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Soften a distracting background

You should always be aware of the background when you set up an interview. If the area behind the subject is relevant and appealing, you might wish to take in as much of it as you can. On the other hand, if it’s unsightly, distracting, or bears no connection to the topic of the discussion, you may wish to exclude much of background. In this case, a narrow field-of-view will hide a world of nasties. How can you do that?

The zoom lens is a very nifty inclusion on a digital video camera and there is a direct connection between the focal length used (the degree of magnification) and the resulting field-of-view. Framing your subject where you use the telephoto end of the zoom lens is the best way to get a narrow field-of-view. 

Place the tripod further away from the subject so that you make use of the telephoto end of the zoom. In the viewfinder, the size of the subject would be the same as would be the case on the wide angle end of the zoom, however, what is included in the background will be greatly reduced. 

A once distracting background will also now be beautifully diffused mainly due to the fall off in focus that accompanies a greater magnification by the lens.

© 2013 Pieter de Vries ACS