Produce professional-level content at home

Expand your knowledge and get even more out of your gear with our helpful guide on capturing high-quality video footage.

In Focus

Maintaining sharp constant focus has always been a challenge in video, especially when you're the only person operating the camera and want to be in front of it! Having reliable and fast autofocus is a must-have for any content creator out there, and for some this has been a tricky barrier.

Learn how to capture sharp, crisp footage without the wait time.

Read more

Sound Check

Have you ever watched a video and the picture looks immaculate, but you can't hear the person? Or you can hear an unnatural amount of background noise which drowns out what the presenter is saying?

Learn how to get perfect audio every time you hit record.

Read more

In Focus

Focus

Maintaining sharp constant focus has always been a challenge in video, especially when you're the only person operating the camera and want to be in front of it! Having reliable and fast autofocus is a must-have for any content creator out there, and for some this has been a tricky barrier.

Many modern Sony cameras utilise the incredibly fast and accurate autofocus method Real-time Tracking AF. This tenacious autofocus method combines intuitive AI algorithms with powerful image processing to identify faces and even eyes to track a human and maintain sharp focus. And the best part is that this autofocus method works for both stills and video capture! Many Sony cameras which use this method have it enabled straight away so only one setting needs to be selected (more on that below). Below is a range of other tips and tricks to ensure your focus is always sharp and on point.

Continuous Auto focus = AF-C

The first thing to do when looking at focus functions is to ensure your Sony camera is set to Continuous Autofocus, also seen in the camera as AF-C. For compatible models, this will enable Real-time Tracking autofocus.

Continuous AF gif

To do this:

  1. Press the Menu button
  2. In the first Camera Icon Tab, navigate to the page titled AF1
  3. The first option is Focus Mode. Change to Continuous AF (AF-C).
    Note: this function can also be easily accessed in the Function Menu by pressing the 'Fn' button

For camera models without Real-time Tracking, the camera will still continually analyse the scene by using the Hybrid Autofocus method, changing the focus points and prioritising the face and eyes. Which brings us to...

Face/Eye AF Set

There is a function in many modern Sony cameras which will allow you to prioritise a human's face and eyes for autofocus, so if you are presenting to the camera and something moves in between you and the camera, the focus point will remain at the original focal depth. This avoids unwanted focus hunting. Most cameras have this function on by default, but just in case...

Face/Eye AF Set gif

To do this:

  1. Press the Menu button
  2. In the First Camera Icon Tab, navigate to the page titled AF2
  3. The second option is Face/Eye AF Set.
  4. Select Face/Eye Priority in AF to On

A note on this: if you are a product reviewer, or you display items while presenting, you may want to turn this function off because the camera will prioritise the human face and eyes, not the product when you hold it up to the camera.

AF Drive Speed & AF Tracking Sensitivity

AF Drive Speed and AF Tracking Sensitivity allow you to control how quickly the camera will change focus, and how sensitive it is to changing focus. For example, if you present items to camera in your videos, you may want to turn Face/Eye AF Set. off, and turn AF Sensitivity to Responsive. This means the camera has increased sensitivity to objects moving in the frame and will respond by changing the focus.

Face/Eye AF Set gif

To adjust AF Drive Speed:

  1. Press the Menu button
  2. In the Second Camera Icon Tab, navigate to the page titled MOVIE2
  3. The first option is AF Drive Speed
  4. Select either Fast | Normal | Slow
AF Sensitivity gif

To adjust AF Tracking Sensitivity:

  1. Press the Menu button
  2. In the Second Camera Icon Tab, navigate to the page titled MOVIE2
  3. The first option is AF Tracking Sens.
  4. Select either Responsive | Standard

Each of these functions provide dynamic ways to adjust the autofocus in your Sony camera. Take the time to experiment with the above setting combinations and see which will work best for you, your presenting style, and the videos you plan on making.

Sound Check

Audio

A viewer will forgive a bad image, but you can't forgive bad sound.

Have you ever watched a video and the picture looks immaculate, but you can't hear the person? Or you can hear an unnatural amount of background noise which drowns out what the presenter is saying?

Audio quality is crucial and will make or break your videos. Clear, well captured audio will take your production value to another level and requires just as much attention as choosing the right camera settings.

Lifestyle Image | Sound Check

Most cameras come with an on-board microphone, but only a handful of cameras have a microphone which is worth its weight. For the general user these microphones are totally fine, but for a Content Creator it can be a trap! These microphones are omnidirectional which means they will pick up sound from every direction. So that construction site across the road which has a jack hammer going over time – you bet that's going to be captured in your audio.

