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Old July 29th, 2013, 11:10 AM   #1
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Shallow DOP with XA20?

I'm a little new to shooting and I'm trying to capture the shallow depth of field look with my Canon XA20 and haven't really pulled it off yet.

I know the basic concept to get the look.

Position the subject far away from background (How far exactly?)
Move the camera far away and zoom in (how far exactly?)
Shoot with a low f-stop (I can't get below an fstop of 3.4 before things start looking over exposed)

I also see that there's a cinema mode on this camera, I haven't been able to figure out what the difference is between Cinema and Manual mode (Yes I read the horribly written manual)

Are there any key settings I should be doing on this camera to get this look? Any general XA20 tips would be much appreciated too!
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Old July 29th, 2013, 01:19 PM   #2
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Re: Shallow DOP with XA20?

You consult a DoF calculator to get a better idea of the effect of various settings, but basically you would like higher magnifications, larger apertures, and get subject closer to camera and further from the background.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 01:32 PM   #3
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Re: Shallow DOP with XA20?

I'll step up to the plate here. I won't have my new XA20 in hand until tomorrow so you will likely figure this out before I actually get a chance to verify how to do it on the cam. To get shallow DOF you want the largest aperature/iris setting possible combined with being as close to your subject as possible with the longest focal length possible. Bigger, closer, longer! Anything that goes against this is going to increase your depth of field. The background is secondary to this because the DOF is already established but, the further away your background is, the more out of focus it can be.

If you can't get to a wide open iris without over-exposing, you need to increase shutter speed and/or reduce gain. If that doesn't get it for you then you need to look at neutral density filters to reduce the amount if incoming light.

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Old July 29th, 2013, 02:17 PM   #4
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Re: Shallow DOP with XA20?

An alternative is to get one of the rigs that allow using 35mm primes; e.g., Letus35 with appropriate adapter rings.
Letus 35mm Adapters :: Letus Adapters :: Letus35 Extreme -

Visit Depth of field - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
for a detailed discusison of DOF.

In general smaller sensors give larger DOF for the same image field of view and subject distance. With its somewhat larger sensor (for a moderate priced camcorder) the XA20 will allow shallower DOF than many others such as the XHA1 or HV40. Use ND filters and shutter speed to manage exposure at the wider apertures.
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Old April 8th, 2014, 01:18 PM   #5
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Re: Shallow DOP with XA20?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fisher View Post
I'm a little new to shooting and I'm trying to capture the shallow depth of field look with my Canon XA20 and haven't really pulled it off yet. . . . Are there any key settings I should be doing on this camera to get this look? Any general XA20 tips would be much appreciated too!
One of the simplest things you can do that works remarkably well, is to simply move further away from the subject and zoom in with a fairly tight composition. This changes the ratio of f-stop to aperture ratio by greater than a standard curve and thus provides a "slight" improvement in bokeh.

This is an inexpensive way to improve composition and without losing precious f-stop due to externally mounted devices, let alone the risk associated with damaging your gear. :-)
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