Forums > Photography Talk > Focusing Video on the Nikon D800

Photographer

Extrosy

Posts: 656

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

How are you supposed to maintain focus on a moving subject?  The screen isn't big enough, and you can't zoom the screen in once you start recording.

Apr 24 13 04:04 pm Link

Photographer

BareLight

Posts: 509

Kansas City, Kansas, US

I haven't used the D800 and don't know if it has the ability to track a moving subject while shooting video but, generally speaking, an external monitor would make this considerably easier.

Alternatively (or in addition to an external monitor) a follow focus system with hard stops can be handy when you know a subject is going to move from point A to point B.  Basically, you pre-focus the camera for both the A and B positions and set your stops to take out the guesswork while shooting.

Apr 24 13 05:40 pm Link

Photographer

Jean Renard Photography

Posts: 2080

Los Angeles, California, US

shoot fixed or focus manually.  No DSLR focuses fast enough in video mode for any sort of real world action.

You can get an external screen for the dslrs (and a holder), soon the simple rig can become not so simple and pretty expensive as you get more and more accessories. For some projects it can be worth it, but renting pro gear makes sense for serious productions.

As you move up the food chain into the reds or even the new 4k models coming out, all of them are manual focus

Apr 24 13 05:55 pm Link

Photographer

Images by MR

Posts: 7770

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Jean Renard Photography wrote:
No DSLR focuses fast enough in video mode for any sort of real world action.

Really?

Apr 24 13 06:02 pm Link

Photographer

Images by MR

Posts: 7770

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Extrosy wrote:
How are you supposed to maintain focus on a moving subject?  The screen isn't big enough, and you can't zoom the screen in once you start recording.

I use the hoodman when shooting video.  Lets you see what you're shooting & what the focus is on

http://www.hoodmanusa.com/products.asp?dept=1066

Apr 24 13 06:06 pm Link

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Photographer

-JAY-

Posts: 6694

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

External monitor and a good focus puller.

Apr 24 13 06:23 pm Link

Photographer

Sonn

Posts: 338

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The d800 can refocus during recording.
If your subject is moving slow enough you can just move the focus point and refocus(it gives a certain look though which may or may not work with what you are doing).
Its good for focus pulls though.

If somebody is say walking towards you though, you either have to shoot with alot of depth of field or else measure everything with a tape measure and use a focus puller.
Or the final option is if you get focus with say about f5 then you move yourself and just make sure you stay an even distance from the subject while they move.

Apr 24 13 07:41 pm Link

Photographer

R Bruce Duncan

Posts: 549

Santa Barbara, California, US

It's my understanding that the Panasonic GH-3 is adept a focus tracking in video mode.

It's a micro four thirds camera with a fine sensor, the latest of the Lumix GH line, adored by fanboys and a fairly large contingency of film makers.

I have the D7000, and the D800.

Both really great for stills.

My limited experience in video suggests the GH-2 and GH-3 will be better at video, and, in particular, the GH-3 for focus tracking.

RBD

Apr 24 13 11:20 pm Link

Photographer

R Michael Walker

Posts: 11986

Costa Mesa, California, US

Extrosy wrote:
How are you supposed to maintain focus on a moving subject?  The screen isn't big enough, and you can't zoom the screen in once you start recording.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid … =3&theater This is my D800 video rig
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid … =3&theater
Shows the follow focus knob
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid … permPage=1
Another view

The monitor I bought
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid … =3&theater

Apr 24 13 11:43 pm Link

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Photographer

Robb Mann

Posts: 10651

Baltimore, Maryland, US

The D800 shoots video? Wow. I really need to break out that manual...

Apr 25 13 11:28 am Link

Photographer

liddellphoto

Posts: 1801

London, England, United Kingdom

Follow focus and a monitor with focus peaking. Welcome to the expensive world of video sad

Apr 25 13 01:58 pm Link

Photographer

Extrosy

Posts: 656

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

I guess I'll stick to shooting video of still-life and photographs of moving subjects.   Or something.

Apr 25 13 02:49 pm Link

Photographer

SKITA Studios

Posts: 1566

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Extrosy wrote:
How are you supposed to maintain focus on a moving subject?  The screen isn't big enough, and you can't zoom the screen in once you start recording.

It's not a camcorder...the DOF is too narrow.

It's for cinematic style video (stuff you see in movies, etc.).  No one uses AF when they film movies...even on the $15K RED cameras they use...

Apr 25 13 03:17 pm Link

Photographer

Frozen Instant Imagery

Posts: 3738

Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Crack The Sky wrote:
The d800 can refocus during recording.
If your subject is moving slow enough you can just move the focus point and refocus(it gives a certain look though which may or may not work with what you are doing).
Its good for focus pulls though.

If somebody is say walking towards you though, you either have to shoot with alot of depth of field or else measure everything with a tape measure and use a focus puller.
Or the final option is if you get focus with say about f5 then you move yourself and just make sure you stay an even distance from the subject while they move.

The D800 can refocus while recording video, but it isn't great - it overshoots and backs off, and it's audible. Much better to turn the AF off and focus manually.

As you say, do it the old-school way with a focus puller...

Apr 26 13 01:49 am Link

Photographer

Sonn

Posts: 338

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The other option is just to settle for slightly less than movie quality focus and stabilization and have fun shooting stuff.

IF you use a lens with VR and keep the camera moving and do a few takes you should get someting usable.

Beats just not doing video plus you can still make some cool stuff...

Apr 26 13 02:06 am Link