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Looking for advice on focus and zoom control

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Clara Pais
Looking for advice on focus and zoom control
on Jun 9, 2015 at 2:41:55 pm

Looking for advice on how to program controlled focus and zoom on a Canon 70D, though open to suggestions on other DSLRs and HD cameras.

I want to program the camera to zoom in from a wide shot to a close up very slowly for 15 mins, stay on the close up for a few minutes then zoom back to the wide shot again in 15 mins, remaining always in focus. This is not for a time-lapse, it will be a continuous shot. Is it possible to do this with a DSLR? What kind of equipment would I need?

Would love to hear from someone who has done something like this!


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Peter Rummel
Re: Looking for advice on focus and zoom control
on Jun 9, 2015 at 5:07:05 pm

I would shoot in 4K (or, if you have access to a Red Dragon, 6K) and do the zoom in post. How much of a zoom do you require?



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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for advice on focus and zoom control
on Jun 9, 2015 at 6:30:39 pm

I thought maybe somebody wrote an API for Magic Lantern that did this, but apparently not.

I'll tell you this: doing the move you ask for using a zoom is not how the cool kids would do it. This kind of move, you do using a motion controlled camera jib/dolly combo. Actually, you could do it with just a motion-controlled slider or, if you're handy, you could go to Servocity.com or the robot store, and build a servo-driven slider rig just to make this move, controlling it with a servo driver box, or an interface to something like an Arduino or an interface to a custom driver on your laptop...would look like an erector set science fair project:-)

Shooting it in 4K or higher, then faking it in post is simplest, but the zoom doesn't give you the same visual effect as the physical dolly-ing in and out; changing the lens-to-subject distance is subtle but important.


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Clara Pais
Re: Looking for advice on focus and zoom control
on Jun 11, 2015 at 2:16:15 pm

I'm sure doing it in post could work but I'm looking for a way to do it as I described it in camera. I think a remotely controlled zoom motor is the answer, I was hoping someone could suggest an already existing system that I could use, or how to build one! Thank you both for your replies!


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John Fishback
Re: Looking for advice on focus and zoom control
on Jun 14, 2015 at 7:20:17 pm

Make sure the lens is parfocal. If not, you'll need 2-axis control for both a zoom and focus motor.


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