This music video for the song “Solidified” by Gramatik features an interesting technique: custom bokeh shapes that move. We’ve featured creative bokeh techniques in the past, but they’ve all focused on floating words or static shapes. Director Brad Hasse went a step further by having his monster silhouettes in the out-of-focus light points move around and sing along. The technique involves placing tiny monster cutouts directly in front of fast lenses that are racked out of focus.
Photo enthusiast Mike Gerdau wanted to play around with bokeh shapes but didn’t want to create a separate “lens cap” for each shape. His solution was to separate the shapes from the cap itself, cutting the shapes into 45x45mm squares that swap in and out of the cap easily. The “slides” can be neatly stored away inside a white plastic Game Boy cartridge case when not in use.
For Valentine’s Day this year, Samsung created this short film that features custom bokeh shapes shot with Samsung NX gear. They come up with some pretty creative ideas for various shapes: pop a balloon filled with glitter to create a firework look, or shoot out of a car window at night to capture spaceships flying through space! If you’re interested in learning how to customize your own bokeh, check out this video tutorial or the tutorial Samsung published alongside this video.
Here’s another video tutorial teaching how to give your bokeh custom shapes.
When a point of light in a photograph is out of focus, it turns into a shape defined by the lens’s aperture. We can create a second, smaller, aperture to attach to the front of our lens in order to customize that shape. The result is a charming effect in the background of your photographs, as long as there points of light such as streetlights, candles, or Christmas lights in frame. [#]
You can also find a text version of this tutorial here.