How To Quickly Focus For Each Video on the T2i 550D

Great tip to speed up your focus for your videos.


I have already missed a ton of great video clips that passed me by because I was not focused quickly enough when shooting video on my T2i.

In this video I demonstrate Jose’s tip.

Hat tip to Jose Jesus Zaragoza on Vimeo for the time saving tip.

One of the best tips I can give you, and some people have willed their first born child to me because of this, is change your autofocus setting to Live Quick Mode. My biggest gripe with the camera was the slow focus in Live Mode, compared to the lightning quick autofocus in regular stills mode, using the camera’s mirror. Live Quick Mode uses that same method to focus, outperforming the default focusing mode. It’s easily three to four times faster. I used to find myself having so much fun taking stills because of the autofocus’ speed, and hated messing with video, until I realized I didn’t buy the camera for stills. Now I have more fun taking video since the autofocus is just as fast. Of course, this is the one-time autofocus, not a continual autofocus, but I wouldn’t want continual autofocus myself. Pulling focus is an art, but it’s a pain on your specific plastic lens.

To learn more about this see page 133 in the T2i 550d manual.

Jose watched my video and then had this to add:

Excellent, I’m glad you found this useful!

One helpful thing I’d add is that I prefer to have a single focus point, right in the center of my frame, rather than the 9 points, this is to keep the camera from guessing what you want to have in sharp focus, or having to choose the focus point each time.

I center my subject, do the focus, and then recompose the shot by panning on the tripod if I want the subject off-center. Focusing is lightning quick now compared to Live View. As with any kind of focusing, it’s not so good at night, but rocks most any other time.

Excellent job, Dave!

I then as Jose how he focused just in the center and he wrote:

Set up movie mode, and hit the button that brings up the quick menu (it’s the one that has a little blue printer sign on it).

Once you’re there, just press right (the button with the little white AF on it) and from there you can use the little dial next to ISO button to the front of the camera to cycle through automatic or manual selection and keep going until you identify the focus spot you want to keep.

Like I said, I keep it in the center focus point and just take the shot from there.

BTW, I had to fiddle around with the camera for a few minutes before I figured it out. I just knew there was a way to do it.”

I plan on doing a quick video on this as well.