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#1 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 07:38 PM

upgrading from sd to hd lesson #1:
accurate focus is much more crucial

the narnia vfx making of featurette on the apple quicktime site starts out with a sit down med shot of the director. and focus is about six feet off. obvious if you watch the hd version, but likely to be unnoticeable in sd.

... no disrespect to whoever shot it...
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#2 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 03:44 AM

If you mean the sit down shot of Adamson at the beginning of the "Battle Preview" clip, then I don't see what you mean. He looks in focus to me, in the SD version, the 480p, 720p and 1080p version's as well.

Edited by Landon D. Parks, 23 December 2005 - 03:50 AM.

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#3 Jason Debus

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 12:22 PM

Posted Image

Looks pretty mushy to me, the tree in the background appears to be in focus but he is not. This cap is from the 720p version.
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#4 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 01:51 PM

Along similar lines, in Martin Scorsese's recent Bob Dylan documentary on PBS: Throughout much of the interviews shot especially for the doc, Mr. Dylan's face is out of focus, but the shoulder of his leather jacket is clearly in focus.

I have no idea if this was intentional or not, or whether it might have been done in post. It looked wierd, even on my SD TV via off-the-air.

Of course, I "been there, done that" myself, so I know how this can happen accidentally, even despite best intentions, and then the interview is _over_, and then that's it. :rolleyes:
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#5 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 04:26 PM

Well, if he is out of focus, it's by very little, and I couldn't tell it in the moving image, although the still does look a little mushy. It could be because of the low resolution of the clip though, or the low resolution of the screen capture.

But reguardless, it looks acceptable to me. You can't get focus 100%, 100% of the time.
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#6 Max Jacoby

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 07:41 PM

On a static medium shot you should get it sharp all the time!
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#7 G . Stephen Bruno

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 07:47 PM

You can't get focus 100%, 100% of the time.


Well, thats a relief!
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#8 Elhanan Matos

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 09:22 PM

It looks like whoever shot it missed the focus by at least three feet... maybe he was just leaning in alot?
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#9 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 12:40 AM

... maybe he was just leaning in alot?



You would expect the operator to be keeping an eye on that and adjusting.
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#10 Stephen Williams

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 04:38 AM

You can't get focus 100%, 100% of the time.


Landon,

What percentage of focus for static subjects is good enough for you?

Stephen
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#11 timHealy

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 10:41 AM

Perhaps it is just me, but I often find it difficult to judge focus with most video camera eyepieces. Could it be that it was shot without an external monitor, the operator forgot to zoom in and focus, or something changed after he or she did, and no one noticed until after the fact.

I'm looking forward to seeing that Scorsese Dylan doc. I heard that it was terrific. I also heard that there was a chance they were going to have it released to some theatres but haven't seen anything. Perhaps that is not going to happen since it has been out for a few months now.

Best

Tim
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#12 Tim J Durham

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 10:55 AM

Perhaps it is just me, but I often find it difficult to judge focus with most video camera eyepieces. Could it be that it was shot without an external monitor, the operator forgot to zoom in and focus, or something changed after he or she did, and no one noticed until after the fact.

Best

Tim

You can set the viewfinder to "ring" on portions that are in-focus. Also, if your back focus is out (or more often the case) your macro ring is dislodged from its' detente, zooming in to focus will not help you. I suspect this was shot with a prosumer camera with the auto-focus engaged. Not a good thing if you don't plan to have the subject in the middle of the frame.

One more reason why prosumer cameras are not quite ready-for-primetime in many instances. Those things can really make you look incompetent. As this guy does.
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#13 Josh Bass

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 01:52 PM

Yeah, it's the prosumer camera's fault. Not the guy who left it on autofocus.

Edited by Josh Bass, 25 December 2005 - 01:53 PM.

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#14 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 02:38 PM

Perhaps it is just me, but I often find it difficult to judge focus with most video camera eyepieces. Could it be that it was shot without an external monitor, the operator forgot to zoom in and focus, or something changed after he or she did, and no one noticed until after the fact. I'm looking forward to seeing that Scorsese Dylan doc. I heard that it was terrific. ...

Happy holidays everyone.

Most pro (and even a few prosumer) camcorders have a "peaking" feature in their viewfinders or LCD screens. Peaking over-emphasizes details in the video, serving as an aid to focussing. It's usually a good idea to keep this feature turned up to at least its half-way point if you're not checking focus on a larger, external high-resolution video monitor -- or when not using a competent focus puller.

I thought the first half of the Dylan documentary was very good, but the second half kinda dragged and fizzled for me. I've never been a Dylan fan, but that didn't stop me from appreciating at least most of the film. I especially love to watch old black & white documentary footage.

I wonder if the focus issue in the recent, shot-for-the-doc interviews with Dylan were a case of His Dylaness leaning toward the camera while they were setting-up and adjusting focus, but then he leaned away from the camera once they started shooting? The more interesting question to me is why those sections of the interview made it into the final cut: I suspect (and hope) it's because they felt the content -- what he was saying -- was more important than whether the image was in focus or not.

