Focus and Depth of Field
Let's talk about focus this is where things get down to technique and you really need to practice your technique to make it better avoid shooting too shallow at first I know you want to get out there and you want to shoot it tio you know because you want that really cool depth of field the problem is it too oh somebody goes like this they're out of focus that's it's all takes this and so I was over here the other day and they've done it's out of focus and then trying to get him back and focus is going to be even harder and remember movies when they're making movies they're marking off points we've got okay so telling the actor you're gonna hit this mark and then you gotta hit this mark and then I'm gonna come back here behind the kitchen sink and you're going with this mark okay so the actor knows there there and there and then there's this guy whose job his titles focus puller it's his job and if he screws up once he's out of a job seriously and his job is to follow the camera operato...
r and he pull he marks the focus points so they moved the camera here and they marked focus then they moved pull the camera here and they mark focus and they pull it back here and do it again and as the camera's moving that guy knows how to crank it just to hit those focus points so they still have shallow depth of field and it really looks nice but it's precise is a team of people again, right? You ain't gonna have that you're not gonna have that so you have to be careful. I always recommend if you're going to be shooting up close on somebody don't go below one eight one eight is really ambitious you could even maybe say to five somewhere on there you're going to get nice stuff the field and if you ever watch dialogue scenes in movies, they're usually when they cut back and forth between faces it's usually really shallow depth of field why is that? Well, because they want to bring you intimately into the conversation okay? Filmmaking is all about storytelling and part of storytelling is bringing you into certain situations and sometimes taking you completely out of viewing it from a different perspective. So if I'm watching two people have a conversation they want to make you feel like you're right there conversation so they use challenged on the field if I looking vanessa close up, I'm studying her face that wall was out of focus completely out of focus to my eyes and that mimics a shallow depth of field, whereas if you're outside and you're shooting from afar a shot like this per se that's up on the screen you don't need to be shooting a tuo because if you're shooting a tuo he's out of focus and everywhere he is in focus everybody up behind him is out of focus so you don't want that so you'd shoot at like four or five six or maybe even seven one and let the background just be there let it let it be pushed back by its own natural perspective so don't get too ambitious at first so just try to focus using a moderately shallow depth of field and then work your way up like I said before about going home and watching the video up on the screen it's going to be so much less frustrating for you if you go home and actually like what you shot and that it looks good to you because the second when you go home and you just like I was shooting way too shallow it's just going it's going goingto discourage you you know so don't be too ambitious go out there and shoot wide first and then work your way down get comfortable with shooting video first, right? So those are your guidelines so if you want strict guidelines you yeah I would say even to start off maybe up close don't go lower than two five and far away f four but I think one of the biggest fears people have is the fact that they're trying to focus on this itty bitty little screen and it probably looks and focus when it's that big but when you blow it up you realize it not so there are a lot of tricks that I started using when I was first doing that because that was my problems like I think this is a focus but I was going to help me later if it's not so one of the things that we figured out is you can in your live you magnify set your focus and then record maybe you want to check this out if you guys want to switch the live you on the screen here you can see here mike my image is out of focus obviously right? Well, most cameras have this nifty little box and what do you use this for when you're blowing up your images and you want to zoom in on a particular part of the image actually state use he's filming you know, let's just so basically so I'm just gonna put this little box over ken his head and I'm just going to use my magnification told a zoom in this is the one that usually used after you press press play zoom in to see parts of your photo that same magnification, right? Yeah it's exactly the same same buttons of museums and it's in a different place on every camera but all I've done is basically zoomed in on her I've magnified and when I hit record it zooms me back out and I know she's in focus okay now for my here that's interesting and record what I don't see my thing okay so let's see what our apertures that here we are three three two yeah three two on the aperture so she's got a little wiggle room in terms of how much he could move and you can see that there's still deaf the field back there the back wall is pretty much out of focus now if I if I just really go shallow here to like one eight now watch what happens live zoom in she's a little out of focus so I have to kind of so basically you know that is I know she's in focus but any second