How to focus your DSLR when shooting video.
Accurate focus is massively important. It is very off-putting when your subject is even slightly out of focus and it can result in people quickly turning off.
In the video I show you three ways to focus your DSLR. The first is for YouTube style videos like this, the second is shooting on the move using manual focus and the third is using the advanced autofocus features of a new camera like a Canon 80d, Canon 70d or Canon 700d with face detection.
Like any photography, the most important thing to get in focus is your subjects' eyes if you are filming people.
In a static situation like this, or an interview, where your subject is not moving manual focus is the best way. Before shooting a video set up something like a light stand or a microphone stand. Position it as close to where your eyes will be as possible. This will be the point where You focus the camera.
Once that is set move over to the camera, switch on live view, position the focus area on the stand at the point where the eyes were positioned, zoom into 10x and then use the auto focus to accurately focus in. Lock the focus into manual before returning to the original position. This is a good way to ensure your focus is accurate to a very fine margin. Remember do not then adjust your position, or the camera position, or you will have to go through the process again.
This sounds complicated but is actual very simple. Put your camera into manual focus mode and start filming. Use the focus ring to adjust focus as necessary for your shot. Extra accessories like a follow focus, magnifying screen or external monitor can make this easier. You can also shoot with a smaller aperture so your depth of field is large. This means your focus does not have to be quite as accurate.
The last way is using autofocus on newer cameras like the Canon 700d or the Canon 70d or Canon 80d. With face detection switched on the cameras do a pretty good job of keeping you in focus but you can also tap the screen to focus into that area. Combined with the new STM lenses this makes auto-focusing a real pleasure although sometimes it will hunt around going in and out of focus for no apparent reason.
The method of focus you use is entirely up to you but having the ability to use all three will ensure you are armed to focus your DSLR whilst shooting video in almost any situation.
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