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Documentary focus pulling for SR-3


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#1 John Harrison

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 09:43 PM

Hello,

I am shooting a documentary with the SR-3, Super 16, and need to be able to pull focus myself as I follow our subject through his apartment, outside in the park, etc.

I need to be able to rotate the focus ring from the shallowest point in one smooth turn of the wrist. All the lenses I can find are studio lenses with focus rings that would require me to take my hand off the ring, grip the ring again, and then continue pulling focus in order to make such a pull.

Does anybody know of any special lenses for Super 16 that have a focus ring with a small range of revolution, so that I can make extreme focus pulls without having to lift my hand off the lense? Or would there be a way to do this by using a special kind of follow focus knob?

Thank you in advance for any advice you might offer,

John
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#2 Pierre Vitoumane

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 11:02 PM

try a speed crank......though a 1st AC would work better.......or find a PA who wants to "move up", give him some marks and keep your fingers crossed.....
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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 11:35 PM

John,

The original Zeiss Super Speeds, the Mk1 series lenses, originally came with the focus ears like the old Schneiders, Cookes, and other lenses for the old Arriflex 16S, 16M, IIA-B-C.

Posted Image

You could probably get a set of those and put PL mount adapters on them (they were mostly ARRI bayonet from the factory) and you may find those easier to pull focus with by yourself. I have the 9.5 and the 16 and don't find them too difficult to use. Not quite as easy as when I shoot with my Arri 16S and the Cooke Kinetals, but not unbearable.

-Tim
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#4 timHealy

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 06:51 AM

A good friend who is also a camera assistant taught me a simple trick when I am using my SR by myself. I have lite weight rods and follow focus. When using the follow focus I can use two fingers to mark my near and far distances. When the operator(you) can normally grab the follow focus ring, grab it in such a way that the hash is between your index and middle finger. But your index and middle finger grabs the very outside of the marking ring and not the knob as usual. You can then focus knowing what each finger represents. It is far from perfect, but when shooting by myself it gets me out of a jam.

Best

Tim
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#5 Bill Totolo

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 11:31 AM

How extreme do you expect the distances between objects in your frame to be?
I never had a problem pulling my own focus on an SR, but I shoot a lot of ENG so I'm used to it.

I would suggest giving yourself plenty of depth of field, use a wide lens and a fast film stock in plenty of light (if possible). Try to avoid a lot of filtration.

Good luck.

bt
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#6 John Harrison

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 11:58 AM

Most of the shoot will take place in a small apartment, so I suppose there won't be an extreme difference between the near and far focus distances. What I'm most curious to know is if there is such a thing as a "doc style" lense with a focus ring that rotates, say, 90 degrees, instead of the 270 or so degrees that a focus ring on a studio lense will rotate. I am used to shooting docs on video, using ENG style lenses, which have a relatively narrow distance between the extreme near and far marks on the focus ring. Perhaps there is nothing similar for Super 16 lenses?
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 12:13 PM

Is it a zoom you're shooting on? If it is you probably don't have to worry about focusing closer than 4 or 5 feet or so because you won't be able to focus that close. If that's the case, focus at 6 feet and at 20 feet should only be a quarter or half rotation. it's only in the close ranges where there's a lot of turning.
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