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Old November 30th, 2009, 06:31 PM   #1
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How to pull focus and pan the camera at the same time?

As you see in movies sometimes the camera pans from one side to the other to focus on a different action, sometimes these 2 actions are at different distances from the camera. In a movie production with a big camera there is a person in charge of only pulling the right focus at the moment of transition but how do you do it with a small camera and with you being the only operator?

Ive tried putting the focus on automatic but while the camera repositions and the auto function focuses it takes1 --2 seconds that look really bad, if you have the camera in manual you need 3 hands to pan and change the focus at the same time. Can anybody share any techniques how to accomplish this?

I shoot with a Sony V1U.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 06:34 PM   #2
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The V1 has a Shot Transition function for just this purpose. Page 46.

Or you could use a LANC remote on your tripod handle to manually focus as you pan. Mine has both "Push Auto" and manual near/far focus controls.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 04:37 AM   #3
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Wrap some white tape round your focus ring, focus on the first subject, mark the ring, then focus on the 2nd subject, mark the ring, now when you pan you can change the focus quickly by moving the ring exactly to the 2nd mark.
You can do this with more than one mark on the ring, ie, some one walks toward you, stops, walks some more and stops, then walks more etc, shot transition is no good for this as it can only set 2 points.
Masking tape and a fine marker pen does the trick.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 11:59 AM   #4
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As the V1 does not have a true mechanical focusing ring like the EX1, I'm not sure how well this would work. The V1 ring is servo-controlled and just spins endlessly, so pretty hard to calibrate from all accounts. And I'm pretty sure that if you moved quickly from one mark to the other, it would change focus by a different amount than if you did it slowly.

Worth a try, I guess.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 02:03 PM   #5
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I can second Adam's suggestion of shot transition in the V1. I use it (for example) to get a lovely smooth zoom in or out at a constant speed with a nice soft start and stop while I am panning gently.

Set it up with start and finish zoom and focus, then off you go. It's one less thing to worry about in the shot.

It's not very practical if your action is a sport or something else fast moving, but more than suitable if it's a shot you can rehearse and repeat.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 09:05 PM   #6
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This is an example why I left Sony's Handy Cams years ago. I used to use a LANC control with my Sony DVCAM years ago to fairly good effect. It helped a lot since it had zoom and focus with seperate controls on the same unit (varizoom). If you plan on doing this technique a lot, then you will want a camera with a real mechanical lens, or else decide to shoot differently.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 01:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Mayer View Post
if you have the camera in manual you need 3 hands to pan and change the focus at the same time. Can anybody share any techniques how to accomplish this?

I shoot with a Sony V1U.
Thanks
sorry old thread, but i dont understand the 3 hands needed?
body up to a tripod, with the tripod arm stuffed under your armpit, now you have hands free pan, grab the spinning (freaking digital) ring and do a manuel focus
that still leaves one hand free? whats it for Iris and zoom?

of course that trick (perfect rack focus manuel with digital spinning lens) never works, but if you practice the exact same action a few times (or a few hundred) you can do it with less misses than the auto.

turn off the auto, shoot for free days (meaning where nobodys paying) without it entirely, Human will become "at one with the camera" , feel the lens through the digital rings, say the mantra , become binary , see only through the lens (with eye stuck on VF) , grashoppah learn great skill. it is in your nature to be able to do this, use the force , and two or three passes by the exhaust ports.
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