Give your videos that sweet cinematic bokeh with Focos Live

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Focos Live lets iPhone users film bokeh video.
Don’t wait for the iPhone 12. Focos Live lets iPhone users film bokeh video today.
Photo: Xiaodong Wang/Cult of Mac

iPhones can automatically blur the backgrounds of still images but not video. Enter Focos Live, a recently released application that brings to iPhone video the effect Apple calls Portrait mode (and everyone else calls “bokeh”). The effect gives photographers the ability to unfocus the background to draw attention to what’s going on in the foreground.

“With the functionality of taking portrait videos with aperture and bokeh effect, Focos Live is the next big thing when it comes to computational photography,” Focos Live developer Xiaodong Wang says.

He points out that his iPhone or iPad app can even be used to change the focus of a video after it has been filmed.

However, Focos Live can’t film with the bokeh effect on cameras that can’t already take bokeh still images. That includes the rear cameras on the 2020 iPad.

Focos Live offers far more than bokeh video

This application isn’t a one-trick pony, however. It can do far more than just film with the bokeh effect. Multiple videos, still images and more can be combined. It also can handle speed ramping — speeding up or slowing down a recording. There’s an audio manager built in, too.

Cielo de la Paz, a professional photographer who was featured by Apple in the Shot on iPhone ad campaign a few years ago, did some testing of this new software. Check it out:

Focos Live can be downloaded today from the App Store. Lifetime unlimited use costs $14.99. Subscriptions run $1.99 a month or $8.99 a year.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the iPhone 12 will add support for bokeh video. The feature supposedly will extend to earlier models, too (possibly because Samsung mocked the iPhone 11 for not including it).

Xiaodong also created Focos, which lets user do far more with their Portrait mode still images than is possible with Apple’s Camera application.