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Old March 4th, 2010, 03:12 AM   #1
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Something you can do to get good DOF without a DOF adapter

I shot this ages ago but have only just got around to editing it and putting it to bed. I shot it in HDV on a Sony FX1 which is a fairly entry level prosumer unit. It has 3CCD and a decent lens. It doesn't do too badly for the price point, no XLR and a few other things that put it under a real pro model.

I wanted to get some shallow depth of field without having to purchase a DOF adapter. Previous experience told me I'd be able to do it if I just shot a bit smarter.

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password is dvinfo
no music on it sorry as I forgot mpeg2 doesn't embed the audio, also this is my first HD upload to vimeo so I may not have got all the settings right but you'll get the idea.

For the outdoor stuff I put on the biggest setting of ND filter and thus opened the lens up to it's max aperture which is pretty good at f1.6. I've found a few consumer level cameras have a pretty good low aperture just sometimes you have to trick them into using it. I also erred towards setting up on the tripod about 20 feet away from the couple and then zoomed in. This helps a lot with the depth of field. I used the view finder only so I could get a good look at my focus point and then deliberately put it in and out of focus to accentuate the depth of field when I needed to.

When shooting indoors I just opened the lens right up and shot away. Again choosing to focus in on the glasses and things that had a bit of depth to them i.e. they started close to the camera and extended away, so I could rack focus in and out to show off the depth of field.

The whole video was shot with just the standard lens, no adapters, no filters except the in-built ND when required in the sun.

This is just a way I shot something and thought I'd share in case it helps.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 03:53 AM   #2
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Some really nice inventive shots in your film Damian, some clips so 'brave' I wondered if they were meant to be in there.

But you've got the message, shallow dof is easily possible on a 1"/3 chipped camcorder if you use max telephoto, max aperture (f/2.8 in the FX1's case), shoot closeups and have the background as far away as possible.

tom.
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Old March 5th, 2010, 10:02 AM   #3
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How do you rack focus on the HDR-FX1? I've never had problems creating a shallow depth of field with this camera, but the focus is just so sensitive. Are there in camera settings that made that attainable, or did you have to try several times to get it?
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Old March 5th, 2010, 10:10 AM   #4
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Zoom all the way in and have the camera pretty far from the subjects which themselves have to be pretty far apat and pretty far from the BG. I have done it a few times. But a MUCH easier (and cheaper than an adapter) way is get a DSLR!
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Old March 5th, 2010, 01:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aric Mannion View Post
How do you rack focus on the HDR-FX1?
Use SHOT TRANSITION. It's not ideal but it's the best you can do.
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Old March 6th, 2010, 06:34 AM   #6
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There's another way. At a picnic in the park I lay down in the daisies and focused on them right up close to the lens, with the picnicers all blurry way off in the distance.

Then I simply gave the focus switch a quick flick down to the 'infinity' position and the people snapped into focus through the now blury flowers. It's a bit sudden, but effective.

tom.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 02:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aric Mannion View Post
How do you rack focus on the HDR-FX1? I've never had problems creating a shallow depth of field with this camera, but the focus is just so sensitive. Are there in camera settings that made that attainable, or did you have to try several times to get it?
I didn't have any trouble with it. It is very sensitive but what I'd mainly do is focus up on the point I wanted and then gentle rack it out and then back into focus. I figured I'd possibly go a bit too far and then have to go back sometimes but since I was going for a DOF type look it wouldn't matter. The shots with the glasses especially I tended to just go back and forth a bit and then cut it in the edit to the bits that went form out of focus to back into focus.
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