When Panasonic released the Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 HD Handheld Camcorder it was the camera I had been waiting for. Full raster HD, a monster 22X zoom lens and AVC-Intra codec. The peaking feature made it a snap to see when a subject was in critical focus.
But in the run and gun world we live in, sometimes even with the great peaking finding that critical focus can be difficult at times. One tool that many Panasonic filmmakers have asked for was to add what’s called “focus in red” to the HPX250. Panasonic has a reputation of listening to their filmmaker clients an implementing the features they want most in their cameras.
What is Focus in Red?
Focus in red is similar to the standard peaking except that it shows sharp edges of your subject in red which makes it easier to stand out and thus find focus even faster in some situations.
Normally on the HPX-250 when you press the focus assist button you enter what’s called Expanded view. You see a portion of your frame magnified or enlarged to make it easier to ensure that your subject is as sharp as possible.
Now with focus in red, you can change the AG-HPX-250 so that when you press the focus assist button you don’t get expanded view but instead you go into focus in red mode.
You can easily tell when you’re in focus in red mode because your LCD has a red border along the edges. You don’t get a magnified view with focus in red instead you see the normal display but now when the edges of your subject come into sharp focus, they turn a brilliant red. For a nature and wildlife filmmaker like myself seeing something turn red against a predominately green background allows me to see in a heartbeat if my focus is as sharp as it can be.
Now the one caveat with focus in red is that if you move the camera much the lines of your subject blur and you won’t see them outlined in red. So if you do a lot of hand holding and moving of the video camera, you may want to stick with the expanded view option instead.
And as always, shoot the ordinary and make it extraordinary!