Got 90 Seconds? These Simple Tips Will Make Your Focus Pulling Way More Efficient
Follow these rules to become a follow focus master.
So you've got yourself a shiny new follow focus, and you're stoked to take your focus pulling to the next level. The only problem: pulling focus is not nearly as easy as it seems.
If you've ever had to pull focus for a scene that has complicated blocking, where characters are moving back and forth in relation to the lens, you know that the marks on the follow focus ring can get really messy, really fast. Here's the incredibly simple but effective system that Clinton Harn uses to keep all of his focus marks organized.
Beyond the slick organizational system, Harn also shows us a great little tip for building the muscle memory necessary to differentiate between most lenses and the lenses made by Nikon, which focus in the opposite direction. For Nikon lenses, if you keep your hand on top of the follow focus, you can move the focus closer to infinity by rolling your hand over the follow focus towards your subject. Of course, the inverse is that pulling your hand back towards the camera reduces the focusing distance. With Canon lenses -- and almost every other lens on the market, cine-style or photo -- the same directionality applies if you keep your hand underneath the follow focus. For focusing outwards towards infinity, push your hand away from the lens (towards the subject), and to focus closer, pull your hand back towards the camera.
Feel free to share some of your favorite follow focus tricks down in the comments!