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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎08-29-2017
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XA30 –  Intense Bokeh for Interviews – Specific Menu Settings?

I know the basics of having a narrow depth of focus:

-significant distance between subject and background

-large aperture

-zoom

 

I understrand the underlying principles behind it.

 

However, I'm new to the XA30, and I'd love to hear a few tips on achieving that narrow DOF 'look' that DSLR shooters can get, specifically with the XA30. I'm talking about specific menu settings, etc.. I shoot for news outlets that are used to DSLR video, and they expect a realatively extreme bokeh look. I love my XA30, and I'm motivated to achieve what they can with DSLRs. I'm definitely a run-and-gun type (hence, my choice of the XA30), but I want to be able to achieve that popular extreme bokeh aesthetic that you typically see in DSLRs. I know the XA30 doesn't have a super large sensor, but still, I need to know how to get as close as I can to what a DSLR can do, with respect to a narrow depth of focus.

 

By the way, I'm somewhat disappointed by the 'YOU MUST SHOOT VIDEO WITH A DSLR' attitude. It's as if video cameras are looked at as quaint and un-cool.  But that's for another thread...

 

Thanks

Super Contributor
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎02-13-2016

Re: XA30 –  Intense Bokeh for Interviews – Specific Menu Settings?

For what it's worth I'm much more familiar with still shooting than video, but here goes.

I'd guess that you'd want to keep the aperture open as wide as possible like you would with a DSLR. The only problem with this approach might be having to shoot at higher shutter speeds than you might want to for a smoother looking video. Maybe not that much of a problem if you're not panning and there's not too much motion in the scene. Nothing that a ND filter probably wouldn't take care of.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎08-29-2017

Re: XA30 –  Intense Bokeh for Interviews – Specific Menu Settings?

It has built-in ND filters. Do you think it's better to have an attachable one, too?

Super Contributor
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎02-13-2016

Re: XA30 –  Intense Bokeh for Interviews – Specific Menu Settings?

Probably not. How many stops do the built in ND filters provide? This mostly just shows my lack of experience with shooting video.

Are you using automatic or manual exposure settings? Shooting daylight outdoors or indoors with artificial lighting? Shooting slightly zoomed in will help reduce depth of field as well, though it may also require using a slightly smaller aperture.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎08-29-2017

Re: XA30 –  Intense Bokeh for Interviews – Specific Menu Settings?

Not sure how many stops – I'll check

 

I'm not using any particular settings – I'm asking how to get the effect, so that means I don't know what I should be doing

Super Contributor
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎02-13-2016

Re: XA30 –  Intense Bokeh for Interviews – Specific Menu Settings?


afdskl32 wrote:

 

I'm not using any particular settings – I'm asking how to get the effect, so that means I don't know what I should be doing


LOL! Well between the two of us, this should be interesting.

 

If you don't already have a copy of it, you should download the manual from Canon here...

 

https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/support/details/camcorders/professional/xa30/xa30/...

 

Once you familiarize yourself with the camera's basic controls, jump ahead to page 75. Be sure to switch to MANUAL mode and then open the Scene Recording Program menu and select the "Portrait"  option. This will set the camera to shoot with a minimum depth of field.

 

You could accomplish the same thing by using the AV auto exposure setting and using the largest available aperture setting. The camera will then set the correct shutter speed depending on your lighting conditions. Under extremely bright lighting it may require a higher than ideal shutter speed and this is where the built in ND filter might come in handy.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎08-29-2017

Re: XA30 –  Intense Bokeh for Interviews – Specific Menu Settings?

Thanks for the suggestion... I'll test it out! The portrait mode seems like the key setting. I'll test out Av tough, too

Super Contributor
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎02-13-2016

Re: XA30 –  Intense Bokeh for Interviews – Specific Menu Settings?

I think I'm pointing you in the right direction. Curious to see if you're getting the results you want. Maybe post a link to some samples so we can see the results.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎08-29-2017

Re: XA30 –  Intense Bokeh for Interviews – Specific Menu Settings?

You absolutely did. Thanks! I should be posting a few nature shots with the settings - including a tight shot from a distance. It worked well! The XA-30 isn't as trendy as a DSLR, but it can pull off heavy bokeh with the right settings and composition.

It's really incredible how trendy DSLR filmmaking is and how dominant it has become. I blame hipsters.
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