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HDSLR Focusing....

composite1's picture
Last seen: 7 months 6 hours ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
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Whether you're using a Canon, Nikon, Pentax or other type of HDSLR camera, the big issue is keeping that bad-boy in focus. Yes, you can spend a couple of metric tons worth of cash on focusing gear but whether you do or don't keeping good focus without auto settings must be dealt with. Here's a vid from Stillmotion giving some good basic tips for keeping focus with the Canon line of cameras and a few items for monitoring your image during shooting. These lessons apply to whatever camera line you're using so take notes... there'll be a quiz!

the SM focus tutorial // deconstructing the story from stillmotion on Vimeo.


grinner's picture
Last seen: 6 years 10 months ago
Joined: 12/29/2007 - 2:56am

Working more as DP with DSLRs, my admitted struggle today is the fact that I'm 41 and farsighted, after having successful custom cornea surgery for nearsightedness. This means I lean hard on Canon's find focus features and I double check with the digital zoom first. No brainer for statics but with action scenes, I've had to memorize focus positions, using my finger like int he video or sometimes actually marking the lens old school filmstyle with a little piece of gaff tape.

good post, man.


composite1's picture
Last seen: 7 months 6 hours ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

"Working more as DP with DSLRs, my admitted struggle today is the fact
that I'm 41 and farsighted, after having successful custom cornea
surgery for nearsightedness."

Grin,

That's definitely an issue to contend with. Using the oldschool gaffer's tape mark is tried and true. I read here on the posts so many folks running out to buy these cam's with no photography or film background and it's a recipe for trouble. As you can back-up, manual focus is a whole order of magnitude different than rolling with the servo setting on a pro cam. You have to build a whole new skillset in trying to manage good focus when working with prime lenses. I see guys trying to shoot without a viewfinder or monitor and I just roll my eyes as they say, 'Man, something's wrong with this thing! It won't stay in focus.' It's not the cam' friend....

Glad you like the post. Hope it helps.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


Luis Maymi's picture
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 09/26/2008 - 4:58am
Plus Member

Great video. Depth of field is so beautiful and rather easy to accomplish with DSRL, but what about with a regular camcorders. With my Sony HDR AX2000 I position the camera far from the subject, zoom in, open the aperture at a low f stop and focus were desire. Another way is having the camcorder very close to the subject, zoom in a little and focus were desire. Other than that, there are no more alternatives with the build in lenses. In the previous Videomaker magazine (September 2011) article "The Mechanics of Interchangeable Lenses" it says that "The ability to add high quality 35mm lenses to a professional, prosumer or consumer camcorder can give more control over the depth of field". My question, is it better to get a DSRL camera or buy a 35mm lenses adapter to accomplish the cinematic shallow depth of field?.

-

"The meaning of a movie are the characters, the life of the movie is the music, but the magic is in the editing" –  http://www.lomaymi.com



Cville's picture
Last seen: 1 month 5 days ago
Joined: 03/28/2009 - 7:58pm

When you use the 35mm lens adapter you are adding a lot more glass in front of your lens so you need more light. Not to mention the expense to add that set-up. You ask is it better to do that or go HDSLR. I would and a 3rd option and consider the new lines ofinterchangeablelens video cameras such as the sony NEX-VG20. Body price is 1599.

 

 

We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.- Walt Disney 

www.ynotvideo.us


composite1's picture
Last seen: 7 months 6 hours ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

"My question, is it better to get a DSRL camera or buy a 35mm
lenses adapter to accomplish the cinematic shallow depth of field?"

Sarge,

Just like in the article a 35mm adapter is just a way to add shallow focus controls to your existing video rig. I've got a JVC proHD 3chip cam that a 35mm adapter would work wonders with. The adapter kit would cost a lot less than all the stuff I'd need for the HDSLR and the camera too. Now it wouldn't have the same image size as a MkII and there would be a half to a full stop I'd lose on exposure.

On the other side, I'd just be adding an accessory kit to my existing rig and wouldn't have to sweat image issues CMOS cameras present. So like Grinner said, it's truly dependent on what your budget and shooting needs are. Remember, cameras and camera gear are just tools. There is no camera in existence that fits all situations. I'd be very afraid if there were....

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com



David Forrester's picture
Last seen: 4 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 05/09/2010 - 8:04pm
Plus Member

I second cville. The VG20 is a letus adapter killer! A good Letus, and only the best ones work within reason, I understand costs upwards of 3G's. Plus you need lenses, rails system and it is a long unit. Plus you can't shoot more than 1/250 sec.

It has been proven time and time again, a peaking and false color monitor for a Canon 5D is the best way to get really good, tact sharp, pro quality follow focus. The winner? Marshall monitors. They made a 5" specific for a 5D. The House MD crews us the 7" monitors. This and a follow focus system (trusmt) is the next and final acquisition. After that, it is write, write, write. Shoot, shoot shoot. Edit, edit, edit.