Open Them Shut Them: A Rare Performance by Jasper

One of the things I have promised myself to do is take more videos with my DSLR camera. The ability to control the aperture and achieve a shallow depth of field look just makes them so much yummier than videos from small camcorders. The issue though is that once you are in live mode to record you lose the ability to auto-focus, so if you aren’t really handy at manual focusing you can get that sort of back and forth focus effect that happens when you turn the focus ring the wrong way…not that I know from experience or anything :)

I don’t have any magic tricks that keep consistent focus when filming with a DSLR, but I can tell you what I do BEFORE I switch into live mode. Its not brain surgery, I just get my subject into place, meter of their face and make any adjustments to aperture, shutter speed and ISO until my light meter hits the center line and THEN I focus by depressing the shutter.. and only then do I switch to live mode and hit record. If my subject doesn’t move, I won’t have to adjust a thing. Of course, if you are using shallow depth of field and you are filming a toddler you will probably not achieve perfect focus, which is what happened in this video. You can see that the focus fell slightly in front of Jasper on his hands and only comes in when he is about to jump from the chair (right before he hurts himself – don’t worry, he was fine.. no toddlers were harmed during the making of this movie!).

Just like it’s hard to achieve focus wide open when first learning to shoot, the same is true with video.. and just like when I was first starting to shoot I STILL fall into the trap of wanting to use an aperture that is too wide. Some things never change :)

Without further ado, here is Jasper singing “Open Them Shut Them” which is a little song they sing at the end of grouptime every day at daycare.

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Zoe D. says:

Cute lil guy!

I’ve heard from a few people that there are specific ISOs and shutter speeds to use when shooting video with your SLR. Unlike still photos, there are certain ones to avoid…. I haven’t really experienced much with it myself, but just thought I’d share with you.

ariana says:

GREAT info Zoe, I had no idea! Very timely too because I have to film something very important this weekend :)

Jazmyn says:

Yeah I just upgraded to a DSLR with HD Video and I love it compared to my little point and shoot haha. It takes some time getting used to with the whole focus thing like you mentioned, but its well worth it! :)

ariana says:

Hi Pam, I guess it’s a standard at all daycares LOL!
It actually took months before I could understand what he was saying back when he started singing it to me the first time :)

pam says:

Looks great! Man, I want to upgrade my body…

But I also wanted to say THANK YOU for posting this because the boys have been singing this song randomly lately and I had no idea what the song was. Now I know. :)