if I do this or if I do that she's going to be pretty much out of it so from afar we definitely want to keep our our our aperture a little bit more manageable but that's a really great tool to use you can magnify set your focus like precision focus and then hit record when you zoom back out just hit record and you know your subject is in focus exactly so yeah once again magnify real quick so let's go save time and then you could even just back it out if you want it but actually but that's bad that and I do that for everything that I shoot while I'm shooting so you know and listen right up close that I could kind of tell by the sharpness on the lcd screen what's in focus you do learn that over time how to judge your lcd screen versus what you're actually recording and I'm pretty good now you're getting a pretty spot on like I know that's that's pretty much in focus right there okay um I know thats pretty much in focus there so even though that's a that's a two way so you really got to just be vigilant about learning how to zoom in it really will help you will make a big difference so that's a great tool and just knowing that magnification alone should be worth the price of admission because it really helps you when you're shooting video really does okay back to the car and go back here so magnified in live you set your focus and then hit record counted off eight to fifteen seconds okay now the challenge comes when you're working with a subject and you want them to have motion and movement and this is what we're going to demonstrate the next segment when we're actually shooting something we'll get into that part of focus later but okay so our way will not move on that's just next lied yeah you can use auto focus on your camera it is it is not while you're filming okay these cameras even the newest ones it just came out that claim they have searchable auto focus and all. I don't know how I feel about them because it's really tough for a dslr focus automatically without searching, especially in low light. It may work great on a bright, sunny day outside, but the second you get into marginal lighting, you might run into some serious issues, and the last thing you want when you're filming is to see the focus go and just kind of like trying to search for that focus. So what you want, todo? You can actually if you're photographing first, which is when I'm shooting fusion piece, I like to photograph first, then film, so in your photographing mode, you're pressing auto focus, and as long as you and your subject haven't moved, you could just flipped alive and press record, and you're still in focus so it's just another another trick that you can use either magnify or do the auto focus, and we'll demonstrate this, too. When we're shooting kings, he can kind of see it happen as we go. All right, let's talk about some focussing techniques for when you're actually filming that are really going to make things a lot easier on you, how many have used to shoot films, anybody ever having experienced shooting film here? Okay, there I'm sure the people in our audience that have shot film before and a common technique would be something called pre focusing if a bride was walking down the aisle and you were shooting film and you didn't have a way to preview that live, you would set your focus to a certain range and let things come into focus and snap your picture at that point like a bride walking down the aisle you would photograph on a certain pew when the bride walk to that pew, you would snap your picture five pictures and if you're at a feat, which was, you know, kind of the place to be, you knew that you had five or six steps in which to get her and focus, and that was sort of a sweet spot. So when I showed my films when I actually shoot a ceremony that's exactly what we do, we have four different cameras going on, but that camera in the front of the aisle that's getting everybody coming down the aisle is doing exactly that were pre focused that maybe like three, five or two eight depending on the light in the church and what we could get away with wei don't want toby, we want to be is wide as we can, we don't want to be too shall I want to be nice and deep, so we'll just refocus on a certain area and let the bride walk into focus and it's a nice watch it really it was such a beautiful effect especially because you have like this out of focus shot and it's kind of dreaming stand here let me get my focus what I'll do is I'll have one of my have one of my cameron just kind of standing the island so I could just get my focus right and now I'm not gonna move my focus and now back out now let's say the ceremony's about to start now she's in focus right watch this welcome to focus it's pretty you know it really does actually make it look really nice on I can kind of I can play with because I'm like eighty eighth of a second so let's just go well let's focus again so here we are three to have a little bit more wiggle room here back up two sets one too right there focusing and again let me just use my magnifier and make sure good okay now I'll just be all this way for the bride and you know I was all the girls all the bridesmaids are coming down the aisle whom and that she's in focus and then she walks out of focus and so I've got shallow depth of field and my shot looks nice and believe me in my films that shot is only used for two sec or three seconds and like a fusion piece like you saw in that first fusion piece that we we showed you that that shot of the bride walking down the aisle when we cut to it she was actually out of