Saturday, September 29, 2012

Overbecks - The Movie

I've just bought a new camera.  Well, new body.  A Canon 600D, four generations of development on from my trusty 400D.  It's not the latest or best DSLR that Canon make but, having now been superceded by a later model it was available at a very affordable price.  I've had to buy SD cards and a spare battery - these differ from those used in my 400D - but these are comparatively cheap.  First impressions are good, 18Mpx of resolution allows more detail on shots and - if I need it - more latitude for cropping.

One thing that was new to me was HD video.  Purely for the sake of experimenting I strapped my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle zoom to the front and went off to Overbecks, near Salcombe in South Devon to see how effectively I could capture the essence of this lovely exotic garden. The 10 minute video I've embedded below is the result.  I should say that my skills in both shooting and editing are rudimentary.  Hopefully I'll improve with time and practice.

It's been reduced in size for easier playback but still qualifies as High Definition with a 720 x 1280px resolution.  In other words it should be OK viewed full screen.  I hope you enjoy it.


  1. The clarity of the video is superb and has given us a really good glimpse of Overbecks. Must visit this garden next time we are down that way!

  2. Hi, I bought a Canon 600D in May, my first DSLR and I struggle a bit with the change from my old, very good 'point and shoot' to using this camera. In particular focusing is difficult. I take good close ups, but the lens it came with, an 18-55 mm struggles with anything beyond really close up. Or maybe it’s just me and how I use the settings...I used SLR film camera in the old days so I know what everything means and never use it on auto. Would be interested in what setting you used on your video, since the camera don’t refocus once you start filming, and most of your video was pretty clear. I can’t afford to buy any more lenses at the moment and hope to make the best of the one I have, but maybe it is the lens that is just wrong for what I am expecting?

    1. Hi Helene

      It took a few tries to get my head around the focusing issue for movie recording. I've got a collection of lenses for my Canon DSLRs and the one I chose for the filming was my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle zoom, usually set at around the 12 to 15mm end (18-24mm in old 35mm terms). Because it's wide angle depth of field (the amount that's in focus) is pretty large. I set it for manual focus and adjusted the initial focus so that everything between 3ft and infinity would be sharp (parfocal distance). If I needed to refocus it's all done manually, easy enough with the big focusing ring on the Tokina.

      It would be more difficult with your 18-55mm as manual focusing is tricky and there is no distance scale on the lens to set up a specific focus distance. For general shots the best bet would be to set the zoom to 18mm, autofocus on something about 8ft away, switch to manual focus to keep that setting and then start shooting. You should have everything from about 5ft to infinity in reasonably sharp focus for the movie. For closer shots focus on your main subject first, then start recording. It helps if you can use a tripod to steady the camera though this isn't always practical especially if you are moving through a garden.

      Hope this helps.

    2. Thanks for your tips, I have made some attempts which I have posted on my blog, but I think I made better movies with my old Powershot! I will persevere though :-)

    3. Hi, me again, here is my one of my movies from my garden, please change the setting to 1080p if you want to view it in full screen. I learned a lot when taking this movie, won’t attempt this much panning and zooming next time – especially as I haven’t got a video tripod, only one meant for photography.

    4. That looks good, Helene. I suspect you're further along the video road than me (I've had my 600D less than a week!). I'll bet that like me you're now looking at fluid effect tripod heads for smoother shooting.

    5. Yes, I have been ogling a £300 movie/photo tripod in a magazine for a while, but think I will settle for a £53 from Amazon.
      They do have cheaper ones, but they can’t turn to take portrait photos and I don’t want to have to swap tripod just because I want to take a portrait photo.