Shooting video with my EM5 -- need help keeping the frame in focus

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by tomnevers, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. tomnevers

    tomnevers New to Mu-43

    Apr 20, 2013
    Hello - I'm an enthusiast photographer who is relatively new to shooting video, and I'm hoping to use my OMD EM5 to shoot a bunch of semi-professional looking videos that we will host on YouTube.

    My problem is that the auto focus is ruining the videos. The camera can't seem to keep the subject in focus, and the frame will go in and out of focus repeatedly during the course of the 5-20 minute videos. The camera is mounted on a tripod indoors and the subject of the videos is roughly 10 feet away, and is doing an exercise routine. As she moves, the camera loses focus and the result is incredibly distracting (and disappointing).

    Is there a setting or a particular lens that would be best for shooting video? Is manual focus something I should consider? I've tried AF and C-AF and they are both giving me poor results.

    I own the 14-42 kit lens, the Panasonic 25mm lens, the Oly 45mm lens, the 7-14mm panasonic wide angle lens....which is best for video?
  2. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    The C-AF mechanism of the EM5 is slow and subject to hunting. The E-M1 is much better, but it would cost you $800 net to sell the EM5 and get the EM1. To solve the focusing problems you describe I use manual focus; i.e. I put the mode dial into movie mode and in the super control panel I select manual focus and then look through the viewfinder to judge focus. The EM1 is also a better camera for manual focusing because the viewfinder is much larger so you can judge focus more accurately. The best camera that I have heard of for quick and accurate continuous auto focus is the big Canon 70D.
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  3. Jay86

    Jay86 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2012
    Sadly this is a shortcoming of video on almost all DSLR (and M43) type camera's. The only camera with any real AF capabilities with what your looking for are either actual video camera's or the recently released Canon 70d. Your best bet at this point IMO would be to set the focus manually and then try to stay within that focusing plane in front of the camera.
  4. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    yeah, I would manually focus. Just turn up the lights or ISO and use an aperture setting of f4 to f8 so the subject can move forward and back yet still be in focus.

    you won't get very artistic background blur, but it will avoid the focus hunting.

    also, the wide angle lenses will make this easier at smaller apertures if the available light is challenging.
  5. Halaking

    Halaking Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 17, 2012
    Los Angeles
    The EM5 kit lens 12-50mm or the new 12-40mm pro lens both has "L" button on lens, if you have correct setting, you can push down and hold the L button will STOP AF as long as you hold the L button, once you change target you can release it and push down when you find the target. Someone need to control the camera/lens, you can't set it in auto mode.
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  6. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The problem is AF focus does not work well for video. Old consumer video AF is bad but not easy to tell because the DOF is so large due to the small sensor sizes. Professional video AF is better but I have seen $10k+ camcorders hunt for focus. This is the reason why professionals shot with manual focus. To make things worse is that the E-M5 is a stills camera that can shoot video BUT the AF system is designed for stills first and foremost.

    They make a piece of gear called a follow focus that allows you to "follow the focus" manually. Large productions even have a person assigned to do the focus{and often nothing else!}, this person is called a "focus puller". This is how the pros do it and until the technology gets a lot better it is the only way to get great focus for video.

    There are some tricks however you can use to get better AF with your E-M5. First is to stop down the aperture. The DOF will be deeper and you are less likely to see the out of focus and the camera is less likely to hunt. Using a wider lens will also give you a deeper DOF than a longer lens will. You can also use AF tracking and it will help, however the camera can loss the tracking point and then it will hunt again. Another thing you can do is set your focus to infinity and turn AF off. As long as you don't get closer than the closest in focus point it will be in focus. The problem here is that the closest point may be fairly far from the camera.
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  7. xenogears

    xenogears New to Mu-43

    Aug 7, 2013
    Douglas Grillo
    Using a FollowFocus also helps a lot to make manual focus.
  8. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I learned this on this forum. I always shoot video in MF mode.

    When using MF mode in video, if your FN1 button is programmed to be OFF in video mode, then it acts like a focus button. You can press it to get initial focus before starting the video, and press it again to refocus if needed.

    FN1 doesn't have to be OFF, as this still works with some of the programmed choices, but it's too tedious to list which ones this method will work with. Just try it and see if your favored FN1 function is compatible. If not, then you either change it to shoot video, or set up a MYSET,
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