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GH2 Focusing...

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#1
JimJeffBeam

Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:14 AM

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New Guy here..

I have been filming concerts with my gh2 and 20mm lens (panasonic) . It has been great, but last week I used the auto focus function instead of the manual focus. There were some positives and some negatives,

Positive: I could focus on and off a subject and different objects while I was recording.

Negative: The auto focus is a little too slow or would be focusing on something I wasn't trying to focus on..

So my problem, its hard to focus during the shot with manual focus, either my fingers get in the way or I shake the camera, but I do need shots of musicians out of focus and then coming into focus during a shot.. Auto focus does this great but its not great 100% of the time..

I know it sounds confusing, but any suggestions?

#2
QuickHitRecord

Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:20 AM

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Get a follow focus and a monitor with a good peaking feature like the SmallHD DP4 or DP6. The focus assist feature will help you nail focus every time.
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#3
JimJeffBeam

Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:31 AM

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Hmm Im not sure what a follow focus is but I will llook into one. Is it for manual or auto focus?

Can you recommend one in particular for the gh2?

#4
QuickHitRecord

Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:40 AM

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Definitely look into it. I use an Edelkrone FocusOne Pro and zip tie gears from Half Inch Rails.

You'll also need a 15mm rod system to mount the follow focus, but they can be had for cheap from eBay.

#5
andy lee

Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:56 AM

andy lee

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or... get one of these off ebay cheap and easy to use
I use these alot on hand held shots as I can pull focus easily with it run and gun style

http://www.ebay.co.u...984.m1497.l2649
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Andy Lee
LTI Films
Tecnoir

'If it looks good , it is good!'


#6
JimJeffBeam

Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:38 PM

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They are annoying...

But Andy Lee, does this thing work pretty well? it seems perfect and so cheap, whats the difference between this and a follow focus?

#7
QuickHitRecord

Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:24 PM

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Actually, for your purposes, I agree with Andy as well. If you really get into video work, then you should look into a follow focus. But for now, this solution will work for you. The strap wraps around your lens gear ring and you focus by manipulating the handle. Because the tip of the handle is further away from the lens, you have to turn it more to achieve the same focus pull but this will also stabilize your focus pulls. It also takes the focusing action out of your fingertips, which can only move the focus ring so far, and puts it into your wrists and arms like this:


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#8
JimJeffBeam

Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:16 PM

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Great great I am going to purchase one of these... but whats the difference between this and a follow focus (besides the 100 dollar difference)?

#9
QuickHitRecord

Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:57 PM

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A follow focus is designed to make the focus pull even smoother and more precise by adding more gears between your hand and the focus ring on the lens. Most follow focuses come with markable discs so that you (or your dedicated 1st AC/focus puller) can design and execute very precise focus pulls.
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#10
andy lee

Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:12 PM

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They are annoying...

But Andy Lee, does this thing work pretty well? it seems perfect and so cheap, whats the difference between this and a follow focus?


its very cheap and very simple to use ! I like it as its quick and easy ...it works!! it takes your hand off the lens and stops that heartbeat judder you get hand held and allows smoother focusing

I use a dedicated follow focus on my Tecnoir rig set up

Andy Lee
LTI Films
Tecnoir

'If it looks good , it is good!'


#11
JimJeffBeam

Posted 07 November 2012 - 07:38 PM

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ok im getting one, killer deal.

#12
JimJeffBeam

Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:53 PM

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Some of the gear rings say 45mm-100mm lens, but then others don't say anything. Will this one work with my gh2 20mm or my hyper prime 12mm? any suggestions what to get for a wider lens? or maybe a gear ring that can do all sizes?

http://www.amazon.co...xible gear ring

#13
QuickHitRecord

Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:11 PM

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Some of the gear rings say 45mm-100mm lens, but then others don't say anything. Will this one work with my gh2 20mm or my hyper prime 12mm? any suggestions what to get for a wider lens? or maybe a gear ring that can do all sizes?

http://www.amazon.co...xible gear ring


Looks like that one is adjustable to fit most lenses. See the part of the strap that sticks out? That's excess gear tread. If you want to err on the side of caution, I recommend that you ask the seller how long the gear tread is and then the math. But I doubt that you'll be shooting with any lens with a diameter of more than 72mm.

