1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Using the 20mm lens for video

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by nickfromlondon, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. nickfromlondon

    nickfromlondon Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Dec 4, 2011
    Hi everyone,

    A big thanks for the brilliant answers to my question about blurred images on the G2. I have pretty well decided to invest in the Panasonic 20mm lens as a result...

    One question comes to mind though. I am hoping to use the camera as a bit of of photo/video hybrid, particularly on a trip I am about to undertake to Africa, which I am going to document for the media.

    How does the 20mm lens perform with video? My concern is that it will not be practical to keep switching lenses when I want to switch from video to photography, but I will have to do this is the kit lens is the only option for video.

    Thanks in advance for your help

    Nick
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    What kind of video will you be shooting? I'll tell you that the 20mm won't generally be the best video lens, but whether it will work for what you're doing is really dependent on what you're doing.

    A couple other options you have which are cheap - 1) the kit lens, or one of Oly's MSC kit lenses, or 2) manual focus "legacy" lenses which can be bought extremely cheap but require an adapter (which can usually be found even cheaper, but may require a long wait).
     
  3. nickfromlondon

    nickfromlondon Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Dec 4, 2011
    Hi Ned,

    Well it's tricky to say. I would call it "general" filming - not that this will help you much probably!

    Put it this way, I am not a professional videographer, I am not looking for cinematic quality. I will want good enough quality to create vibrant HD videos for my vlogs of the trip.

    The scenes will be varied. I will be visiting villages as well as cities and will want to film some general environment/landscape footage too...

    Thanks

    Nick
     
  4. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    depends on what you are expecting the lens to do

    Optically its as good for video as it is for still photography. If you are expecting it to auto focus quietly and accurately then you may be disappointed.... but then again you shouldn't need to AF during your time you are shooting video - its almost as uncool in pro video terms as zooming or using auto anything :)

    these 2 short movies were shot on the GH2 and the 20mm

    <iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/33664827?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>

    <iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/33975102?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>

    cheers

    K
     
  5. nickfromlondon

    nickfromlondon Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Dec 4, 2011
    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for sharing these gorgeous vids. The bit I haven't said previously is I am a published food author so these videos appealed to me particularly!

    Okay, once again forgive my ignorance but... are you saying that I would only want to use the 20mm lens using manual focus? I have never used manual focus. Isn't it a "pain"? I mean, aren't you having to constantly adjust the focus ring while filming? Nearly impossible without a tripod I imagine...

    One further question - if I use an external mic mounted on the hot shoe, will it remove the sound of the auto focus or will it still pick it up?

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to help!

    Nick
     
  6. supermaxv

    supermaxv Mu-43 Veteran

    273
    Sep 20, 2011
    Not impossible at all, just takes practice. If you're shooting video, you should be using manual focus.
     
  7. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    nick

    thanks for the kind words

    The point I was trying to get over was that in the world of video, as practised by 'the pros', the emphasis is to turn off every thing auto, so YOU have control

    I do use autofocus.... but never continuous AF... I use single AF to get focus BEFORE hitting the record button and while I may hit the shutter button to refocus while shooting, I will edit that out later.

    Changing focus while shooting is tricky... we have all seen it done in movies... but on a movie they will have a guy or gal dedicated to focus pulling... and the cameras are designed for it.

    I have now got a follow focus rig... but have still to really try it out..its not a spontaneous solution.

    Basic deal with video is that you shoot for the edit... its the edit that makes the movie not an individual shot

    cheers

    K
     
  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    true on the using manual focus... but the modern lenses with flyby wire focus are way more tricky than old legacy lenses. With old manual lenses you can 'learn' the focus points... with flyby wire lenses its a crapshoot

    cheers

    K
     
  9. nickfromlondon

    nickfromlondon Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Dec 4, 2011
    Thanks again Kevin. Interesting point re the legacy lenses. Maybe I'm not better off with the Panasonic 20mm after all.

    Can I give a scenario? Imagine I am in a market on my trip in Africa. I prefocus the shot, say on some vegetable stalls. When I start recording, the static elements (i.e. the market stalls) stay in focus but there are people walking about. Will the people be completely blurred? Or, equally bad, will the float in and out of focus? I guess the bit I am trying to get my head around is how long a pre-focus can last. I see how it lasts if filming a static scene with a stationary camera, but if there is movement in the scene, it all seems quite tricky.

    Excellent tip about filming for the edit... really excellent. That one is stored in my brain stickies now!
     
  10. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    nick

    you are falling into the still photographers trap of thinking a video is just a long photograph with things ....usually the camera...moving.

    video is about taking a series of images with movement and then editing them together to tell a story

    in your african market scenario I would shoot... not necessarily in order

    1) a wide shot of the whole scene - an establishing shot

    2) a shot of someone coming through the crowd - focused on them

    3) medium shots of the subject interacting with the market stall owner - shoot the subject from the sellers point of view... shoot the seller with another customer if needed

    4) close ups of the produce, money in the till, bag of fruit handed over. happy customer, happy vendor

    all of theses shots can be done with a single focus for each shot.. edit those together and you have a video that tells a story

    thats what video is about

    K
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. nickfromlondon

    nickfromlondon Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Dec 4, 2011
    Kevin, that is a seriously articulate answer and has really got me thinking.

    Historically, on my video blog, I have used two fixed cameras (Flips), turned them on, let them film then edit in FCP.

    The reason I have had to have this work flow is my blogs (which include me cooking with my toddler) are self-filmed and need me in camera. I guess I need to move beyond this mind set with this trip and actually start to *think* like a film maker (albeit a very inexperienced one).

    One question does spring to mind though. If I accept that I will be doing much more filming, as per your suggestions, I will still need to do occasional "to cameras" and it is not guaranteed that I will have someone there to operate the focus.

    If I put the camera on a tripod and switch on autofocus (for once) to film myself in front of the camera, will it focus on me? My fear is that it could just as easily focus on the hills behind me.

    Is self filming basically beyond the capabilities of a DSLR type set up?

    Thanks again for your brilliant advice...

    [ps - thanks for your patience, I appreciate this is starting to look and feel like a crash course in video making!]
     
  12. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    self shooting is an interesting challenge :)

    I dont know the G2 .. but I know on other cameras there is a way to assign a button or set a mode to lock a focus so that it doesn't try and refocus when you hit the shutter button

    Beyond that you need to get creative on how you focus on the you that isn't in front of the camera... at home I use Harry the head

    4871690851_621d3bf197_z.
    Meet Harry the Head by kevinparis, on Flickr

    but maybe this would look a little strange on safari :)

    alternatives that I have just thought up and may not work in reality... but probably will as you are shooting in sunny places, and video shoots at around 1/50 a sec, you will be shooting well stopped down

    1) Camera on a tripod... focus on a wall... take two paces from the wall.... move tripod back 2 paces

    2) similar... focus on lamppost... take x paces to the right or left and move tripod the same

    deal is to use autofocus to grab the focus and then stick with it

    cheers
    K