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How to Focus on Yourself Easily Using Your DSLR

Discussion in 'Video Production' started by Michael, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. Michael
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    So many people have problems with focusing on themselves when recording vlogs or taking selfies alone using their DSLRs, I struggled with it for a long time and unless I was close to the camera where I could adjust the focus ring I was always ending up a little out of focus. We all want that perfect focus and to use our larger apertures and it is very easy to achieve and you do not need your own cameraman.

    Method One (A little hard to get right but works)

    You have a few choices when focusing on yourself when recording alone, one is to use something in the room in place of yourself for example a broom with a piece of paper attached to it could work or focusing on an object nearby. To do this lock focus on it where you will be sitting or standing and then turn off autofocus and any movie servo features once you have it focused and place yourself where you have focused.

    If you're using a larger aperture you may find focusing on yourself a little more difficult than when using a small aperture, if you have good indoor lighting or a lighting kit for a vlog try using f4 at the very least, you will find it much easier to focus on yourself using a larger aperture.

    This method can work very well for some people but in my own experience it proved not to be ideal. Ideally when you are focusing on yourself it should be quick and easy and not a case of hit and miss and having to DIY it each time. To get the best focus each time I must recommend method two over method one.

    Method Two (So easy and makes focusing a breeze)

    If you have tried out method one and you find that you are focusing correctly and looking back at the end of recording your videos are still a little out of focus or at worse completely out of focus, perhaps you want your eyes really clear but they're turning out blurry or you really want a blurry background using your larger aperture lenses, then this method will work in your favour with very little chance of failure.

    In order to achieve that perfect focus fast and easy you will want to get yourself a wireless shutter release, a wireless shutter release plugs into your DSLR and allows you to focus and take pictures remotely (from a distance).

    When buying a wireless remote shutter release also known as a wireless remote you need to make sure it will work with your DSLR, if you have a Canon, buy one which is compatible with your exact Canon model and the same with any Nikon, Pentax and any other DSLR brands. You can typically find out if it is compatible by looking on the box it comes in or by checking online.

    I personally use the Hahnel Giga T Pro 2 and it has been excellent to use, I cannot fault it when it comes to focusing and doing time lapses but it doesn't matter what brand it is or if it has any extra features for focusing on its own. They come in at various prices, find one that has the features you need. Many people like using the Yongnuo ones as they have a range that is relatively cheap.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hahnel-Giga...12243115&sr=8-1&keywords=hahnel+giga+t+pro+ii

    Once you have one set it up with your camera following its instructions it is quick to get recording.

    When it is ready to use and you have your lighting and everything else ready for recording including your in camera settings, hit record. Make sure the lens is in autofocus mode and proceed to check your focus point on your camera and place it where your face will be when in place.

    You will find this easier with a DSLR that has a swivel screen but you can still do this without one. Get yourself into place and press the button half way, if you have your focus beep enabled you will hear it lock onto the focus point and then beep. When you hear this beep release pressure off the button, you are now in focus and you can proceed with your video.

    If you are moving back and forth within your video always remember to refocus between moving so that you stay in focus and so your video turns out as you had planned. A little tip from me is to put the remote down or move your fingers away from the button, it is so easy to start pressing it during recording and knock yourself out of focus temporarily.

    If you would like to see the Hahnel Giga T Pro 2 in action you can see me using it in my video:

    How to Focus on Yourself With a DSLR Using a Remote Shutter Release - Vloggers Tip



    Another method would be to use a DSLR that has excellent continuous autofocusing, the 650D didn't perform too well with this but I have heard that the 70d works wonders when it comes to autofocusing, in a few years I can see video autofocusing issues being something of the past but for now we have these methods.

    I hope this helps you out, please share this with anyone you know having problems getting theirs in focus.

    If anyone else has any tips on achieving good focus please let us know :)

    Thanks for reading.
     
    #1 Michael, Oct 22, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
    Blue Hue, Samantha Brown and Wenry like this.
  2. Sickflowz TV
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    Haha this is a great post because I actually struggled when i first started and then I bought the wireless remote and it makes it that much easier to focus. Its a breeze
     
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  3. Wenry
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    I basically must use my 18-35mm f/1.8 and T4i and zoom into my eye and focus before pushing record and it's been working pretty well actually. I was thinking about using the first method but I'm too lazy. When I only had 40mm+ lenses / t2i I should have used that method!
     
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  4. Michael
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    Yeah its more of a pain with prime lenses as with a zoom you can zoom out to 18mm with yours and be close enough to fiddle on with the focus ring more or less, theyre definitely worth the investment if you want to focus quickly though without any worrying about it being out of focus, I also find it very handy when moving around because you just choose a new focus point on the live view, move yourself and then half press the button, wait for the green and you can keep going. The zooming into the eye technique is very good to use as its hard to tell if its in focus at times :D
     
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  5. Samantha Brown
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    Great info. I have bought a wireless shutter release that I intend to use. I like your tips :)
     
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  6. Michael
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    Thanks, let us know how it works out for you, I still have mine and couldnt get by without it so easily :D
     
  7. Irahs
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    Thanks so much, this has been the hardest part for me indeed!
     

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