focus a little bit when she walked into focus and she was out of focus it was a three second shot and there's nothing wrong with that at all it's actually it's really beautiful teo and what fewer photographing or filming somebody who moves fast like pets or like children or something along those lines? This is a focusing technique that you really want to really work on. I remember roberts just shooting the perma video wisconsin and they had a lot of pets so what they did you know you can't some pets yeah, they're good and you probably if you're really good pet photographer, you could make them sit there, but sometimes they just don't so they were just we were shooting on the fly is letting the animals just five cats and dogs to kittens not just chaos on the floor, so they just had a toy and would play with the toy above the plane of focus where I wanted them and let them run into it and jump or do whatever they wanted to do. So pre focusing is a really great technique, especially when you're dealing with people that are moving right another technique that we use and again well let's complete the power point here don't try to pull focus what pulling focus is what we were demonstrating before by having mark earmark earmarks here experience cinematographers who are used to shooting video can do this and I've been able to do it myself follow focus you kind of get to know your lenses and how the manual focus ring works and how it feels and if walk toward me I could pretty much get it close to where she's in focused the whole time it's not gonna be perfect don't do that don't try it first no no you know important moments like that just leave it to pre focussing that's why it's so good but you know that's something that comes up practice in the more you practice it them where you'll be able to do it just like with your photography the more you practice the more things you could do that or more advanced so try to keep it simple it's my favorite I have to say out of all the techniques that rob uses or you know that we both use rack focusing is probably my favorite looks like I'm master focus speak with it's really not too too difficult right if we can switch to the live you hear on my camera so stay where you are you're perfect I have it all set up so basically and I met demonstrations with two lenses because I really want this to kind of be what's lost my background right we'll do it here so I want this to kind of really be demonstrated to different lenses so we'll do it first of the fifty the I object the idea behind rack focusing is simply changing your focal plane from one object to another okay so right here again I'm going to use my magic to fire was goingto be something else to make sure she's in focus there we go so she's pretty much in focus we're here looks good now I'm going to switch my focus in the background so I start recording wait till comes up on screen and I'm switching my focus the background okay it takes practice it's not perfect and again I'm just gonna do in the salt come here and you go you go back and forth when you're recording and you're doing this you're going to go back and forth a few times in the same record till you until you get it and you get that perfect one what really amplifies this though is the longer lens right so watch this instead of some details could you that really cool I'm going to switch to a one thirty five bit longer linz and just so you know we have so many questions way do right after this I'm gonna pause and give everybody an opportunity tio answer to ask any questions let me get in position here so what we're going to get some two objects basically just gonna rack focus between them and again, this takes practice is easier to do on a tripod, but if you could master it on a monitor pod you are the poop yeah, back focusing is a really great technique to use for details okay, so I'm just gonna go ahead and I'm gonna it's tough to do looking at the screen here but uses a za kudo to steady when I'm doing this but basically I'm just gonna take my focus and switch it that's it and that's you know that's a very mild example, but that's the idea you just switching your focus from one focal plane to another and it takes practice obviously one of the easiest ways to do wreck focus like that is if you have a table like this you put like I don't know if I'm going to use a wedding example, but the bride's shoes here her wedding ring here and you have your camera on the table here so it's not shaking at all another great way teo teo to make use of that is on the slider. If you wanted to actually locked down onto a slider, you could do some cool stuff with this if you have a macro lens, which I don't have with me, but I always put the fifty on this kind of the idea you can push into focus using slider so for example let's say I'm gonna just focus on something here that's on the table so let's go cameron it's probably live you and let's see what we could focus here on let's go with this little audio recorder here, okay? So I'm just gonna push in and just get my focus here so that's in focus. Okay? That's pretty good. Now I'm getting in your film a hit record let's just pretend a hit record and well, I got a wire attached here so it's not gonna be perfect basically you're pushing into the it's a little shaky because the whole rig is heavy, but you basically pushing into focus like that. All right, so you could be on the rings and save a macro when you're on the rings and you could basically just pull a little bit it gives the libert emotion right? Just simple movements like that