Sue Bryce’s Video Basics: Focus for Video

Moira West


Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered some basic DSLR settings for recording video. But for the next few installments of Video Basics, we’re going to dive a little deeper into the elements of video that require a little style and skill. This week’s edition covers focus for video — take a look:

Style: Documentary
Song: “A Cool Affair” by Black and Brown

For quick clips of just a few seconds, you can usually just check that your subject is in focus, and then start recording. But if you’d like to add a little style to your video clips, try these techniques Sue discussed in the video above:

Push and Pull Focus

Just like in still photography, adjustments in focus can create interest and bring attention to different parts of the frame. Unlike photography, video can show the change from one point of focus to another by pushing and pulling your focus.

Push Pull Technique

Pushing and pulling your focus is also the technique you need if you’re moving and want to keep your subject looking sharp.

Step into focus

To create a slightly different effect without adjusting your lens during shooting, try Sue’s tips for stepping into focus. Set up an in-focus shot; step back. Then, begin filming and step forward — your video will go from slightly blurry to crisp and create the illusion that you’re manually adjusting your focus.

Stepping into focus

As Sue mentioned, both focusing techniques require a little bit of practice to master. But if you put in the time, you can add professional-looking effects to give a little cinematic flair to your slideshow.

Make sure to come back next week, when Sue will be discussing tips for angles to shoot in behind-the-scenes videos.