What a Follow Focus Can Do For You
When following a moving object (such as talent) you must keep them in focus or the shot is ruined. You can try to do this by hand but most of the time you will bump the camera and thus, ruin the shot. The ability to rack focus (going from out of focus to smoothly putting the object in focus) can not only add to the story, but add production value as well.
Follow Focus Options
There are a few top rated follow focus solutions out there. In this post, I will only speak about those I have used multiple times.
- D-Focus – Let’s start with perhaps the most affordable option. For $140, this adds an extra point of contact when handheld and provides the option to add a whip for a focus puller. I own one and it was great when I started. But as I got more complex shoots with cinema lenses, I could not use it. This wasn’t really made for all metal, heavy lenses. It’s good for DSLR cameras, but not the smoothest option.
- Zacuto – Zacuto makes a well-built follow focus that is smooth everytime. However, with a price point at $1,075.00, you pay for it. Some would say you get what you pay for and although Zacuto makes good stuff, it is a bit overpriced for my liking.
- Cinevate – Cinevate is one I enjoy using for tripod rigs only. It is smooth, doesn’t take up much room, and has a large follow focus wheel. The problem is its weight. There is no weight listed on their site, but when this is added, it makes your handheld rig very lop-sided.
- ikan – When ikan sent me their follow focus to try out, I was expecting it to be well-built and functional, like all of their products. But, I didn’t expect to want to keep it after just one day. It has the smoothness of the Cinevate with the weight of the Zacuto. When pulling focus is so smooth, it makes it much easier for the operator to have soft starts and landings. This allows you to make the move in one take. Not having to redo takes due to a choppy focus pull is huge and saves a lot of time on the shoot.
A Look at the ikan Follow Focus
I will go in more detail within the video below, but here are the basics.
- First off, you can throw this on and take off without removing anything else due to the quick release.
- You also get a kit – a whip, crank, and lens gears to get you started.
- The solid build design allows you to pull focus any any type of lens as long as you have a lens gear on it.