really make a nice difference in what you're filming again. This is a little bit not the optimal rig you have on a slider right now, but just to give you an idea, yeah that's that's pretty much it doesn't the two basic techniques for shooting and we're gonna get into some or as we're actually filming, you'll see tomorrow especially, but just for right now just kind of introduce you into how to manage focus his focus is a little bit tricky these two techniques will really help you a lot out in the field. Questions, questions, let's, take some questions do we have any from the students? Fire out? Didn't you talk about using your and the detachable viewfinder? They're to focus? Yes, so how's that different from the magnified button? It's not it just makes the screen larger. I can't demonstrate because I need to have this on for this, but basically if you want to come and test it out there in the break, basically what this does, it just magnifies the screen. So where is bigger? And then when you focus, the edges are sharper, you can kind of really see what's on the screen was staring at a small two inch screen it's really kind of tough to see what's in focus, but having this on helps you to really see the edges and outside on a break sunny day. This is really great because you won't get the glare and you'll actually be able to see the image nice and clear. That was along the lines of my question, but if you are using the detachable on the back and you're also using the rack are you how are you physically? Doing that that's a good question. A lot of times I'm doing sliders and stuff indoors and it's not going to be really bright or I'll position myself. Yeah, I mean there's a couple different workarounds I mean, generally when I'm using the slider, I'm just using the lcd on the back, there is a device called a kudo evey efforts and electronic viewfinder is very similar to a monitor like this it's much smaller and this actually pops onto that, but just the monitor itself is a little bit bigger like this monitor is actually really nice and it wasn't it's just too big for you. I'm very mobile the day of the wedding, so this is a little bit too much for me, but this actually is nice because it really magnifies it really can see the screen a lot better. Is it's a little easier to focus, but outdoors on a slider were indoors on a slider? I'm generally just using this. Yeah, okay online. So from the chat room, c back thirteen asks how does focusing differ on crops? Answer or a ps dash c sensor camera versus full frame? Okay, that's a decent question. I mean, the only difference I find with a full frame over the crops sensor is how much image I get for my lenses. So I'm really not seeing much of a focal difference I don't think because it's everything's manual so we're doing it by eye so it's really not like okay, well this you know theseventy as a what is the one, three or one six? Probably six crop on my focusing is different it's not it is really no difference techniques, same technique supply for manual focus on pretty much every camera work cool already question from ken wallace films in los angeles is there a reason not to use tracking servo auto focus? If you know what you want in focus the well, I want to use it for video because the focusing in general is just not good in live you are not good generally I haven't tested the latest products that rabbit so it's hard to tell like hunting for is very good, actually, but I have here here's the thing the way I approach might like my video and film making is that a movie makers never gonna use all focus, so I mean I mean, I can't imagine a situation where I want to use it. I really can't even have a bridesmaid up the aisle because chances are churches or low light a lot of time we shooting a lot of churches and if that thing's searches on me at the wrong moment, I've lost the shop I'd rather have my destiny in my own hands and just sort of know that I could follow the focus if I ever found a camera that auto focus is perfectly and I wouldn't have to I mean, yeah, maybe I'll give it a shot but haven't found it yet, so if you find if somebody finds one that works for them and they could make it work for them that's great and lead us so maui photo asks when in a rush to get a low tracking shot, do you bother to set up the slider? Or do you simply hold the mono pod upside down, shoot the shot upside down and then flip it in post? I'll never that's what he's talking about the problem with this is never going to be steady. This is not steady, it may look like it's steady, but when you look at this image is not steady it's definitely not study you can there are there are image stabilizers there's actually, some programs haven't built in like final cut pro active had an image stabilizer built in. There are other third party plug ins that had the image stabilizer is that it will actually take your shaky video and make it look steady and that's great, but you're losing resolution when you do that, and I've used it in my films in certain circumstances, but again it's just like when we said before about horizontal or memorizing lines if you want to correct a horizon line you have to scale the image up and he used you know, resolution same thing with stabilizers it's going to scale it up to compensate for the edges so I would never do this now if if I know I'm going to a low tracking shot I will take time and an assistant is worth more than you know for weight in gold in circumstances like that toe have your your assistant feel like hey, I know this happening get my slider and