Camcorder Controls: How To Rack Focus
By mastering techniques such as rack focus you will find it much easier to create professional looking videos using your camcorder. Your video camera is a very complicated device which takes a long time to learn about. It's important to familiarize yourself with the basics of your camera so that you are able to make much better home movies.
Rack focus or Racking Focus is a very interesting effect that can be used to shift the attention of the audience from one thing to another. It changes the focus between something in the foreground and the distance. You might have something close on the left side of the screen and something far away on the right side. By racking the focus you can shift the audiences attention.
Step 1: Reading the Manual
The first thing that you need to do before you can use the rack focus
technique is find out about your camera. To do this effect properly you
will need to use the manual focus mode on your camcorder. While all
professional models should have a manual focus mode not all standard
Normally you will want to leave your camcorder in auto focus mode so that it will automatically lock onto anything that you want to take a photo of. However if you are interested in shifting attention then you will need to manually focus on something.
If your camera doesn't support manual focus then don't worry. There are virtual techniques which can be applied and we'll look at those in a second.
Step 2: Setting up the Camcorder
Now you need to set up your video camera on a tripod to keep it steady. This will ensure that the video is of a high quality and isn't jerky. Position the camera so that it is fairly close to the subject in the foreground. Check that the camera is positioned so that you can still see the person or subject in the background.
Step 3: Focusing
Set the camcorder in manual focus mode. Now focus the video camera so that the first object is in focus. The second object should be blurred and out of focus.
Step 4: The Effect
Now press the record button and start to slowly adjust the focus so that the second object comes into focus. The effect should then be repeated at least another two times so that you can choose which effect works the best when editing.
Step 5: Other Options
If your camera doesn't support manual focus then all is not lost. It
is still possible to create similar looking effects. To do this you will
need to use auto focus and trick the camera into focusing on something
in the distance. To make this possible lock onto something and then move
the camera. Then move the camera to your subject and the camera will
lock onto them and auto focus.
The virtual rack focus technique is quite difficult to get right. If your camera supports manual focus then this will certainly be the easiest option.