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Old June 23rd, 2006, 06:30 PM   #16
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The zoom in to focus is the only way I work; I agree, it's hard to see accurate focus on a small monitor, and packing a 20" or larger monitor in the field (literally) is difficult. Just remember to get your back focus adjustment right, and check it often; small temperature changes can throw it out. If it's not right, when you pull back from full tele, you won't know if you've maintained focus (those big hollywood types call it racking). Search this forum for "back focus", you will find an excellent discussion on the matter.

Shooting SD, we probably didn't always get the focus right either, but it was so low rez no one could really tell. With HD, it is critical, and you can't get away with it. Just to share my experience, I began in 2002 with an HDCAM, and I initially screwed up probably 70% of my shots, mostly due to back focus issues. By late 2004, I was able to actually pull focus on a moving subject, and get it right 90% or more of the time. 100% on static subjects. Takes time and experience. And checking back focus before every shot.

Also, the smaller imaging chips (and resulting pixel size) do not allow the use of smaller f-stops; your ideal is around f4 to the lower end of 5.6. If you use like f8 through f16, your image will also look fuzzy, just like out of focus. Anything more open than f4 and other problems arize. Google "Airy disc" and you will find plenty of scientific explanations of the theory.

Good luck,

Gary Morris McBeath
SaltAire Cinema Productions
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 06:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Morris McBeath
Anything more open than f4 and other problems arize. Google "Airy disc" and you will find plenty of scientific explanations of the theory.

Good luck,

Gary Morris McBeath
SaltAire Cinema Productions

Yeah but that's where you need to go if you're going to get any kind of shallow DOF on tight shots.
I work wide open a lot on dramatic stuff, but I've done countless tests and setups to get great images with good separation.
It's like any instrument- you've got to master it to play the hard parts.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 10:37 AM   #18
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I'm stuck on the part where you have a DP and your footage is out of focus...This would technically be the DP/Camera Operator's job to assure focus, not the producer/director's. The statement "I relied on my DP way too much" disturbs me. He/She are there for you to rely on. That way, you can concentrate on other parts of the production, knowing that it will come out ok.

I've shot a feature, my DP couldn't make most of the shoot. Lots of my footage came out defocussed and mis-framed due to the fact that I was producing, directing, DP, Sound, Set Design, Costume, makeup and hair on most of the shoot...I had other folks lined up, but legitimate things happened that disallowed them from showing up. If you are concerning yourself with the parts of the production that others are supposed to be doing, they will all be done in a substandard fashion.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 12:10 PM   #19
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I shot A infomercial yesterday, and like always used my focus assist,, shot at 5.6, came home and saw the material on my 32' HDTV720p, component in, It's all in focus. I used a sony field monitor and focus assist to check on my focus. The thing a do is use focus chart, before my shoots, that back focus thing can get tricky.
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Old June 25th, 2006, 12:40 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole McDonald
I'm stuck on the part where you have a DP and your footage is out of focus...This would technically be the DP/Camera Operator's job to assure focus, not the producer/director's. The statement "I relied on my DP way too much" disturbs me. He/She are there for you to rely on. That way, you can concentrate on other parts of the production, knowing that it will come out ok.

I've shot a feature, my DP couldn't make most of the shoot. Lots of my footage came out defocussed and mis-framed due to the fact that I was producing, directing, DP, Sound, Set Design, Costume, makeup and hair on most of the shoot...I had other folks lined up, but legitimate things happened that disallowed them from showing up. If you are concerning yourself with the parts of the production that others are supposed to be doing, they will all be done in a substandard fashion.
Yeah. That statement disturbs me too. :) If I wasn't worried about doing other stuff on set that I shouldn't have been doing (running, set dressing), I might have noticed. I know the DP is there for me to rely on, and next time I'll have one that's experienced with this camera AND shooting/pulling focus on HDV.

I have another 2 day shoot scheduled for Aug and need a DP skilled with this camera. If anyone knows anyone that's REALLY GOOD, please let me know. This next shoot is really important to me. I need someone who's Johnny-on-the-spot.
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Last edited by Heath Vinyard; June 25th, 2006 at 11:09 AM.
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Old June 29th, 2006, 08:14 AM   #21
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Reply from DP

Does this seem possible to anyone?

