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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
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Old January 12th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #1
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Flying & focusing

Newcomer here. I have been curious for some time now on how you all handle flying a camera and focusing. Do you generally put focus in auto? It seems impossible to run manual focus (or iris for that matter) when using a steadycam type rig.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 12:11 PM   #2
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I've never flown a cam before but I'm pretty sure you would have to set the focus to auto unless flying with a 35mm adapter.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 01:30 PM   #3
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Generally lock it down. When your flying and if your using the rule of thirds your camera will focus on the wrong thing. I generally set my distance, lock the focus and try and keep my distance. If Im going for a distant to close shot I will get up close, focus and then just keep that focal distance.

Auto may be possible if you can keep your subject centred and move slow enough for the servo to keep track.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 01:32 PM   #4
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Auto focus works very well on my XHA1 when flying on a steadicam merlin. Occasionally when circling an object, or trailing a moving object, I will use manual focus, and concentrate on maintaining the correct distance from my subject for the duration of the shot.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 01:42 PM   #5
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I don't do weddings but for event stuff I leave it on autofocus and fly with the subject in the middle. Because the final product is going to be SD, and I'm shooting HDV with an A1, I have some pixel leeway to reframe the shot in post to follow the rule of thirds or however I want to orient the subject in a more creative way. If you have this in mind when shooting, you can manage it without losing too much resolution advantage of the HDV to SD conversion.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 04:03 PM   #6
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I do both. Sometimes I use auto and sometimes I use manual. It depends on the situation. I prefer manual though because that ensures that the camera won't seek for focus.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 07:24 AM   #7
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I'm sure that others have more experience flying than I, but I haven't used a camera with the focus on auto in this millennium. Personal preference and a bit of a control freak here. I'd hate to lose a shot I cannot recreate by having the camera focus on deep space.

I do occasionally fly an HV30 on a Glidecam and lock the focus and it works quite well as long as I mind my distance to the subject. I'll set up the camera to narrow the DOF a bit and it still works. The key is to mind your distance.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 03:30 PM   #8
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what about a wide angle lens? I don't have a wide angle lens, but I do have a fish eye. As long as the lighting does not change, I can focus on something close and make sure the background is in focus too. I lock it down and don't have to change it. Would this not work on a steady/glide cam (with a wide angle lens locked down)?
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Old January 15th, 2009, 06:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Harjo View Post
what about a wide angle lens?
Wide angle or standard, the metric doesn't change. With the focus locked the key is maintaining distance to target. If you want to shallow up the DOF the challenges increase. You can play with shutter and iris for this but it could create challenges. For example, if you lock the shutter and the light decreases the iris will open up narrowing your DOF. Could be a problem if your DOF was fairly shallow to start with. Might be better to let the shutter float and lock the iris if you think big light changes are going to happen, but this is probably a corner case.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 12:17 PM   #10
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normally puling focus on steadicam is a two man job;
I've tried both, lock the focus and watch my distance or autofocus, auto works for me better, I just have to keep framing instead of framing and trying to keep distance, less room for error :)
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Old January 17th, 2009, 02:52 AM   #11
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Assuming that a focus puller's not available, the "traditional" solution would have been to set the focus on the hyperfocal distance but sadly with Z1s and a range of other popular cameras that's not possible.
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