Shooting Video? Always Look for the Focus Assist Option

Photofocus (old site)

The rise in affordable HD video cameras is amazing.  Whether it’s a DSLR, Smartphone, or dedicated Cinema Camera, HD video seems to be everywhere.  One of the greatest challenges however is focus.  On a small LCD screen or LiveView panel, it’s nearly impossible to detect focus. The smaller an image, the more in focus it looks.

Fortunately, many cameras are offering a focus assist feature.  Here’s how it works.

  1. Compose the shot and turn OFF auto-focus.
  2. Turn on the focus assist feature.  This may also be called edge detection or focus in red.
  3. Adjust the focus of the camera using a manual focus.
  4. Use the edges highlighted on the image to determine what’s in focus.  Remember, depending on the depth of field your camera has, the amount of image that’s in focus can vary.

In this example, I’m using the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.  Pushing the focus button…

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