"You may be looking at a VTR/backfocus or lens malfunction."

Som eof my footage is very much in focus. Wouldn't a problem like this manifest itself each and every time? Also, of the scenes that are out of focus, it's the subject that's out of focus. Like focus was pulled on a different subject in frame. Most of the time, that different subject is the clapper, and focus is not readjusted after.

I'll see if I can post a clip of this. Replies on this would be helpful, since if it is a lens malfuction, I'd like to correct it ASAP before my next shoot.
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Old June 29th, 2006, 01:01 PM   #22
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This is all very interesting. I'm looking at the Marshall myself. We're talking about the V-R70P-HDA right? it looks very interesting. Can anyone comment on how it performs in daylight? Does it have underscan or 'truescan'? What I'm getting at is - can I see the entire picture?

Does anyone in the UK happen to know where to get this without paying double the price?
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Old July 1st, 2006, 03:45 AM   #23
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Don't be too quick to blame the DP, after all, you get what you pay for.
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Old July 1st, 2006, 11:54 AM   #24
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If the clapper is in focus and the main subject out, it's entirely possible that the camera was just never refocussed on the subject. Most of the time, the clapper is clapped inches from the subject so there is less of a chance of focus being lost or forgotten. I'm making the assumption that if you're using a clapboard and a DP that auto focus isn't being used. With all of the stuff that tends to happen all at once on a shoot, I always make sure to call out focus before rolling to make sure I remember as the DP as well as the Director. There's often just too much happening to not use a checklist...which I've posted here in the past:

Actors and Director:

This is all done on the set with the DP and crew taking notes...they will use this to set up the shot
Readthrough
Block

DP and Crew:

I recommend fluorescent lights for the lack of heat
Use stand-ins/PA's while the director goes over the scene with the actors
Props
Lights
Framing
Adjust Focus
Adjust Polarizer (yes, even indoors I use them)
Check for glare from the lights
Check frame for extraneous contents (mic stands, exposed logos, people's feet)

All Together Now:

Adjust Exposure
Check Focus
Check Sound Level
Recheck Focus
Quiet Please!
Rolling sound (if separate)
Announce shot for audio
Rolling Cameras
Slate
Background!
Action!
... (listen for sounds other than what the actors are supposed to be making)
Cut!
Lather
Rinse
Repeat
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Old July 1st, 2006, 10:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Varner
Don't be too quick to blame the DP, after all, you get what you pay for.
I'm not placing blame on anyone, I'm just trying to figure out what went wrong and how to correct it for the future.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 06:56 PM   #26
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I'm resurrecting this thread after spending the day with the camera, new Sony LCD HD monitor and the Firestore DR-HD100.

Now, for a recap, the DP was getting focus by the zoom in and focus, zoom out to frame method. When I did this, keep in mind Im more novice than anyone, I quickly saw that zooming out left things out of focus. Ok, back focus issue, I thought. Broke out my manual, turned to the page, set back focus. All in like 2 minutes, including manual skimming time. So I begin to shoot. Everything is IN FOCUS. All the time, no matter what I do, or where I go, Im able to grab focus and pan and grab focus. Everything is looking great on camera. So I check the 17 HD LCD monitor. Were looking good there too. Now the DP told me the focus assist was broken, so I turn that on and give it green and start checking that. Works flawless to me.

Ok, firestore time. I pull out the firestore and start testing that. Doing some complicated (to me) shots in my living room. Pull focus, then do some slow zoom stuff, pan to new subject while pulling focus, pan some more. All in one shot, all keeping focus. Recap, novice here.

So just to dump salt in my wound, I grabbed a subject about 10 feet away. Focused on it and checked the focus ring for the measurement. Just under 10. So I broke out a tape measurer and checked to see if it was right. 97 away from the camera.

So, there is the story. Nothing broken, just a little adjustment needed. I dont really know what the moral is here, other than double check things and have a big HD monitor on set. After burning my tests to dvd and watching it on my 65 HDTV, everything looked great. If I ever get my XBOX 360 back from Microsoft, Ill try streaming an HD version of my test. But for now, Im completely satisfied with the equipment.

Thanks for everyone that chimed in or is going to.
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