put it up don't my camera from sticking on there we have interns honestly and interest want to work for free and it's fine and we have paid for it too but I mean like you know, we get a lot of interns that aaron into photography they just want to come and watch and observe and learn used them to your advantage take them on let them come along with you on shoots and carry bags and carry mama pausing carrie you know why not the love you're learning exactly? So yeah, you said that you have more questions way do have a couple more for folks who are probably very, very new to video as a question from symptom e with rack focusing how did you switch the focus from one focal plane to another good question I didn't cover that basically just moving I'm basically just moving the focus right? Okay all my lenses have manual focus rings I'm not even necessarily putting the lens into manual focus because I mean it's not I'm shooting in live you and I'm not pressing the shutter release so the lens is not communicating with the camera all right? So I still have the freedom to move my manual focus ring I mean, you could put it manual focus if you want to, but I'm basically just moving it from one plane to another and that's why it takes four five times because you kind of have to judge the amount in motion that you need so if I know what's going to be like a you know, a turn from twelve to nine o'clock all this kind of judges okay? I'm unfocused twelve now nine and just kind of do that three or four times and eventually I'll just get one that works and then I'll hit you I'll use that one it just takes practice but that's how I'm doing it just turning the manual focus, right? Yeah, yeah one pepe asks, is our photo tripod and bullhead adequate when starting out or do we have to upgrade to video tripod and a fluid head? Oh no that's fine absolutely it's a matter of fact I just purchased thanks really appreciate this head is actually this is man photos new photo video head on dh actually works like a photo tripod head so basically has two modes and also sure you guys this it has movie mode and it has a photo mode all right let's get these two switchable modes and what it does is in movie mode I'm able to turn it side to side and I'm able to tilt it up and down. Okay, the nice thing is in photo mode and we all photographers used tripods for their photos for photo taking portrait sessions know that you can flip it vertical so you have both you have the forward back the side to side and then you have this vertical motion which is really nice so most photo heads are like this they have all three rangers emotions yet why not you? If you don't want to go out and spend a ton of money on a video head, you don't have to remember dslr light cameras, photo cameras, they're not these big video cameras, so yeah use what you have I mean there's, nothing wrong with that. I just want to step back a bit because we we haven't answered and some of the earlier question is after we started after lunch and so a number of folks had questions about a shutter speed when we're talking about exposure so sandy sandy p kumar sarah mika really click and frank from the netherlands so it's generally is there and thompson world is there a an ideal shutter speed that you would be at do record video with a shutter speed over fifty c do does your shutter speed matter of set above thirty other than your exposure? And is there a shutter speed you should never go below so these air that's great and this is how we're gonna approach is I'm gonna give you many lesson and shutter speed how this works okay filmmakers try to keep their shutter speeds you know again twenty four frames per second assuming trying to keep their shutter speeds between fifty and one twenty generally because that's natural motion to the eye and the way the best way I can know start this is for those of you those of you here, take your hand. Put it in front of face into this. Everyone at home just did that everybody home. So do this in front of your face. Okay, what do you see? Shout it out! Blur motion. Okay, your eye is not digital. Your eye and your brain, our animal. Okay, your eyes sending the nerves of sending our digital sing or I'm sorry electrical signals to your brain, but it's not digital, okay, so analog has motion I only process is so much information so it's not capturing every little jagged movement because the world we live in this analog light is analog, so the process of taking lead into a camera converting it to digital could make other things happen all right, so when we do this, this is like the equivalent of shooting thirty two like sixty frames per second or six sixty second I'm sorry let me back because I just think I confuse people. We're shooting a twenty four frames per second and this motion generally is like thirty to sixty eighth of a second ok on your shutter speed, all right, the higher up you go on your shutter speed, the faster your shutter speed, the more jagged that motions going to become more clear it's going to be come, the more you're going to be able to see the edges and the more it's going like ten to flicker a little bit it's going to come sharper motion like if you ever seen the movie three hundred and it's just like that crazy chris motion, a lot of action movie, any fight sequences like lord of the rings when you're watching these guys usually like a lot of a really close up shots of access, swing in shields and guy's head just blowing up things like that right it's all crisp motion because the filmmakers not giving you this wide looked at the fight