The Importance of Autofocus
One of the downsides to shooting in HD that never seems to get mentioned much is the fact that any error in the footage being taken is recorded in all its high definition glory.
We all hear the marketing blurb about crystal clear images etc but the reality of this is that if your focus is correct and your color settings and white balance are correct then absolutely, you will have awesome footage.
However if any of these are just a little out, then your cam will faithfully record that too!
In the case of white balance and color balancing the problem is not as bad.
The reason for this is that you have so much data recorded to reproduce what you shot onscreen that any half decent video editing software will offer you many ways to correct it.
In the case of focus things are not so simple.
In the old days of Standard Definition a very slightly out of focus shot didn’t really matter quite as much.
Now obviously out of focus is out of focus so you couldn’t just shoot that way all the time and get away with it!
However when it comes to HD the whole game changes.
This leaves the average point and shooter in a bit of a bind when it comes to the subject.
Either you have to leave the cam in some kind of “landscape” setting so that the focus is always set to infinite, resulting in no depth of field to the shot.
Or, you are limited to only those shots you can “set up” and manually focus which doesn’t offer much hope to the average person shooting a kids party!
Or, finally you are at the mercy of the auto-focus.
For most people the story ends with them at the mercy of the auto-focus which (finally) brings me to the point I was going to make!
When you are choosing a camera these days with the view to using it as a video camera there are always a million things you probably think you need to keep in mind.
In fact a whole section of this website is devoted to it. You can see those articles here.
One of the absolute key features you must be looking for is the quality of the auto-focus on any cam you are looking at.
I simply can’t stress this enough.
If you are going to be shooting anything other than a completely motionless rock you really need a well performing autofocus.
The article linked below is a review of a particular brand of cam with attention to the autofocus function.
I am not including it this week because of the cam itself.
I am including it as a great example of the things you need to be looking at when you are evaluating the autofocus of any cam you are considering.
360 Video Tutorial – CyberLink PowerDirector 15 Ultimate
As we lurch forward to the time when VR videos will be available to all of us as an editing and production choice like most things we are finding that the devil is in the details.
Now I know that the “feature du jour” right now is 360 degree video and everyone is getting all “hot’n’sweaty” about it but let’s just cool down a little for a moment and take stock.
Yes, we now have the ability to record 369 degree video effectively and it won’t be too long before the prices of devices to do that will come down into an acceptable range.
Yes, most of the better video editing software programs at the consumer level can now input and output 360 degree video.
Admittedly we are probably a few iterations away from a fully completed feature set in all of them but we are certainly on the right track.
Yes, we can now upload full 360 degree video to YouTube and in conjunction with their new app and an appropriate headset we can achieve VR… which was the whole point in the first place right?
So, that leaves the details because the broad strokes are seemingly under control.
Let’s talk about stitching!
Strangely enough this is an action that hasn’t really been mentioned all that much so far so we had better get it covered.
360 degree footage at the moment is footage that has been recorded of a scene or situation by (best solution) six cameras at the same time.
This covers top, bottom, left, right, forward, backward as shooting angles.
At a stretch it can also be four cams with the top and bottom ones omitted but ideally six is what you need.
So in reality we have not shot a 360 degree video.
We have shot six videos of the same scene covering 360 degrees of view.
In order to create this as a 360 degree experience these six individual videos have to be combined into a single video stream and that ladies and gentlemen is what we call Stitching!
Check the video below for a more visual rundown on the subject and using that video in PowerDirector.
Most other software programs are going look and act similarly.
7 Ways To Improve Your Content on YouTube
Contrary to popular belief, mostly amongst those who don’t actually do it, just slappin’ up a video on YouTube is not all you have to do to be successful there.
In fact if you were looking for a place to make money that really required a solid knowledge of what you are doing and a whole bunch of plain old hard work, YouTube would fit the bill!
Having said that there are a number of basic things you can do to vastly increase your chances of success and all of those things are quite easy to accomplish.
Over on my YouTube channel, which I use for other purposes than uploading videos, I have curated a whole bunch of videos that I have gathered together over the years that cover these points and more.
You can see the whole collection here: Online Video Tips.
The latest addition for this week is one from a couple of guys I follow regularly and this time the video has two for the price (free) of one (also free!).
These are by no means all the steps you need to take or all the points you need to get in place for YouTube success but they represent some things you absolutely need to have under control.