Preston's new follow focus is like an Infinity Gauntlet for filmmakers: you can control everything.
Preston Cinema Systems is one of Hollywood's top-tier FIZ (focus, iris, zoom, commonly referred to as "fizz") control companies. It just released the new Hand Unit 4 (HU4) follow focus, which has significant improvements over the HU3 in terms of weight, usability, and precision controls.
With everything from hand controls to motors and motor drivers to focus assist systems like the Light Ranger 2 (LR2) and even zoom controls, Preston pretty much has your lens controls covered top, down, and sideways.
It also includes an LED illuminated focus ring, Preston Micro Force control with the famous red button, lens overlays, and tactile switches on the handgrip. You can even switch between Manual to Autofocus control seamlessly without letting go of the unit.
The main improvement, though, on this device is the magnificent new 4.63" touchscreen. Preston has done an excellent job of incorporating just the right functionality without going too far with the design, especially with pinch-to-zoom feature which allows you to squeeze and expand lens scales (without losing scale resolution, by the way). Here are the more exciting features of the touchscreen:
- Daylight visible
- Large display fonts
- Reversible black/white background color for indoor and outdoor use
- Pinch-to-zoom lens focus scale (very cool)
- AF zones (paired with the LR2) can be limited via touch
All in all, it appears the HU4 has significantly improved upon its predecessor. There are far too many cool features to list here (the full .PDF of the product breakdown can be found here) but I'll list some of the highlights.
- 35% lighter than the HU3
- Super rugged, tactile switches
- Adjustable drag on the focus ring
- 5 pre-marked focus rings and 1 blank one
- Built-in Micro Force control (no longer an add-on)
- The joystick can also control the HU4 menus
I'm just thinking about shooting wide open on some ridiculous lens (I'm talking to you, Noctilux f/0.95) and being able to zoom in on my focus ring to get the most precise focus point possible. That seems like a dream to me.
Not a whole lot of information, including shipping or pricing, has been released, but seeing as how the previous generation of this hand unit tips the scales at $7415, I expect that the HU4 will be somewhere in that ballpark, if not a bit beyond it.