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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
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Old February 18th, 2005, 06:58 AM   #1
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Feedback About The Shot Transition Feature

As some of you may already know, I'm looking to purchase a Z1.

I've just recently discovered that it features what is called Shot Transition.

This sounds very exciting. I've even heard here that it could replace Follow Focus... in some instances, of course.

Can someone with experience using Follow Focus (with a Focus Puller) give some feedback about the Shot Transition feature?

I'm trying to decide if I should buy the very expensive Follow Focus rig or use the Shot Transition feature and rent a Follow Focus when absolutely necessary.

Please note that I'm asking for feedback from folks who regularly use Follow Focus. This is not meant to be a discussion about the merits of Follow Focus.

Thanks in advance!
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Old February 18th, 2005, 10:28 AM   #2
 
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Replace follow focus? Nah....it DOES allow you to create a similar action as a measure/mark with a follow focus. it's very handy feature though, provided your actors hit the mark. Like a rack focus without the stops. A follow focus allows you real time control, even though you still won't have measure/mark features. No electronically controlled lens will give exact/repeatable positioning, but the Follow Focus tools from companies like Chrosziel get you very close to that behavior. One of the Z1's we have has a prototype Chrosziel on it, we have to send it back now, but it's been great to use on some elk we've been 'spying on' near the studio here. That is where you need real follow focus, because you can't predict where the animals will walk. On the other hand, you can instruct actors to stand on place "X" and the shot transition will be just perfect provided actor hits "X"
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Old February 18th, 2005, 05:42 PM   #3
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And keep in mind, the shot transition feature does a *lot* more than just changing focus position. It can govern zoom position, white balance, iris, shutter, all sorts of things. Plus you can control the envelope of the transition, so you can have it do it linearly, or accelerating, or smooth transition, all sorts of neat things.

I wouldn't think it'd be a replacement for a follow focus if you're using actors and marks, as Spot said. The human error element would have to be compensated for by a competent AC pulling focus. But if you're talking about a stationary shot or something where you're not relying on human actors hitting their marks, it can give you a precise (perhaps even better than follow-focus) transition.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 07:39 PM   #4
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Wow! It sounds even better than I'd imagined!

I see how this feature won't replace the need for a Focus Puller or Follow Focus in all instances, but it opens many doors.

So, what's the methodology for using Shot Transition? Focus on Point A, Focus on Point B, pick the amount of time, then set the system? Is there a way to measure the start and stop points?
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Old February 18th, 2005, 08:08 PM   #5
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Well, it's sort of like what you say. Basically you set the camera up the way you want, and program that into the start and end points. Anything that you change (zoom, focus, white balance setting, shutter speed, aperture, all that stuff) between the start and the end point will be smoothly transitioned to (or roughly, or however you tell the camera to perform the transition).

So it's a lot more than focus. And the transition takes place smoothly, much more smoothly than any human operator could do, especially when you factor in all the different things that can be changing.

For example, you could do a depth-of-field shift, rather than a focus shift, if you set the camera up to be f/2 and 1/500 at the start, and f/16 and 1/60 at the end (or whatever the appropriate exposure ratios should be)... then, when you execute the transition, exposure would basically stay identical, but the depth of field would smoothly change from shallow to deep.

Or you could do the same thing with white balance... white balance normally at the start, and use a warm card to white balance for the end. Then when you execute, it'll smoothly warm up your subject.

I'm looking forward to some examples of when people start playing with this feature.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 09:09 PM   #6
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You can also have 3 choices in transition curve:
Linear, soft stop, and soft transition, too cool, there is no way I can do all this smoothy by hand.
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Old February 19th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #7
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The only downside is if you turn the camera off you loose all the settings so the effects has to be used before switching off the camera or you will have to set it all up again. THis is even true if you set to standby with a LANC controller. I was hopeing this would help in presetting focus points on a stage prior to a performance but no such luck. Nice feature though.

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