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Old December 4th, 2003, 05:58 PM   #1
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Tips on manual focus

Hi

OK, now that I know that auto focus is something to forget with the XL1s, I'd like to know tips on manual focus.

How do you keep focus while zooming ? I know its best to first zoom all the way, focus, that back off. But what do I do when I'm filming something like a hockey game for exemple.

The way I do it now is that whenever I zoom or move the came, I keep my finger on the AF and as soon as my frame is set, I realise it and stay in manual.

But there must be a better and more pro way ?

Thanx
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Old December 4th, 2003, 06:22 PM   #2
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Keeping focus with the canon Xl1 is not easy, mainly because of the way the lens operates. You can't read on the lens the distance and the color viewfinder makes it very difficult to judge if you are in focus or not. Hockey is difficult with professional lenses and requires a good understanding of the game, so you know how the players turn, what distance they are going to be from you most of the time and so on. If I were you I would shoot with your lensopening at a high figure if possible f8 or higher. This will take care of most of your focus problems because the area of were something is in focus will be large. If it is a match, put your focus on the posts of the goal or the middle of the field. I think you will notice this will cover most of your problems. If you go really close you might lose focus but keep in mind were on the field the player is, if he or she is close at least turn the lens in the right direction, chances are you will see the focus "come " and you wont miss it if you take things slow. Otherwise make the close shots, goalscorers, really fast with the manual zoom, focus and you have your shot...ready to be inserted during editing. And practise!! remember going out of focus is not a problem, really, as long as you find focus again rather quickly or at least are aware of the fact that you are out of focus....
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Old December 4th, 2003, 06:41 PM   #3
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It's going off at a tangent slightly, but Milos Forman (director of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, etc) used a sports cameraman in a few of his early Czech films for the more complicated ensemble scenes. He worked with non actors a lot and is well known for getting great performances from them, partly because he liked to put them at ease in natural situations such as parties. The upshot of this was that it was very difficult to plan the scenes as such, without making these non-actors conscious of giving a performance, so he got a sports cameraman who was good at filming live action and let the scenes "happen" instead.

So yes, my point is that it's something sports cameramen are known for being able to do, and I guess it takes a lot of practise - and a nice fully manual lens :o)
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Old December 4th, 2003, 06:48 PM   #4
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I would like to add if it is not sports, you should judge nevertheless the distance you will be working most of the time have your diafragma opening in a high figure and don't zoom, walk everything...
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