Product Image | ECM-XYST1M

Most Vloggers operate a run-and-gun style of filming where it is just a team of one (that's you) to set up and record. The best way to capture your clean audio/dialogue is with a cardioid microphone – commonly known as a shotgun microphone. These types of microphones are designed so they will capture the audio that they are directed towards. As long as you have that microphone directed towards you, you will get the best audio you can. Now a note on these – if there is an abnormal amount of environment noise, a cardioid microphone is not a sure-fire solution and they can pick up these sounds. So try and work with the best audio environment you have when you start recording.

Product Image | ECM-GZ1M and ECM-CG60

If your videos are about interviewing people, consider the ECM‑XYST1M stereo microphone. This mic is bidirectional which is designed to collect sound in two spheres from in front of the microphone – typically one to the left and the other to the right. Sony also offer a range of shotgun microphones starting with the ECM‑GZ1M. This mic sits comfortably in the hot shoe bracket above your camera and plugs in with a simple 3.5mm audio jack. Perfect in size for travel and keeping things discreet. If you're after a microphone with better sensitivity and reach, then look into the ECM‑CG60.

For the ultimate in shotgun microphone performance look no further than the ECM‑B1M. The ECM‑B1M features a unique 8 capsule node pattern which runs along the top of the mic providing incredible audio clarity and recording flexibility. The powerful on-mic controls include a switch to change between super-directional, unidirectional and omnidirectional audio pattern pickup, making this microphone a one-choice for all setups, whether its interviewing, atmosphere sound or simply to capture dialogue.

Product Image | ECM-B1M
Feature Image | ECM-B1M Mic Nodes
Feature Image | ECM-B1M Controls

Going Wireless

Product Image | ECM-AW4

Wireless sound is a fantastic alternative to an on-camera microphone. This will give you the freedom to move away from the camera but maintain high quality sound! The down side is that wireless microphones are not ideal if you are moving around a lot and fast – wind across the mic becomes an issue, and running with a microphone isn't the most comfortable thing. For wireless audio consider the ECM‑AW4 - a light and compact microphone for recording clear sound from up to 50 meters away.

If you go and film all your content and realise you have unusable audio, there are ways to solve it – but it is a laborious and cumbersome task to undertake. It is crucial to remember that having clean, clear audio is incredibly important to your projects. Think about how you will film your content and where, and then give serious consideration to how you will best record the audio. You'll be thankful when you get to the edit!

Note: All these microphones are compatible with all Sony cameras supporting the mi Multi-Interface hot shoe. In the case of the ECM‑B1M, this microphone also has the powerful piece of hardware Digital Audio Interface which offers the cleaner digital audio connection – however only the Alpha 7R IV and Alpha 9 II have the hardware to support this feature at the moment.

Find out how full-time content creators shoot pro‑quality videos at home and on the go

Discover top tips from two professional content creators, Elly Awesome and Kim Dao, and learn how to optimise your shooting set up and take your content to the next level.

Top Tips

Elly Awesome | Vlogging 101

Listen and learn as content creator, Elly Awesome, shares her top tips on all things vlogging.

Learn more
Kim Dao | Choosing a Vlogging Camera

Looking for new vlogging gear? Content creator, Kim Dao, shares what she looks out for when choosing a vlogging camera.

Learn more

Lighting at Home

Kim Dao | A Lesson in Lighting

Want to improve the look and feel of your videos? Vlogger Kim Dao shares her advice on the best ways to light your shooting set-up.

Learn more
Elly Awesome | A Lesson in Lighting

On the look out for tips on how to light your videos like a pro? Elly Awesome talks through her top tips for maximising the light sources around you.

Learn more

Advice for Vloggers

Kim Dao | Vlogging on the Go

Shoot with confidence anywhere you go with these helpful tips from vlogger Kim Dao.

Learn more
Elly Awesome | Creating Thumbnails

Looking to level up your thumbnail game? Elly Awesome takes us through her tips for creating amazing thumbnails for your videos.

Learn more
Back to top
I agree to having read and understood the Sony Australia/Sony New Zealand Privacy Collection Notice and Privacy Policy and consent to receiving promotional and other marketing messages from Sony Australia. I understand that I can opt out of these communications at any time. *
*Required Fields