Zacuto Revamps the Follow Focus with the Z-Drive
Attaching a follow focus to your camera can save you the headache (and difficulty) of using your focus ring to make your images crisp. Especially if you're a one-man/woman band, you need a tool with ergonomics that help alleviate the strain on your body, let you focus with ease, and give you the balance needed to keep your camera steady. Sometimes, the solution isn't found in popular follow focus controls, but maybe Zacuto's newly released Z-Drive follow focus, in conjunction with their Tornado grip, will give you more stability and allow you to focus less on focusing. Continue on for the details.
Zacuto's Z-Drive addresses a couple of issues experienced by some follow focus users, and one of them is placement. The more gear that is added to a rig, the more crowded it gets. Also, the positioning of most follow focuses may not agree with the way a user's hand wants to move. The Z-Drive offers a different hand motion that may be more comfortable.
An article in cinema5D puts it this way:
The 60 degree angle in which the Z-Drive protrudes from the camera enables you to operate the focus whilst keeping your hand in a more natural position, which would help with reducing fatigue caused with traditional setups.
Check out this video to learn more about the Z-Drive:
The second issue Zacuto addresses is stability. Again, if you're the sole camera operator, oftentimes focusing means giving up a little stability. Zacuto tries to remedy that with their Tornado grip, which attaches to the Z-Drive, and allows you to control focus without taking your hand off of the support handle (that is, if you're using a shoulder mount.) To operate the Tornado grip, you "ratchet" your wrist back and grab the scalloped wheel to pull focus -- think of how an actual ratchet works -- same deal.
Do you experience ergonomic/stability issues in relation to your follow focus? Does the Z-Mount look like a good solution? Let us know in the comments.