What Is the Focal Point of a Lens?

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The focal point of a lens is the point where all light reflected from an object is in focus, and the process of keeping an object in focus varies from still photography to videography. Learn about a lens's focal point with information from a professional videographer in this free video on photography.

Part of the Video Series: Using a Digital Camera
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Video Transcript

Hi my name is James Flint. I'm a videographer and I'm here to talk to you today about the focal point of your lens. The focal point is very important when shooting anything whether on still or on video but it becomes even more important when shooting on video because you're capturing movement and it is very easy if you are filming something that is moving for it to slip in or out of the focal point. Now the focal point is the point at which all the light that is omitting off of the object you are shooting whether it is a person or a car or a building or a tree, anything, they're all sending light out and the focal point is the point at which all this light comes together in focus. You know setting your focal point it is going to have lot to do with your aperture and it is just like I said it can be really tricky because if you are filming somebody and they are say ten feet away from you and they are juggling or something and you've got them in focus but then they start to move towards the camera if you don't have the right aperture setting or you're not zooming back as they move in, they're going to fall out of focus so it is very important to understand your focal point in order to capture your subject in focus all the time. You can get a higher aperture to get a larger focal point and that way you can ensure that there is a little bit of play if they move forward a little bit or to the left or back a little bit they're still going to be in focus. But it is just really important when you are shooting to realize o'kay these are the points at which my subject will be in focus, when they cross this certain space they're not going to be in focus anymore and I need to either make a zoom adjustment or an aperture adjustment so the focal point is crucial in filming so you keep everything in focus. So that is a focal point and that is what you need to understand about it.

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