they're putting you again in the fight, but if they put you in the fight a thirtieth of a second or sixty of the second I see anything but motion blur you're just going to see a bunch of blurry stuff so you're going to really get it get the idea of what's happening so they shoot a faster shutter speeds okay, this is going to give more chris motions you can kind of see what's happening dirt flying specks of dirt specks of sweat coming off the face and beads a thirtieth fiftieth of a second not going to see that okay, so they're capturing the motion using fast shutter speeds and that's what you have the freedom to do when you're filming so if you're outside and again it has to do with the environment if you're outside on a bright, sunny day there's no chance you're going to be shooting if fiftieth of a second one hundred eso at two eight not gonna happen it's too bright unless you want to screw nd filters on the your lens and cut down the amount of light coming into the camera it's just not gonna be possible so you're gonna have to do what increase your shutter speed ok and that's gonna bring with it more crisp motion, so answer the question that was posed we don't you physically cannot shoot less than thirtieth of a second when shooting in twenty four frames per second. It just won't let you go below that. Okay? You can't typically drag your shutter that way in video, okay? Some video cameras will like to do it, but it's more of a digital process than an actual slr process, so we don't really have a guideline. I've shot two thousandth of a second before and I think it looks really cool depending on what I'm shooting. For example, I was shooting underneath a waterfall just this past weekend and and, you know, they had a writing room during any session standing underneath the water shall fall and I wanted to see the droplets so I cranked it so like five hundredth of a second nice all the droplets and I kept them in like two, eight or two or whatever it was and that was me it was a conscious choice to do that. Some of the icons can shoot eight thousandth of a second that's probably pretty crazy when you look at it, you know in terms of the motion, so just do what you have to do to get your exposure and then make sure it's what you wanted to look like and storytelling I trialled indoors, I try to be anywhere between sixty and one hundred fifty somewhere that's my kind of bright days outside depending on how bright it is I might be two hundred just depending it's all subjective ken wallace films and andrea thirty eight twenty one and she's from milwaukee I don't remember if I started covered but is it best to use primes or zooms or does it really matter for example use a twenty four to seventy two point eight for more versatility during a wedding or with fifty people better really in general the same rules apply to photography here and months is as a video in lenses if you're using private means is you're going to get a more clean crisp images letting more light into your camera glasses better right so um it translates circulated video you can most definitely use other lenses and zoom lenses so long as you're not zooming while filling not the romantic comedy affect your probably going for it zooming actions you're I never zooms you know so those lenses air still great but any any rule that you have this phrase lenses and photography go translates directly ways are generally for ceremonies when I'm doing my films I use like three three cameras with three, seventy two hundred because we need flexibility we can't move around too much so and we want to get intimately so I'm gonna put two hundred two hundred and I'm going to do all the way in and this cannon seventy two hundred ass is beautiful compression the images gorgeous when zoomed all the way in at shallow apertures that's the look we're going for so in those circumstances zoom lenses are great, we use a sixteen to thirty five to eight for a lot of our slider shots and establish hers, and that just gives us a wide field of view and, you know, generally we're not shooting establishes that one four, so it doesn't matter if I go, you know, higher than to a four or five six I want things and focus, so zoom lenses are great for, you know, situations where you need versatility basically, um then peanut eighty eight from england asks some lenses have built in image stabilization xyz, so if you're using the mono pod, should this image stabilization be turned off? Most lenses with image stabilization are longer focal links way generally trying to shoot longer than one thirty five on amman a pod have a hard time trying to stabilize it image stabilization will help you, but it mainly just delays the motion a little bit. So when you're filming video, if you move your image, stabilization is not going to stop that movement it's just gonna wait four seconds and then I'm going to move so it's sort of like, yeah, image stabilization helps, but if you're on a tripod, you won't need it because you're already stabilized, if you're trying to use it on lens, that with mono pod, yeah, it'll probably help you cut down on a lot of jitter, but any movement in the camera you're still going to see. So we have more questions, but I know we need to keep moving. Yeah, yes, let's, thumb. And we're really trying to give this is this is the heavy stuff right here, because managing focused exposure over time is really tough. So we really again just trying to give you points of information, and then we'll kind of illustrate these women. We shoot, and you'll see how we apply these techniques.