These DIY Follow Focus Hacks Will Make Pulling Focus Easier (& Cost Less Than $10)

Pulling focus is a difficult task with a follow focus, so what are filmmakers supposed to do when they can't afford these expensive pieces of film equipment?

Well, you gotta get creative, Jack! Here are a couple of videos from Filmora that show you two ways to make DIY follow focuses out of household objects, including a magnifying glass and an $8 silicone jar opener.

Video is no longer available:

Film Riot actually shared the jar opener idea back in 2012 — and surely it was floating around before that as well. But check out their video below; not only does host Ryan Connolly talk about this DIY hack, but he also gives you tips on becoming a better focus puller.

Now, I'm not completely sold on the jar opener being a good DIY solution, but only because the end from which you pull seems a little too flimsy to provide the precision you need to pull focus. I've never tried it before, so I may be completely wrong. However, repurposing the magnifying glass is a little slice of genius. Even if these hacks aren't perfect, they're super simple and cheap and can give you at least a little bit more control while you pull focus.

Share your DIY follow focus ideas in the comments below!     

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Regarding the magnifying glass follow focus, I imagine with a metal handle like that you'd probably wouldn't be able to "let go" of the focus. Otherwise its weight would pull it down and screw up your focus.

April 2, 2016 at 6:38PM


There is a not so good advise on Film Riot video.
On a DSLR with a zoom, it is not an option to zoom in on your subject, set the focus and zoom out to shoot wide.
Most of photographic zoom (adapted on various camera body) are NOT parafocal, which means you are losing your focus point by zooming in or out.
Each zoom position will deliver a different focus point and after zooming in or out, you have to set your focus point again.
This is different on an ENG video camera as parafocal zoom is a key feature on a "real" video camera.

April 2, 2016 at 7:07PM, Edited April 2, 7:07PM

Franc Sanka
Director of Photography / Film and Photography Teacher

Thanks. Good Stuff

April 2, 2016 at 11:53PM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography