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Attaching a remote follow focus on my Flyer

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#1 eric ramahatra

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 03:45 AM

I'm usually filming weddings and I'm using a Flyer with Canon 5D2.
I'm very frustrated of closing down my lens to get the maximum depth of field so my picture does not look like the other shot handheld or on tripod at f2.8 .

Because of the kind of shot, without any possible marking, it's almost impossible to get a remote follow focus working in a puller's hand different from the steadicam operator himself : it needs a very accurate sync impossible to get on live events.

So I'm looking to attach the remote on the gimbal and I can Fly and Focus at the same time but the emitter is too big to stay there in a correct manner and it's pretty uncomfortable.

May be with some wired follow focus ?
Any advice ?

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#2 Norbert von der Heidt

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 10:16 AM

Hi Eric

I use a 5DMKII on my Masters sled so can speak from some sort of experience. I think the camera's DOF with Canon L series (or other wide aperture lenses) is too narrow that unless you're running at probably F8 or f11 and going for the "wide & glide look" or you have an experienced focus puller with you, the chance of getting the focus correct "on the fly" like for weddings is very slim even with a gimbal mounted remote.

For weddings, I use my 5DMKII handheld only for certain parts of the day and then only to create very special images for bumpers, title BGs, etc. I think your best bet is to avoid the frustration of soft images and unhappy clients by using a conventional video camera on the Flyer, you'll sleep better at night as well with no quality or performance worries.

That's just my two cents for what it's worth. Best of luck! :)

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#3 Charles Papert

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 01:40 PM

To continue Norbert's advice which is solid, there is a sense of getting a free ride with the DSLR's that won't get solved with a simple widget. The 5D as you know has shallower focus than the 35mm cine format, and no-one--NO-ONE--pulls their own focus when shooting 35mm or similar format HD camera. It's just too delicate and requires a skilled AC. I think we've all seen plenty of "searching" focus going on with the 5 and 7D footage online, enough so that it has become its own look and fad. When the camera and subject are both moving as is the case with Steadicam, focus is a serious business. With a full-size sensor, the chances of maintaining focus under these circumstances are not good. I myself shoot with the 5D at no less than 5.6 unless under circumstances that I feel will allow for acceptable focus (wide angle lens, fixed distance to subject, subject beyond 10 feet etc), and that's with a pro focus puller working with a Preston. Yes, you sacrifice the shallow look, but for me it's more important to get the subject in focus. If I had to shoot a one-time event like a wedding, I'd be very nervous capturing the unrepeatable moments with a DSLR--however they do seem perfect for the atmospheric stuff.

On top of that, the 5D only outputs SD while recording, so even an HD monitor on the Flyer won't deliver a critical enough image to be able to accurately judge sharps.

Of course, the way things are going, this could all change at the drop of a hat, so who knows. Touchscreen focus is on the way, we'll just have to see how well that all works. Still won't help with a one-man band Steadicam setup though.
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#4 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:27 PM

In my experience with weddings, the 5DMKII was reserved only for the detail shots. We never used it for live action. HDV seems to be the going solution for cheap equipment when you need more than 1 camera. As a joke, I've seen it mounted up on a glidecam for a wide open non critical action shot. I won't touch the thing in that run-and-gun scenario. I don't want to set myself up for failure if there is a better option. Plus it makes recording sound a headache.

I'll only use it, as Charles said, on a controlled set with a skilled focus puller.
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#5 eric ramahatra

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 06:53 AM

this is certainly one of the most difficult thing to do : focusing while flying or focusing live.
I'm using Zeiss lens usually at 2 or 2.8 and rarely past f4.
it's challenging but really looks great.

I've already filmed with a Redrock kit with my jvc hd200 shoulder mounted and always done the focusing myself with the rig below.

Posted Image

After few wedding with the Canon 5D i really can't go back to HDV !

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#6 Marko Butrakovic

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 06:21 PM

I am BETA testing very small and light FF. I control it very easy on my Steadicam Pilot.

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