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Old April 10th, 2011, 12:21 AM   #1
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Extreme closeups/macro

Has anyone got a suggestion for a way to capture a jewelry maker doing fine detail work zoomed in enough to fill the full HD window with an object approximately 1/4"?

Parameters...

I have an XF300 and a 7D to choose from.
Delivery is 1080P.
There is a wide angle camera shot that I need to keep my rig out of.
Talent does tend to move...just part of the gig but makes focusing difficult

When I have attempted this in the past, I have found the 300's auto focus on fast pretty effective until the talent moves too quickly for it to keep up. Then I'm screwed and have to pull out and push back in to recapture focus. Also at full zoom, I just cant seem to get tight enough and I'm 3 feet from the action.

I tried the 7D with my 100-400 but can't do any zooms as it's not constant aperture and it's a very clunky method having to pull on the lens. Keeping focus manually seems more reliable until she jumps out of frame. then it's a nightmare to find the action and refocus.

My 70-200 lens doesn't wont zoom in far enough from where my camera has to be.

Am I screwed? or should I look at a doubler for the 300?
Should I rent a Red and zoom in during post?

I'd say 95% of what we shoot is dead perfect but the client really gets bugged seeing a couple of seconds here or there that the focus jumps. And it KILLS me that I don't have a good answer on how to fix this!

Below is an example of how tight a shot I can get. She wants me to be zoomed in even further..like fill the frame with the tips of the pliers and two fingers!
BTW, this is a screen grab from the XF300 fully zoomed in. You can see the DOF is very narrow. Could this be why the auto focus is having issues? How can I fix this?
Attached Thumbnails
Extreme closeups/macro-screen-shot-2011-04-09-10.15.24-pm.png  
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Old April 10th, 2011, 10:39 AM   #2
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Re: Extreme closeups/macro

OK since no one has bitten yet I'll start it off. I often get asked to do macro work for technical stuff in connection with my corporate video work here in the Hi-Tech Cambridge UK area.

Frequently, I resort to using my Canon 100mm Macro F2.8 IS Hybrid IS lens on my 7D, rather than my EX3 in Macro mode. This is on a tripod of course! I too have a Canon 70-200mm IS but it's minimum close focus distance can be a little too far & awkward.

This Canon Macro allows some terrific images but as you already know you are dealing with razor thin DOF. I don't think this lens will get you the magnification you state you need (or rather that the client would like) so I'm thinking that you are going to need something even more powerful if you go the Canon 7D route. That will, of course, create even worse DOF (all things being equal).

Hopefully, you will get some other suggestions too. Good luck and let us know what you end up using!
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Old April 10th, 2011, 10:51 AM   #3
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Re: Extreme closeups/macro

Thanks Andy!
I know about the 100mm macro and I might end up renting one to try but the talent (who happens to be the producer and client) will have to live with me in the wide shot.
It's a conundrum!
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Old April 10th, 2011, 10:57 AM   #4
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Re: Extreme closeups/macro

I have done quite a bit of this type of work and you need to make a choice. Do you want good instructional footage or do you want to keep the camera out of a wide shot? Pick one only please.

I always use a crane because ideally you should show the work from the instructor’s point of view, as if the person were looking over their shoulder. Overhead is great.

With the crane set up I have the client sit down at their workspace. The first thing is to try and limit is the amount of movement the client makes with the object being captured. I have them put it in a small vice or have a defined area that they need to work in.

Depending on your location you can place the crane almost anywhere around the client, just not directly behind them. Set your XF300 to the widest lens setting and lower the camera until your subject fills the frame. Your lens will be mere inches away from the object.

Can the client now work? Only raise the camera to the point where the client can work unencumbered and only then, zoom in to reframe. What you are trying to do is have the camera zoomed in the least amount necessary to capture the scene, exactly opposite of what you are doing now. Zooming all the way in makes the depth of field even more shallow and that contributes to the camera hunting for focus.

Let there be light, and plenty of it. Shallow depth of field is your enemy and having the light necessary to capture at higher apertures and at the widest angle lens setting is the formula for great close-up footage.
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Old April 10th, 2011, 10:58 AM   #5
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Re: Extreme closeups/macro

The XF300 does not have an interchangeable lens, so if you use this camera, you will need to use screw in diopter lenses. Canon makes a good one, but so do other makers. You will need at least a 2+ or 3+ to photograph what you are describing. Don't use more than one diopter lens at a time or the fall-off will be really noticeable.

