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Old July 4th, 2013, 05:59 PM   #1
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Camera settings for a new flyer

I am a new blackbird owner and I am trying to nail down the camera settings. Do you normally shoot pretty wide? How wide? I am solo, so focus is on me. What is the best approach? I know there is autofocus, but is there a better option? Is the only other choice setting for a certain distance and trying to keep the same distance from the subject? Thanks!
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Old July 30th, 2013, 01:26 PM   #2
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Re: Camera settings for a new flyer

Wow, over three hundred views and no one has commented. I really could use the help. By shooting wide, I did mean angle as in 35mm, 24mm, etc. I definitely did not mean aperture.
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Old July 30th, 2013, 02:19 PM   #3
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Re: Camera settings for a new flyer

Skip the autofocus and try to close the iris as much as possible. Go for deep focus. If your cam gives acceptable quality picture with added gain go for more gain in poor lighting conditions. In this way you have more range to let your object stay in focus. You'll kill drama if you have to stay at constant distance
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Old July 30th, 2013, 02:33 PM   #4
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Re: Camera settings for a new flyer

Thanks Ron. Is 24mm wide enough, or should I get something like a 14mm for outside stuff?
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Old July 31st, 2013, 01:11 AM   #5
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Re: Camera settings for a new flyer

Byron, one of the things that made commenting on your post a little difficult was that you asked a pretty vague question. You didn't indicate what camera you are using, which is relevant in terms of the depth of field characteristics of that particular size chip. You didn't say what type of projects you would be doing--weddings? narrative? documentary? All have different types of demands.

It's definitely a difficult combination, a large sensor camera in an environment where focus has to remain constant within a shot. As a point of comparison, when the Steadicam was invented it was a very short time after that the need for remote focus control was identified and resolved. In subsequent years, no-one would dream of shooting 35mm film without such a remote. Yet, now we have thousands of people flying stabilizers with cameras that have similar or less depth of field, and doing set-and-forget focusing. It's somewhat fascinating.

If you are shooting narrative and designing each shot, get yourself set up with software or an app that will allow you to calculate the depth of field available for a given focal length at a given distance and aperture (I use PCam). Properly applied, you can give your subject a range of distances to work within. For instance, on a Canon 7D with a 35mm lens at f5.6, setting the focus at 8 feet will deliver a range of 6'7" to 10'2. The best way to work with that information is to have your subject stand at those two distances, and take note of where the frame cuts them (in this instance, at the waist at the close focus and at the knees at the distant end). As long as you keep the subject within that range of sizes, you will remain in focus.
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Old July 31st, 2013, 08:08 AM   #6
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Re: Camera settings for a new flyer

Thank you. I guess what makes it tough is that I don't know what I need to know. It makes wording the question difficult. I would primarily shoot weddings when using the steadicam. I am also considering using it for real estate walkthrough videos. I have used a 50mm on a VG30, but found that not to be wide enough. It also could not handle low light as well as needed for darker receptions without having the aperture so wide that DoF disappeared. I am purchasing a Canon 6D, to help with the low light situations. I would like to purchase one wide angle lens to use with it on the steadicam. I will then rent a constant 2.8 zoom for events where I need more reach until I can afford more glass. Someone in the wedding area of this forum recently suggested using a DoF calculator for aid in keeping the bride in focus using the 6D while she walked down the aisle toward the camera. Thank you for showing how it can apply here as well. The tip of seeing where the frame cuts them off at each end of the focused area and use that as a guide while filming makes perfect sense. I can see that helping a great deal. I guess now I would just like to know whether to get a 24mm or 14mm lens. I know that no one can tell me what I want, but since I don't know which one I want, I guess I just would like to know what others use for similar circumstances. I just know the 50mm was too narrow.
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Old July 31st, 2013, 03:21 PM   #7
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Re: Camera settings for a new flyer

My favorite is a 21mm on large sensor (35) cam. Mostly, if you go lower with many lenses you'll get vignetting and specially in movement you get bowed lines on the side. Movement, that's what the steadicam is for. Use a 35mm or so to stay more out of sight of spectators. On a cheaper cam with build in zoomlens you could consider mounting a zoomcontroller on your grip handle with the cable around the gimball to the cam. In this way you have control of your width and an escape when you see it's going out of focus, just gently zoom out and gain sharpness. A1/2" chip is best of both worlds in sens. & dof. Like the sony EX1 or 3
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Old July 31st, 2013, 06:34 PM   #8
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Re: Camera settings for a new flyer

Byron,
Take a wander over the NEX-EA50 forum here and "talk" to Chris Harding. He not only uses that camera for wedding but also does real estate walk thrus AND uses a Steadicam. Even though it's not the same camera it is a large single sensor and since he's doing the same kind of work as you he might be able to provide you with some answers. Please keep in mind that he's in Australia so his answers may be upside down... Tell him, Don sent ya! He'll give you a discount! ;-)
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