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Pulling Focus for Complex Jib Movements


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#1 Spencer Hutchins

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 10:16 PM

Yup, so I'm 1st AC on our 35mm project and will be needing to be 'Pulling Focus for Complex Jib Movements'. I have never pulled before using a jib.

Any tips, tricks, suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

Spencer Hutchins
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 10:47 PM

Run your tape at several intervals through the movement (make sure you get the easy points to visually mark, like if the jib is parallel to the ground and pointing at something notable) to get an idea of the flow of it and then get good at eyeballing it.

Also make double sure you have a remote follow focus. I was actually asked to pull focus for a largish jib with a whip before.

Edited by Chris Keth, 27 January 2009 - 10:48 PM.

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#3 Spencer Hutchins

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 11:23 PM

With a whip, can imagine that being irritating. Luckily we will have a remote focus available.

Thanks Chris, valuable information as usual.
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 11:30 PM

To get your marks, you could attach a French and set it at the focal plane, then ask the jib operator to move to various positions as you use a laser tape to get your measurements from where the actors will be. You can't lay down any T's, but try and measure as best you can where you think the actors may be, and just make adjustments during the shot of where you think they are.
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#5 Spencer Hutchins

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 12:09 AM

My assumption is that a 'French' is a board of sorts you attach on the side of the camera (next to the focal plane) so you have something to point your laser tape towards for a reading?
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 12:19 AM

My assumption is that a 'French' is a board of sorts you attach on the side of the camera (next to the focal plane) so you have something to point your laser tape towards for a reading?


French flag.
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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 02:15 AM

How big of a jib is it? If it's something smallish like a stinger jib arm or a portajib then you certainly can pull focus with a whip if you're not in a confined space. If it's more like a crane, then you'll need the remote focus for sure. Make sure you have enough prep time with the device so you're not fumbling with it on set. Jon's suggestion is a good one - cover the french flag with white camera tape, laser tape measures don't read off of matte black or reflective surfaces very well. Borrow or have production rent a laser tape measure (rangefinder) with a viewfinder like a Disto A5 or a Hilti PD32 if you don't already have one. Find out what focal lengths they want to do these jib shots with, since knowing your hyperfocal distances will help tremendously. If you think you blew a take, make sure you speak up right away and ask for another one.

*Also, remember to take into account the arc of the jib movement when you take your measurements. For example, a straight boom up with a static subject will result in the subject being closest the the focal plane in the center of the jib's arc and further away at either the top or the bottom of the move. Measure this distance when you get some downtime in the morning so you'll be ready.

Edited by Satsuki Murashige, 28 January 2009 - 02:20 AM.

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#8 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 06:19 AM

Jon's suggestion is a good one - cover the french flag with white camera tape, laser tape measures don't read off of matte black or reflective surfaces very well.


I think I actually got the idea from a previous thread where you may have even been the one who originally posed the question, ha ha
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#9 Andrew Brinkhaus

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 07:47 PM

I'm guessing you go to Full Sail?

Take all these suggestions as well as talk to Mark in person and he will give you few really good tips and pointers.
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#10 Spencer Hutchins

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 08:25 PM

The jib arm is a good 19ish feet, definitely not something I could whip from. Seems that the hyperfocal distance would come in handy during many situations.

Andrew, are you referring to Marc Bucksath, I have yet to meet him but will enter the 2nd month of the class next week.

Thanks again for all the feed back fellows, if there is more keep it coming.
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#11 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 09:25 PM

French flag.


I also like to call it a "Frenchy" from time to time :)
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#12 Chris Keth

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 12:42 AM

I also like to call it a "Frenchy" from time to time :)


Freedom flag. I'm patriotic.
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#13 Ryan Thomas

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 12:48 AM

Freedom flag. I'm patriotic.


Oh my gosh. Why haven't I thought of this before....lets make it catch on guys. :)
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