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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old March 18th, 2010, 02:09 PM   #1
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Focussing tips & techniques & tricks for shooting video with T2i

Folks,

I'm not offering any of those mentioned in the thread name :-) I'm asking for them.

I am trying to shoot some video with my new T2i. Looks like focussing manually is the only way to go .. right? My subjects are getting out of focus when I pan. Does it have anything to do with the aperture setting? I want to have a shallow dof .. basically a very blurry background, and still maintain focus on the subject while panning. How to do this? Any tricks? I have seen people doing this in the 'clips' section of this forum. Is there any special gear I must be using? (I am hand-holding the camera for these pan shots, and the lens is the standard kit lens that came with the camera).

Thanks in advance.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 03:36 PM   #2
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If you are wanting a VERY shallow DOF and you want your actors to move then you need to get a Follow Focus and have your actors hit their marks. This is where an AC comes in handy, but if you don't have someone for that role just, practice running it yourself. This is not an easy thing to accomplish alone.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 03:40 PM   #3
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The first thing you should do is get a tripod. Nothing guarantees an out of focus shot more than a shaky camera that is at a different distance from the subject on each take. If for some reason you cannot do this shot on a tripod, then I suggest some handheld/shoulder support.
Second, when you're panning with your subject (and i assume your subject is in motion) it is likely that your subject is not at a constant distance from the camera, and you need to adjust the focus during the shot. The standard way to achieve this is by pulling out a tape measure during a blocking rehearsal and measure the relative distances between you and your subject to have focus marks. You would then focus based on the ft/m marks on your lens.
You say you want shallow depth of field. Keep in mind that you get what you ask for--the shallower the depth of field, the less range of acceptable focus, and the harder it is to keep your subject in focus. Try stopping down and see if that helps you hit your marks.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 06:34 PM   #4
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Thank you both, Jerry and Brennan.

Follow Focus is not an option as I'm on a budjet.

I have a good tripod but for the kind of shot I'm trying to take, I must hand hold it.

So I guess I have to chose between shallow dof and sharp focus. Hmmm..
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Old March 18th, 2010, 06:45 PM   #5
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If you have to hand hold, at the least get a loupe like the Hoodman or Zacuto.
With it pressed up against your face, you have a much better chance of keeping the camera steady and adjusting focus on the fly.
I have gotten pretty adept at this method and I use a 50mm 1.4 which has a very thin DOF. Keep practicing, it can happen!

DSLR's are forcing everyone to go back to old-school film-making ...no digital assistance! at least we don't have to develop the film to find out we screwed up! HaHa!
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Old March 18th, 2010, 07:49 PM   #6
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On a budget, you can buy some 1" and 3/4" aluminum square tube from the local hardware store and cut/drill it to make your own shoulder rig. If you get a Manfrotto 357 or 577 adapter, you can quickly move the camera from tripod to rig. You can buy BMX handgrips and slide them over the 3/4" tubes. You're looking at less than $100 in materials. You can cut aluminum with a table saw or radial arm saw with a wood blade. A hacksaw works fine too. A drill press is best, but you can use a hand drill, if needed.

The downside is that such a rig isn't adjustable. The upside is that you can cut and re-drill until you get a rig that fits you and your style.

Unless you have really young eyes, you will want a loupe. The HoodLoupe is the best budget solution. You can connect it (glue or velcro) to a $15 Chinese LCD hood/screen from e-bay. There is also a mount available from RedRock. Soon, Hoodman is expected to release an improved eyecup that includes some magnification and is said to improve performance. (If your eye is off-center, the HoodLoupe gets soft.)

Sure, it's not as fancy or adjustable as a pro rig, but your shots will be just as stable and in focus. Your friends might laugh at your crude rig, but the audience will never know. :)
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Old March 19th, 2010, 04:40 PM   #7
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Robert, Jon,

thank you :-) Very informative tips.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 12:00 PM   #8
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For about $100 shipped to my door, I got the SpiderBrace 2 "Combo" (with 3rd grip centered). Added a Manfrotto quick release adapter (matches my 501 head) so I can go from shoulder mount to tripod in seconds.

Photo of my rig (7D shown with EF 24mm f2.8 lens and CAVISION viewfinder assembly (6X eyepiece) found here in post #26:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-eo...rnative-2.html

SpiderBrace website:

home

A half price alternative to the SpiderBrace:

Easy Brace
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