hearts or stars.

Aperture refers to the hole in your lens which allows light into your camera. A narrow aperture lets in less light, and a wide aperture lets in more. The wider your aperture is the shallower your depth of field will be. Widening your aperture also helps your camera perform better in low light situations. Widening your aperture too much under the wrong circumstances can let in too much light and result in your footage being overexposed.

Depth of Field is the area of your image that is in focus. If you have a large depth of field then objects close to and far away from your camera will all be in focus. If you have a shallow depth of field then only a select area will be focused and the rest will be blurred.

F-Stops are the measurement of an aperture's width. The higher your f-stop, the narrower your aperture will be. To create a blurred background or a bokeh effect you need a wide aperture, and thus a small f-stop. F-stops are written like ‘f/1.4'. You need an f-stop of less than f/4 to blur your background, and less than f/2.8 for bokeh.

1. Blurring and Bokeh

Blurred backgrounds and bokeh are very closely related. A bokeh effect is essentially a blurred background that includes lights.

To achieve a blurred background, or a bokeh effect, you need to have a shallow depth of field. That means a wide aperture and a low f-stop.

2. How to Blur your Background

Place your subject – in the case of a vlog your subject is probably yourself – in a shallow depth of field and they will remain sharply in focus while everything behind them is blurred. If the subject is yourself then you might need a helper to either operate your camera, or stand in for you while you set up your camera. You will need to be able to check that the place you plan to stand or sit is in focus.

To get a shallow depth of field make sure you aperture is wide. Do this by setting a low f-stop. Ideally your f-stop will be 2.8 or lower, but if your camera cannot go that low then f/3 or f/4 can also work.

Creating a bokeh effect is largely the same, except that it works best when your subject/depth of field is very close to the camera and you have a light source off in the background.

Zoom Lenses do not usually have wide enough apertures to create bokeh backgrounds. For more information about lenses read the entry ‘Choosing the Right Lens' and watch Tasha's video.

Jun 01,2018 10:58 am
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