If you use the 7D, think about an extension ring/tube. That will take you in close with no added glass. If you get one that has multiple sections, you can probably get even tighter than you need. Use the longer focal lengths with more extension sections to give you some operating distance between you and the subject. There is a reduction in light to the sensor depending on the length of the extension tube/ring.

Of course, you can also use the diopter lenses on the 7D, but it won't quite as sharp as with the extension rings.

Pros for diopter lenses on the 7d are ease of use and no light reduction. Pros for extension tubes are more flexibility, greater range of magnification with the same lens, and can be less expensive if you use the fully manual ones.

Hope that helps,
Alan
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Old April 10th, 2011, 11:12 AM   #6
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Re: Extreme closeups/macro

@ David - Crane is not possible due to her work area. Sucks 'cause I have a wonderful Kessler! And we light the mess out of her studio almost to the point of needing an ND filter! Thankfully it's CFL's and LED since we do shoot during the hell months here in Phoenix!
Totally get the other points and yeah, it seems like a choice needs to be made on me being in the shot or not. She'll have to pay me extra to be on that side of the camera! HaHa!

@ Alan - Now this is new info to me and thanks! Knew about extension rings but not diopters and didn't know that this is what they're used for! I will look into renting so I can learn what the heck I'm doing.

I actually talked with the talent last night and she brought up another idea to limit her motion. She said a small monitor for her to look at while shooting might help. She's been in the TV biz for a lot of years and says she has done it before...we'll see!
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Old April 10th, 2011, 12:19 PM   #7
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Re: Extreme closeups/macro

Hi Robert,

I have also the ef 70-200 L lens, if I do want more close up shots for details, I use this:
Canon 77mm 500D Close-up Lens 2824A001 B&H Photo Video
I just screw it in front of the lens and I get those tight shots I wanted. I also use this on my Z7u with a 77-72mm adapter.
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Old April 10th, 2011, 01:55 PM   #8
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Re: Extreme closeups/macro

I did a test with my Z7 when I had it and put a nikon 60mm macro lens on it with the MTF 1/3" to nikon adaptor, the same set up could be used with my current HPX301 and it gives X7 magnification with focusing right down to around six inches here are the test shots:
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Old April 10th, 2011, 02:57 PM   #9
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Re: Extreme closeups/macro

I sympathize! From the sound of things, this has to be done more-or-less as an event.

I did two videos of how to make a bassoon reed. This also entails equivalent closeup work and the reed makers often use jeweller's equipment. The first one was essentially an event aimed at students and I had to shoot in sequence, both close and distant, pretty well all from in front or a bit to the side. I had to teach the talent to rest his wrists on the table so he didn't snatch his fingers out of view or focus. Even so the temptation was nearly impossible for him to resist, so we missed a few shots. We did a few make-ups after the main event was over, especially for close shots.

The second was a much longer explanation for professionals. In that one I wrote a script and did a story board. This meant multiple reeds because just like with the jeweller, once a cut is done, it can't be undone for a second take. The very tight close-ups were done both from the front or side and also over the shoulder with a tripod at high extension. But in this case, we did not need to shoot in sequence and it was whole lot better end result. It was also easier on the talent because he was constantly reminded of details by the script as we went through the process.

If you can open up the process a bit to create a situation where it is only partly an event and also partly a set of close-ups, that would certainly help. You can cut the close-ups into the scene in post without needing to have the second camera going at the same time.

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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:45 PM   #10
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Re: Extreme closeups/macro

Rob, this is an older thread, and you may have solved the problem by now.

If not, I have a Canon 500D screw-in diopter you could use. It's really good.

I don't know if Canon has anything similar, but Nikon had a 70-180mm micro lens. Yes, a micro zoom. Very sharp! Really handy. They pop up for sale used regularly, and if I remember right, you can use a Nikon lens on your Canon with an adapter.

You can see mine when you come down here for the shoot, but I don't have an adapter to put it on a Canon body.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:52 PM   #11
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Re: Extreme closeups/macro

ha ha! we may just solve all of each other's problems on this trip!

I haven't had time to try the diopter but we gave the talent a monitor so she could steady her hands within my framing which now remains constant during those shots. She's a very experienced pro so this totally works BUT I'd love to see what your setup does!
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:29 PM   #12
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Re: Extreme closeups/macro

Here's a little more info on that lens.

Nikon 70-180mm Review



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(Sony HVR V1U, Nikon D7000, Nikon D700, Nikon 16mm fisheye, 20mm f/2.8, 17-35 f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, 70-210 f/4, 70-180 Micro, 70-200 f/2.8, 135mm f/2 DC, 200mm f/2, 300mm f/4, Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4, assorted Go-Pros, and many cases of production gear.)
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