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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.
Rich Harrington: We started to see the shallow depth of field kick in as we open up that aperture more and more. Robbie Carman: Uh-huh! Rich Harrington: So Rob, sometimes people like this right? Robbie Carman: Well, over the past couple of years Rich, it seems like shallow depth of field and DSLRs go hand- in-hand with one another. In fact, if you look at the different websites out there, it seems like all anybody cares about is getting focus to be about that thick, about the thickness of a piece of paper. Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: And there is a benefit of using a prime lens. Because we have those wider maximum aperture values, your depth of field and how shallow you can go with that depth of field is much greater than say on a zoom lens that can only go down to f4 or something similar.
Rich Harrington: Yeah, and so this is a benefit. But remember, if you're dealing with a subject that's moving, it could be tough. So one of the things I want you to think about is really controlling this. So if you're dealing with an interview subject, maybe you are going to go around 2, 2.4; that's going to allow them to move in and out a little bit. If you're doing something like a tabletop shot where you are shooting a product, you can kind of get away with going as wide open as your lens does, and that allows you to rack focus from foreground to background or maybe you are using a turntable shot with something spinning, and you want to go ahead and see it sort of come from out of focus, in focus.
There are lots of ways of doing this, but let's actually take a look at it right here on the table. What we've got here is our subject and we are opened up all way at 1.4. Now I'm going to zoom in and check focus, and by zooming, I'm doing a digital zoom, not changing the prime lens, because remember, you can't actually zoom a prime lens. So Rob, on my Nikon here, I'm just hitting the magnifying glass to go in, it's similar on a Canon and another manufacturer, right? Robbie Carman: Absolutely! And this is always a good way to check focus by zooming in on the image sensor. Rich Harrington: So I'm just rack focusing until I find it. That looks pretty good.
I can also use the auto-focus feature sometimes on the camera that will lock up. We've got that, and then I'm just pulling back out and you see that we've got our foreground and subject, the flamingo, whose is doing a great job-- Robbie Carman: He is a character actor. He is great! Rich Harrington: It's a little out of focus, and the zebra, we don't even need a model release for him, because he is completely out of focus. Robbie Carman: Now Rich, there is one really big important thing I do want to mention about shooting at very wide maximum aperture or values with the prime lens. Is that--it's one of those things just because it's there, doesn't mean that you should always do it.
And a good example of this is something like landscape shooting or outdoor shooting like in maybe in an establishing B-roll shot, right? It pays sometimes to actually have things in focus and not to have everything be blurry, and when you do things like even interviews, you got to be careful, right, because the last thing you want is you're filming the CEO of a company, or a politician, or you're an actor on set, and having them just by subtle movements going in and out of focus, that can be distracting to the audience. So oftentimes I'll do an aperture that's pretty wide and pretty fast, but maybe I'll back off it just a touch.
Rich Harrington: So let's do that here. So we are on 1.4. I'm going to go head and change that. We'll go all the way back up to a little more respectable 2.8 Robbie Carman: Yup Rich Harrington: And in this case we still have a pretty good light in the camera, we put a light on the scene. We're not trying to shoot in the dark, and I'll just bump that up to about ISO 400, and now, the hyena, the flamingo are both in focus and the zebra is just sort of hanging on background, but we can tell it's a zebra and not a black and white blob. Robbie Carman: Absolutely! And that's a good way or sort of good thought to sort of tie this movie, and in the last movie, in this question for this week together, is that as you increase that number, getting to a bigger number, you're going to have to adjust other settings on your camera.
Like the ISO or God forbid, even add some more light into the scene, right? So it's one of those things where the shallow depth of field is a great characteristic of a prime lens and it has really good uses sometimes, but in my mind, you got to be careful about shooting very, very wide, and it's also not a substitute for things like lighting. Rich Harrington: Yeah, so this is just a great way to take more control over the shooting situation. One of the things I really like is that this just gives me more flexibility. So in this case, I am at 2.8. If my lighting situation were to change, I've got plenty of overhead, I could change the f-stop.
I could easily bump up the ISO, so a lot of flexibility. All right, when we come back, we're going to look at the last issue which is cost, and the funny thing is when it comes to prime lenses, you can spend a little or a lot. It all depends on your shopping habits.
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