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Follow Focus how does it work?

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#1 MichaelStewart


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Posted 18 July 2004 - 08:59 AM

How exactly does this work? How does the person running the focus unit know it is in focus?

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#2 Frederic Chamberland

Frederic Chamberland

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 06:31 PM

Hi Mike,

Simple, the focus puller has a wireless remote in his hands that is linked to a receiver on the steadicam. This remote emulates the real piece of equipment that is the follow focus. It has a big round knob and turning that knob sends a signal to the receiver that replicates the movement on the lens with small motors attached to the lens.
Some assistants will stand by the steadicam and just look at the barrel of the lens while playing with the remote (this option is not very popular since you have to be side by side with the operator and you might be blocked from viewing the lens easily).
They can also, and most of the time, they do the following: They mark the knob on the remote with the same markings they find on the lens. They usually use a white plastic ring that attaches on the knob of the remote, then take a fine pen and write down all the distances of the lenses directly on that ring. It usually takes a minute or two to calibrate the motors on the lens and mark the remote.
When a tight lens is used, the steadicam operator can also sometimes call it if the shot was soft by looking at his monitor. But has somebody else said on this forum (I think it was Larry McConkey...) a good focus puller will "feel" the shot is good or not. And these feelings are , in most cases, positives.

Some of the greatest focus pullers are the ones that pull focus on steadicams. You have to be quick and react instinctively to the surroundings. You have to know the technology you have in your hands and the possibilities of these remotes.
Some assistants will only work with certain brands of remotes, some have their own.

Hope this helps...
Frederic "still pulling focus for another year to help pay the rig" Chamberland
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#3 MichaelStewart


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Posted 18 July 2004 - 09:28 PM

Perfect explanation!

Thank You!
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