Shooting an Interview with Auto Focus at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 28th, 2008, 07:10 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Goleta, CA
Posts: 233
Shooting an Interview with Auto Focus

I am shooting a bunch of interviews in the next few weeks. In most of the interviews, I will have the subject to the right or left of the frame, leaving the center of the frame empty (or filled with the background) and I was wondering if the auto focus will fixate on the background b/c it is in the center or if the foreground speaker will be in focus. (I know I should ideally use manual focus, but I'd still like to know how the AF will behave) Thanks!
__________________
www.spreefilms.com - Give me a museum and I'll fill it!
Steve Lewis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2008, 07:23 PM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Lipa City Batangas, Philippines
Posts: 1,110
Hi Steve. The auto focus will try to focus on whatever is at the centre of the image. Best to use manual for this situation, then you don't need to worry about the subject moving off to the side. And you can use a smaller aperture to give more depth of field. That will help keep it sharp if the subject leans forward or back.

Richard
Richard Hunter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2008, 08:30 PM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: North Conway, NH
Posts: 1,745
Steve... Often times interviews are a one shot deal and I would never trust an electronic brain over a human brain (or in my case, nearly human) to control critical functions, especially focus.

I never intentionally shoot a subject center frame. I'm a one-man crew so my interviews, when done on sticks and I'll step to my left out from behind the camera to talk to the subject, which draws their attention to me. So I frame them on to the right. Auto focus would go nuts trying to focus on the Eifel Tower or the moon or something much farther away than my subject. Bad idea all around.

I was also thinking about auto exposure, which I also think is bad in situations like this especially outdoors.

My mantra is to stay manual in all things unless there's a compelling reason to turn on the automation. There are times, but they are the exception, not the norm. At least with what I do.
Tripp Woelfel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2008, 10:30 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 213
Great info Tripp and Richard!

I recently shot an indoor interview using a tripod mounted A1.

Setup: Inside large office building with windows/cubicals/open space in background. Two studio lights aimed at head/shoulders region -- zoomed-in center frame on the face -- white balance for the studio lights.

I had set the focus to auto, thinking there should not be any problems (basic head/shoulders center frame shot), and left it un-manned during the interview (I was using another A1 shooting secondary hand held footage)...

Long story short, when I finally got the footage captured, there was a minute+ long spot where the focus jumped to the objects in the far background!

Never again will I use the A1 auto focus in a situation like that.

Cheers,
Micky
Micky Hulse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2008, 12:00 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Goleta, CA
Posts: 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micky Hulse View Post
Long story short, when I finally got the footage captured, there was a minute+ long spot where the focus jumped to the objects in the far background!

Never again will I use the A1 auto focus in a situation like that.
I can sympathize! I often have my shots lapse from being foreground focused to background focused! Manual focus it is! One thing though: the tried and true trick of zooming into the eye, then manually focusing and then zooming out again doesn't seem to work on the A1... is this true for you guys as well?
-Steve
__________________
www.spreefilms.com - Give me a museum and I'll fill it!
Steve Lewis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2008, 01:50 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Posts: 858
Haven't had any issues with the tried and true 'zoom in, set focus, zoom out'. You should also be using the peaking and or magnify feature to double check your focus. I really dislike the LCD that Canon supplies, Sony's is much better in terms of sharpness and how they handle the focus confirmation.
Oren Arieli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2008, 03:49 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Pembrokeshire, Wales
Posts: 734
Steve - it could be that you are focussing on the eye when the person is relaxed, but then they lean forward when they are talking, and so go out of the plane of focus?
__________________
Canon XH A1; Canon XF100; Nikon D800
Annie Haycock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2008, 12:33 PM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Haycock View Post
Steve - it could be that you are focussing on the eye when the person is relaxed, but then they lean forward when they are talking, and so go out of the plane of focus?
The XH-A1 can't acquire such a shallow depth of field that someone leaning forward would go out of focus, unless you zoom all the way in. I'd be more worried about composition than focus if I weren't manning my camera during an interview. Don't be afraid to tell the subject to try not to move around too much.
Steve Yager is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2008, 12:46 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Pembrokeshire, Wales
Posts: 734
It was just a thought - and it probably depends on where in the zoom range you zoom out to. Not being in the habit of filming people, I can only guess.
__________________
Canon XH A1; Canon XF100; Nikon D800
Annie Haycock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2008, 01:22 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Arieli View Post
..<snip>... Sony's is much better in terms of sharpness and how they handle the focus confirmation.
For sure... Peaking on my Sony FX7 is great!

I wish the A1 had a larger LCD.
Micky Hulse is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:01 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network