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Give your videos that sweet cinematic bokeh with Focos Live


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.

iPhone SE uses software trick to give photos beautiful bokeh


The iPhone SE bokeh effect is do we entirely with software.
The iPhone SE can take a 2D image and make it into a Portrait Mode picture with the bokeh effect.
Photo: Apple

The 2020 iPhone SE is the first Apple smartphone to offer Portrait Mode photos created entirely with software techniques rather than hardware. That’s not true of any previous iOS device, not even the one you think it is.

Lux Optics, maker of Halide, examined how Apple’s new budget phone adds the bokeh effect to 2D pictures.

Handsome co-worker gets bokeh’d in Apple’s latest ad


Depth control 2
Well, that's one way to do it!
Photo: Apple

Apple continued its run of bokeh-related iPhone ads over the weekend. In its new “Depth Control” ad, a jealous partner blurs a handsome male co-worker out of a photo of his girlfriend/wife, using the depth of field function.

Come to think of it, that sounds a lot less funny in writing than it comes across on screen. As a slice of everyday iPhone use, though, it certainly raised a smile. Check it out below.

5 great apps that bust out the bokeh on iPhone XS and XR


The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS camera is pretty incredible. The device uses its two rear cameras, plus the A12 chip’s Neural Engine, to record such an accurate 3D map of the scene that you can adjust the background blur with a slider. But that depth map is useful for more than just blurring backgrounds. It can be used by other apps to:

  • Add realistic lights to a scene.
  • Choose any subject to be in focus, not just the one you picked when shooting.
  • Add custom background blurs.
  • Remove and replace backgrounds, like movie green-screen effects.

The iPhone XS is the gold standard for iOS cameras, but the XR manages some excellent tricks of its own. Despite having only one rear camera, the XR can still recognise people, and then use AI and the super-powerful A12 Neural Engine to separate out the person form the background. While this portrait matte isn’t as detailed as an iPhone XS depth map, it can in theory still be used to do many of the same tricks.

Today we’ll look at the best depth apps for the new iPhone XS, XR, and XS Max.

Facebook turns iPhone bokeh images into 3D Photos


Facebook can turn a Bokeh image into a 3D one.
Facebook can turn a Bokeh image into a 3D one.
Photo: Facebook

Bokeh images look sort of three dimensional, with their subjects in focus and their backgrounds blurry. Facebook took this idea and ran with it. The social networking service created tech to turn bokeh pictures into 3D images.

3-in-1 lens brings sweet bokeh to mirrorless cameras


Just a twist will bring dreamy effects to pictures made with a mirrorless camera.
Just a twist will bring dreamy effects to pictures made with a mirrorless camera.
Photo: Lensbaby

Thanks to a software feature on the iPhone 7 camera, Apple fans are getting familiar with a term once heard in a language only spoken by photographers – bokeh.

It’s a Japanese word that means blur and the bokeh in a photograph refers to the areas that are not in focus. Creamy and dream are the effects when perfectly executed, especially with portraits, where a tack-sharp face pops against a background swirled in colors, light and distorted shapes

Before there was even an iPhone, the art optics company Lensbaby was producing lenses that gave photographers an affordable option to bring maximum bokeh to their work. On Wednesday, Lensbaby introduced a 3-in-1 lens for mirrorless cameras.

Vintage-style lens makes impression with its dreamy bokeh


Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
Lomography's Petzval lens clone will give your pictures a certain special something. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

A photo editor friend of mine will often say, “It’s getting harder and harder to make a bad picture.”

It sounds absurd but he is partially referring to technology and how it can remove some of the thinking from photography. Cameras can be set to figure out aperture, shutter speed and, with the touch of a button, do the focusing. You can massage a bad exposure with software or, if you snap photos with your phone, choose apps and filters to effect a variety of looks and feels.

So it’s not uncommon for serious photographers to occasionally reach back for a piece of analog gear to challenge their thinking and reinvigorate creativity.

This summer I reached back to 1840. Well, sort of.

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