But who knows: Dylan has been around long enough that he might do this sort of thing on purpose as a way of tweaking the "media". Can't say I blame him given the inane way the media treats him in the old press conferences depicted in the doc -- these are some of my favorite, and also the most maddening, scenes in the doc.

Or maybe he just wanted to soften his wrinkly face? Not that there's anything wrong with that. :)

Edited by Peter DeCrescenzo, 25 December 2005 - 02:40 PM.

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#15 Tim J Durham

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 02:52 PM

Yeah, it's the prosumer camera's fault. Not the guy who left it on autofocus.

Was that pointed at me, Junior? Go back and read what I wrote.
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#16 Josh Bass

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 03:40 PM

"One more reason why prosumer cameras are not quite ready-for-primetime in many instances"

It seems like that particular knock was directed at the camera, not the operator.
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#17 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 04:14 AM

It's the problem with looking through a small view finder. From working with digital cameras, I've taken loads of pictures that looked great on the 2.5" screen, until I put them on computer later and saw all the bad points. It's because the small LCD hasn't got a great enough resolution to allow you to see that kind of detail.
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#18 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 03:38 PM

It's the problem with looking through a small view finder. From working with digital cameras, I've taken loads of pictures that looked great on the 2.5" screen, until I put them on computer later and saw all the bad points. It's because the small LCD hasn't got a great enough resolution to allow you to see that kind of detail.

It's more an issue of resolution and screen-type, rather than size. For example, the 1.5" and 2" B&W CRT-type viewfinders found on most pro camcorders are typically capable of resolving 600 TV lines or more.

Few (any?) small LCD monitors or viewfinders have similar capability.

Whatever the hardware, the operator should endeavor to use it correctly 100% of the time -- or mishaps are likely to occur. Another good reason to do production work in teams of at least 2 co-operative crew people: No one crew member can perform 100% correctly 100% of the time.
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#19 Michael Collier

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 07:13 PM

Perhaps it is just me, but I often find it difficult to judge focus with most video camera eyepieces.


Exactly. I have one of those pro-600 line veiwfinders on my beta and still have a hard time focusing without the zoom.

Backfocus is the key. If you dont keep your lenses in backfocus what good are you as a photographer? Its like a musician playing an instrument out of tune.

Backfocus your lens 1 a week and after any major incident (getting bumped, being shipped, carry on on a plane etc) it takes 2 seconds.


I dont buy the argument that this was shot on a prosumer camera. Look how far away he is from that backdrop. maybe 4' probably less. With the 1/3" imagers there is one safe thing about focus...if the focus is set too far it will go out of focus easily, but if the focus is near it takes quite a lot of distance for something the be soft. And at the distances the interview was shot (aprox 6' from camera to subj. 4' from sub to background) you would be hard pressed to put something like that out of focus that much.

I would guess its a 2/3" chip either with backfocus completely off, or the operator in a rush to save time (and probably used to SD) zoomed and focused either on the backdrop or on the empty chair back before the director arrived for the interview. not realizing that the difference between seatback and eye would be almost 2-3 feet difference (2 feet lower, 1 1/2 feet back).

Either way, whoever said that we should forgive this guy.....I had to shoot an interview in my first 2 months doing professional shooting. In the winter in alaska in a bus depot. My viewfinder fogged up and I zoomed in 3 times during the interview because my focus looked off. It wasnt as bad as this one, but I can tell you it wasnt fun explaining why the interview was soft, even though it was the backfocus.

In this biz there are no excuses and nobody should be forgiven for mistakes. we all make them, but we should be ultra-detail oriented and hold eachother to the highest standards.(after all, I didnt get into this feild to be a second rate-DP, we should all strive to be the Roger Dekins of the group.)
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#20 Tim J Durham

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 01:45 AM

I dont buy the argument that this was shot on a prosumer camera. Look how far away he is from that backdrop. maybe 4' probably less. With the 1/3" imagers there is one safe thing about focus...if the focus is set too far it will go out of focus easily, but if the focus is near it takes quite a lot of distance for something the be soft. And at the distances the interview was shot (aprox 6' from camera to subj. 4' from sub to background) you would be hard pressed to put something like that out of focus that much.

This argument holds no water. If the guy is 6' from the camera but the focus is set to something 10' from the camera, the guy will be out of focus and whatever is 10' from the camera will be in focus unless you're zoomed pretty wide.

The camera in this video, however, is much more than 6' from the subject. I'd say he's atleast 12' judging from the camera movement so that rules out being zoomed wide and focus inclusive. Also, I'd say the branches behind him (that ARE in focus) are 50% further from the camera, so 18'. The lens was on the telephoto side of normal, not the wide side.

In either case, I'd still call it a f*** up. To me, it looks like it was done by a beginner operator on cheap equipment but I know lots of guys who make expensive equipment perform like cheap equipment.
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