do you auto-focus with Glidecam? at

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Old May 14th, 2004, 04:28 AM   #1
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do you auto-focus with Glidecam?

I have been watching alot of behind-the-scenes videos lately. I noticed that glidecam/steadicam operators don't touch the lenses for focusing.
how does it work? they set them on auto-focus? I don't trust my XL1s with AF.
Nawaf Alali is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 14th, 2004, 06:04 AM   #2
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On a SteadiCam, the focus is pulled remotely by the First Camera Assistant or "Focus Puller". The fine art of constantly judging distances between moving objects is a thing of beauty.

As for the pro-sumer GlideCams, etc., since you are generally shooting wide, I turn the auto focus and the stabilizer off and work a "split" on the focus where the depth will hold somewhere between 5 feet and infinity. Of course, all of this is dependant on the architecture of your shot and your lighting conditions.

"The future ain't what it used to be." Yogi Berra.
Rick Bravo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 14th, 2004, 10:49 AM   #3
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What Rick said.

Where it gets complicated is if you are also implementing some version of a 35mm lens adaptor, either commercial version or home-made. Trying to work a split with shallow depth-of-field is functionally useless, unless you were able to shoot with a combination of wide lenses (25mm or less) and deep apertures (5.6 or greater i.e. 8, 11 etc). Under the "1.8" or die!" philosophy of many who shoot with 35mm adaptors, you would be required to use a remote (wireless) focus system as Rick indicated, which start at around $5000 at their most rudimentary, as well as a highly skilled focus puller.

Fortunately, regular DV's depth is so great that a "set and forget" setting will work for many types of moving shots.

Outside of the functional issues with touching the lens while operating Steadicam (it affects the stability of the system), we need both our hands to work the rig itself! I should be fair and point out that some operators who work primarily in live TV have rigged zoom and focus controls to their handgrips so that they can function as one-man-bands (for concerts, award shows and the like), but generally they are shooting pretty wide and don't have to achieve critical focus.
Charles Papert
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