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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
So Rich your DSLR looks like it's on It's supermobile. Performance-enhancing drugs or something. What are, what's going on here? Well, this is the Panasonic AF100, which a lot of folks like. We actually are using, you know, DSLR style lenses on it. Mm-hm. A lot of people will adapt Canon lenses for it. Or there's a wide range, Zeiss Primes. This is the logical evolution of, we had DSLRs, everyone fell in love with the large sensor look. And this was Panasonic's response of giving us some of the features that we're used to on a proview camera like SDI output and others.
And we'll take a more detailed look at this actually in a few weeks. Sure. But, we've got it hooked up. We've got a Follow Focus on the side here, you know. It works really, really well. And this is going to make it very easy for me to tell what's happening as I'm making my focus. Yeah, now, just take a step for pause for one second here, Rich. because the follow focus, and we've talked about this in other episodes. The follow focus has a system of mechanical gears that there's gearing on the lens, there's gearing on the follow focus. Yep. And it does a couple of things, right? By taking your hand off the actual focus ring on the lens.
You're getting less vibration, less movement, less noise, all that kind of stuff. The other thing that it does for you, is because it's a system of gears, like any machine, gear, pulley, that kind of thing, it's actually going to give you even further distance in which you can adjust the focus. So you're moving large distances on the actual focus wheel itself, on the follow focus, but you're moving smaller distances on the actual focus ring on the lens. So what this really means and allows you to do, is make nice, natural movements on the follow focus ring but make very precise movements on the actual focus ring on the camera. Yeah and that's what you're seeing here.
We've got that larger ring here. You know, you've got a good dial to grab onto. It's stepping into another gear, which attaches to the lens itself. Yep. And as I turn that, big movement over here, still results in pretty small movement over there. Yep. And that makes it very easy to pull. Now I'm going to go ahead and get this set up. I've got my shot framed and I'm using a monitor here to make it a little bit easier to see things and one of the options I've turned on is something in the monitor called focus in red.
Mm-hm. So as I adjust that and it comes into focus, I start to see red edging. And that helps me see when I've got focus, like I do there. The edges are in focus. The eyes are in focus. The eyes are in focus. And that's an extra benefit of a monitor. Yep. Now I've got it here, and you might think oh, that's only available on those really expensive cameras. No. The Zacduo EVF has the same thing built in. And so that focus on red, really useful because you're getting basically visual feedback.
Oh, you've achieved focus. Now Rich, so you've got this first subject in focus. Yep. Let's take a look at actually making the rack. Yeah. With the with the follow up focus. Well one of the things I've done here is. You see there is this little tick mark here on the side. And I could adjust that and different follow focuses are going to work differently. And what I want is just to have that in my line of sight. And then taking my fine tip marker here, I'm just going to put a little mark there. To basically identify. Yep. There's my focus point. Yep. There's my focus point. Yep and different Follow Focuses some of them will be writable like this.
Other ones you might have to use little slivers of tape. Yeah, a lot of people cut, and, and some people don't want to use this. They'll just take tape and cut little triangles with sharp tips on them. Mm-hm. That's great. Well, I've got this and I'm just going to adjust my pan a little. I've got my subjects in, and I'm going to rack focus the other way. Now, as I turn that, notice, you know we're pushing both subjects out of focus. They're kind of into infinity there. Yep, and I take it, start taking it around. I'm coming up on my mark, and yep, there's the first monkey in focus. Yep.
And I keep going around and that second one is looking more in focus. Now again, I'm going to take advantage of my focus in red there, and it's definitely showing more focus there. A little bit of red on that first monkey, but I could see that it's not really in focus. It's pretty clear. kind of the edges, yeah. And that other one looks good, so on my ring, I'll just put a second mark. Yep. There we go. And this is very much like the technique that we did earlier where we just took a piece of, you know, tape and put it on the lens barrel itself, like here, and made those points.
Yeah. We're trying to find visual references That can be repeatable. Now, on some follow focus systems, you can take this up a notch. Now granted, taking it up a notch of course means You might pay more for the follow focus than you did for your entire DSLR camera. Right, but some follow focuses will also have hard stops, where like that little knob adjustment you made on the back of the Follow Focus. You can make 2 or more multiple, points that are hard stops. So when you actually rotate the follow focus, guess what? They stop at those points, so. Yeah. You can't overshoot it or undershoot it and that kind of thing.
But with this visual feedback here, it becomes very easy for me, and I can just look right at the marks on the ring here. Mm-hm. And, pull between that. Absolutely Now Rich, on this particular Follow Focus you might notice that there's one extra piece of gear attached to the Follow Focus. I noticed it, I was touching it. Well yes, but, what is it? Well in this case, we have a crank and this is just transferring even more. Got a nice easy handle so as I pull that. Yeah. I'm even, you know I'm less grabbing and cranking at the rest. It's giving you more leverage and more sort of fine control over that follow focus.
Now, you might also see on certain follow focuses systems, a whip, and a whip is just a longer version of a crank, if you will. Yeah. It's more of a string, and what that, Your assistant could stand off at the side. Yes. And they could make moves, or if you're looking at the monitor, you could stand to the side and turn it. Again, it's just a way to minimize the vibration and give you the force you need to make this turn. Absolutely. And it's just easier. Now, we definitely have that there. You see how easy that is to pull between those two values. You could see there, you know, we go from the background in focus to the foreground in focus.
All the things you've learned here, just another way of using the follow focus. And that's one main advantage here, is making it very easy for that to be a repeatable rack focus. Right. And so at the end of the day, there's a lot of different ways that you can perform rack focuses. And you know, lens choice goes into it, right. We find it easier sometimes to use fixed aperture lenses, or prime lenses, simply because the quality of that background blur is going to remain constant as you're adjusting focus and moving back back and forth.
And you know, zooming lenses you can kind of run into problems sometimes if you're, you know, you're doing zooms, that your background blur quality's going to change and that kind of stuff as well for doing rack focuses. But for the ultimate control, I think we just hit it, right? Is a, is a follow focus unit, it's going to give you sort of the most tactile and repeatable control over performing nice rack focuses. Right, so it doesn't matter what your budget is as long as you start somewhere. Remember, you could just pick up a cheap, old prime lens and have that flexibility with the wide apertures to get started.
And then as you get up in quality of production, you might step up with equipment. For lynda.com, my name's Rich Harrington. And I'm Robbie Carmen. Thanks for joining us.
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