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Focus is the key to consistently matching your shots in editing. Imagine watching an intense dialogue exchange between two actors in close-up shots, and suddenly a piece of footage goes blurry and soft. The distraction is too great to ignore, and most viewers will resent the disruption. Thankfully, this scenario is becoming rare in the digital age.

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Today’s digital cameras have an innate sense for keeping things sharp; their automatic focus features make adjustments that are too subtle for the human eye to perceive. Most attempts to manually override this sophisticated technology only prevent the camera from achieving maximum clarity. In matters of focus, let the camera do its job.

However, in bustling environments, or even when actors are simply moving from the foreground to the background of the frame, your camera’s auto-focus feature may take a few seconds to select the correct lens position. The effect? A muddled mess of images that can ruin a great take. In this case, you can deactivate the auto-focus features and choose a manual setting with a longer focal depth to capture the full range of movement.

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