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Pulling Focus on HVX


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#1 Joe Buck

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 12:07 PM

so im going to be shooting a no budget project in my hometown with the hvx200. Were not using any 35 adapter, but some complex shots will happen where focus may be an issue. What would be the best way to pull focus on a stock HVX? Thanks
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#2 Rob Vogt

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 04:32 PM

go into the cameras menu and change the focus marker to Feet (or metric), If you are using P2 you can use the focus assist but not on miniDV for some reason. You're just gonna have to pull off the barrel like any other shoot that doesn't have a follow focus (Im assuming you don't have one) after that. If you want the depth of field chart it is probably comparable to 8mm.

What are these tricky shots?
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#3 Matt Read

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 05:00 PM

My suggestion is to find a good AC. Have him or her pull out some measuring tape and measure out focus for each move (having already set the camera to display focus in feet or meters depending on your preference). Then knowing the distances make start and end marks for each move on the barrel with camera tape and do a few camera rehearsals to get the move down before rolling (though on the HVX you're not burning film, so if you roll on rehearsal and know it's bad you can just delete it). Another thing that would help is getting a follow-focus, but good ones are spendy and since you are shooting "no budget" that might be out of the question for you.

Lucky for you, even wide open, the HVX has fairly deep depth of field, so even if your AC is off his or her mark, you might still be okay. If you can, have an HD monitor on set so you can check focus after each take. And don't worry if you can't find one that reproduces colors accurately, you can use the camera for that; as long as it produces a sharp image, you're in business.
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#4 Dean Braybrooke Gray

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 06:30 PM

My suggestion is to find a good AC. Have him or her pull out some measuring tape and measure out focus for each move (having already set the camera to display focus in feet or meters depending on your preference). Then knowing the distances make start and end marks for each move on the barrel with camera tape and do a few camera rehearsals to get the move down before rolling (though on the HVX you're not burning film, so if you roll on rehearsal and know it's bad you can just delete it). Another thing that would help is getting a follow-focus, but good ones are spendy and since you are shooting "no budget" that might be out of the question for you.

Lucky for you, even wide open, the HVX has fairly deep depth of field, so even if your AC is off his or her mark, you might still be okay. If you can, have an HD monitor on set so you can check focus after each take. And don't worry if you can't find one that reproduces colors accurately, you can use the camera for that; as long as it produces a sharp image, you're in business.


please correct me if i'm wrong people, but pulling focus on the hvx 200 can't be done by marking the lens barrel with focus distances. rotating the focus ring at a very slow speeds doesn't actually adjust the focus, i believe it's the same with the sony hvr z1e, thus your markings will not be accurate. i can't explain the mechanics behind the way these prosumer camera lens work, but on a music promo i shot over 2 years ago on the hvx200, i relied heavily on the focus assist and using the feet/meters function in the lcd display as a rough guide. a hd monitor on set is essential for focus checks with this camera (in my opinion)
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#5 Matt Read

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 11:28 PM

That might be right. The last time I shot on the HVX I used a 35mm adapter, so my AC wasn't pulling focus on the actual camera. That was 6 months ago. It was at least a year before that that I shot anything using the HVX's stock lens. If that's the case, then an AC would be stuck looking at the LCD focus reading, which could be a problem if there's any crazy camera movement.
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 06:39 PM

Don't bother setting the meter to feet and inches and definitely don't bother to mark the barrel. The distances are not accurate (they're an approximation at best) and the barrel turns freely, making tape on the barrel useless. Just stick with the arbitrary number for focus (easy to remember) and get your marks by zooming in and eye focusing. Then you'll have a series of numbers to remember and hit. You need to be able to see a monitor on set (which you should for this kind of thing anyway) so you can see the focus numbers and whether it looks sharp.

The good news is that pulling focus for the HVX is insanely easy and you have to work pretty hard to mess it up.
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#7 Dean Braybrooke Gray

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 07:00 PM

if you can afford a 35mm adaptor (don't use the letus) you would have a lot more choice when pulling focus, isolating the characters or action relevant to the story. it's always a massive effort trying to reduce the depth of field with small chip cameras like the hvx200 (3 x 1/3") especially as you lose a stop at the end of the lens. on the very few occasions i've used the hvx200, i've had a .3ND filter in the kit,
and after finding my frame on a mid or close, i've taken a few steps back (begrudgingly) and matched the frame. it's not much, but it just helps to get the background softer than you had it before.
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#8 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 11:04 PM

Don't bother setting the meter to feet and inches and definitely don't bother to mark the barrel. The distances are not accurate (they're an approximation at best) and the barrel turns freely, making tape on the barrel useless.


That's what I was thinkin'

Just shot a feature on a stock HVX, and did a lot of my own focus pulling, and managed to do OK. DoF isn't too critical considering the chip size, and you can judge pretty well when something is reasonably in focus. Considering what type of equipment you're working with, you just have to make compromises when you're wanting to work on a longer lens and follow an actor.
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#9 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 01:43 AM

Go into the menus and set the evf and viewfinder to both, flip the lcd so it's facing outwards and flat against the body, turn on the edge enhancement and operate off the viewfinder, let your AC pull off the lcd (as long as he/she is on the left side of the cam).
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