#14
galenb

Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:41 PM

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Yeah, that one is cheap but I don't think it's actually going to help you out much. If the issue is that when you touch the lens it causes the camera to bump and shake the footage, then what you need some way to stabilize the camera. If you get this, when you move the focus lever, it will cause the camera to roll (rotate on the Z axis) a little. Maybe even more then when just using you hand on the lens. This lever mechanism is a good invention for tripod use or when you have the camera mounted on a shoulder rig though. The follow focus is a better solution because when you turn the knob, you are only moving your wrist in the cameras X axis which is actually easer to counter with your right hand then the Z axis rotating. Another advantage is that you are turning your wrist so that when you want to focus on something closer, you turn your wrist towards you and away from you when you want to focus on something farther away. It's just more natural then rolling the lens back and forth. BUT, the big issue here is that since you are using a pancake lens, I don't know if you can actually get a follow focus on this. Maybe someone with a pancake can chime in on this?

Actually, What I think you need is a shoulder rig more then anything else. Just something that gives some more stability so that when you touch the camera it doesn't move and shake as much. The Camera will be more stable with more points of contact.

I have a little secret here:
Posted Image

http://www.amazon.co...pd_rhf_se_p_t_1
It's ridiculously cheap and pretty good quality to boot. And best of all, it comes with a freaking follow focus! This thing is an amazing value. Just the follow focus alone is a $100.

But the question is still whether any follow focus works with a pancake lens.
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#15
galenb

Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:29 AM

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Another thing I just thought of is that with the 20mm pancake, the focus is by wire with no hard stops and not necessarily repeatable. Because of this there's no way to guaranty that the lever of the lever type focus is going to be on the right side of the lens for your hand. In fact, now that I think about it, you might not be able to use those adjustable belts with a follow focus either. Because at some point the clasp could get turned around the lens and jam up with the focus gear that hooks up with the lens gear. Hmmm. There's no easy way to explain this... I hope you are able to follow my train of thought... At any rate, it will take some careful planning and learning to get it right.

So, for the one I indicated above (which is this one), it looks like the whole gear box can be rotated 180 degrees when you loosen it to move up and down on the vertical mount. This way the gear can be turned so it is closest to the lens instead of the gear box running into the camera body first. I don't know if that makes sense but I think it will work.

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#16
galenb

Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:41 AM

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Yeah and while we are on the subject of points of contact, this will help keep things stabilized too:

Posted Image

http://www.amazon.co...U/ref=pd_cp_p_2
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#17
galenb

Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:03 AM

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Okay, no more after this I promis:

http://www.dvxuser.c...35-Follow-Focus
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#18
JimJeffBeam

Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:31 PM

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o wow Hey Thanks galen...

Interesting stuff...

1.Is that viewfinder similar to getting an external monitor? Meaning, will it help you see the screen better? Is that its main function?

2. That follow focus/stabilizer is so cheap I may have to get one.. I can't find any videos on that product showing how it works, how does the stabilizer work? I already have invested in a tripod..

#19
galenb

Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:01 PM

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Sorry, I don't want to mislead you, It's not a stabilizer like as in a steadycam. It presses up against your body and give you a more stable grip on the camera. It's meant to give you the most points of contact with your body in order to give you more stability and reduce camera shake when doing hand held work. Really, they call this a DSLR shoulder rig but since it doesn't have a part that goes over your shoulder, some people call it a chest stabilizer.

The main reason I suggested the eye piece is that it's would add to increase the points of contact. So you'll have the camera touching your chest, hands, and head. The main function of the Eye piece though is essentially to magnify the back 3" display and make it into a viewfinder. So, it's not really a replacement for an external monitor. It's something that you would use when you were shooting with the camera close to your face like in this situation. In situations where the camera is father away from your face, like on a tripod or low slung while holding the top handle, a monitor is obviously more beneficial and the viewfinder wouldn't really do anything for you.
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#20
JimJeffBeam

Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:34 PM

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ok ok I hear that... I think external monitor I am going to eventually need to get anyway so I will stick with that..

But still can't decide on the follow focus or the gear ring.. Where is the crank for this follow focus with this stabilizer? Is that how the follow focus works? Do you know of any videos, I just can't picture this thing working in my head (with gh2)..




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