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Affordable follow focus?


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#1 Ben Cross

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 06:09 PM

Hi there -

I just recently purchased a 7D after working on a couple of shorts with them. Great camera for the indie shooter in my opinion (and getting better with the new Zeiss compact primes).

So here's my question, can anyone steer me towards an affordable follow focus unit for these cameras? I am student so I dont have a ton of money to burn, but feel like this is a necessary piece of gear for these cameras to get really professional results.

Thanks to any info any of you can pass on to me.

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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 07:18 PM

It doesn't get much cheaper than this, but it's made entirely of plastic and worries me from a longevity point of view.

There are somewhat more expensive follow focus outfits available on Ebay which are probably manufactured in a third-world sweatshop by sobbing ten-year-olds, but they presumably offer better performance.

Then you can just go to Cinevate and pay a lot of money, or Arri and pay several internal organs and your first-born child.

Pick your price point.

P
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 07:21 PM

I recommend the first-born Arri route, as they last a loonnng time and work with myriad systems very well. I personally have a Chorziel, which is a nice unit.
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#4 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:08 PM

Yes, if you swap your first-born for the Arri unit by the time you need to replace it you'll have a whole brood of grandchildren to choose from..

Simply put, if you want professional results you need to use professional gear. The cheapest route is usually renting it from a rental house. You presumably won't be buying a set of Compact Primes, so rent the follow focus when you rent the lenses. You'll get to know what works for you and down the track, if you want to buy your own, you'll have a better grasp of what to invest in.

Alternatively, if you just want something to use with stills lenses that aren't designed for cinematography, it probably doesn't matter which follow focus you use.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:47 PM

I recommend the first-born Arri route, as they last a loonnng time and work with myriad systems very well


Well, sort of.
The thing I always think about this is that you've bought a 7D because it was cheap and pretty good. It doesn't make much sense to me to then go and add accessories that are expensive, even if they're really excellent. If I have a really high end job come up, I'll go and rent an F23 and it'll come with all the bells and whistles in any case. If I have someone who wants something on the cheap, use the 7D, and in that case they won't be paying you a rental for a US$5k follow focus. In either case there is little reason to own hugely high end accessories.

Just a matter of philosophy, really.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:30 PM

Quite true Phil. In my own case, I got lucky, it came with a kit ;). Though, personally, whenever I'm actually going to buy something, I'm going to go as "good as I can get," if only to be able to bump up a kit fee a bit, get something also which, presumably, is more industry standard so I can get the thing services where I send other kit, and/or get a "temp" for from a rental house if mine goes down. My thoughts on it, at least.
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#7 JD Hartman

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 12:43 PM

Love the look of the POS on Fleabay. All the gears look like off the shelf components. The only real machine work appears to be in the rod mount/base assembly. Even that could be pieced together instead of being cast and machined or macined from solid bar. Life of the gears? Depends on what type of plastic was chosen, if Delrin or Nylon, it could be quite good.
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#8 Tom Sykes

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 09:58 AM

Hey Ben.

I've just bought a follow focus from this site called the D|focus v3.

I can't say how well it performs but the reviews are good and it looks extremely good for what you pay for it, especially more so if you buy a 'D|gear' from the site as well, which is an adjustable gear so you can use it on more or less any lens.

Check the link out, it may be handy for you.
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#9 Peer Landa

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 06:45 AM

Initially I started out with inexpensive gear, mostly from India, including a follow focus unit that I thought looked decent enough. This, however, I can only describe as a BIG mistake. Except for the little money I could recoup later by selling the items. Basically, getting this cheap Indian stuff was like flushing dough down the drain -- and the last piece I got rid of was their follow focus. Yes, if I only knew back then what I know now, I could've saved quite a bit of money by going with Redrock (or even Zacuto) to start with. I've now built a new 5d2 rig with mostly Redrock parts (including their follow focus) and some CPM carbon fiber stuff. Here's my new ff-unit: http://tinyurl.com/252u5cm

So the above was the more sensible part of this post -- here comes the remaining silly one:
I was thinking; a good way to test & exercise my new ff-unit would be to use it with my most Doffy lens -- an old 85mm f/1.4 Carl Zeiss, and shoot with it wide open. Hence, the Depth of Field is VERY shallow (at one yard this lens has less than 10 millimeters of DOF). And since I'm currently cat-sitting three crazy cats, I tried to capture one of them, "Trouble", and his unpredictable ways -- no, it doesn't get more silly than this:
View on Vimeo

-- peer
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#10 David Grauberger

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 03:04 PM

I've got a pretty decent DSLR kit coming along. Originally I was in the same boat. Looking for cheap geat to get the job done without breaking the bank. Someone on one of these forums said "buy cheap, and you buy twice" I ignored him, but I must say that has proven to be true. Here's a list of my mistakes in purchases and how I've learned its actually cheaper to get the good stuff (and also look more pro to your client!)

Cartoni tripod... ..upgraded to ..... Vinten vision 11
Lilliput monitor.. .................. SmallHD DP6
RedRock Mattebox......................Genus Superior Mattebox
Indifocus.............................Genus Superior Follow focus (this I highly recommend), quick install and built like a bomb...


I'd say spend the money atleast on a Genus Superior Follow focus. Definitely not the most expensive, but I've been really happy with it. The indifocus gears slipped and I'd miss the shot (not something you consider while your thinking cheap). Save time and frustration. Pros don't fight gear on a shoot, students do. Pros get what they need to do the job well and not interrupt the shoot with stupid problems.

Just my 2 cents...

Edited by David Grauberger, 08 November 2010 - 03:06 PM.

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#11 Zach Quatronostro

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 02:56 PM

Well as far as follow focus mounting devices, there are a few options. I've always liked the products at habbycam.com ESPECIALLY the DLSR Studio kit which lets you mount not only the follow focus but also the matte box, a zoom audio recorder and an HD monitor- all right to the rig itself. Very inexpensive as well:

http://www.habbycam....age_rod_kit.htm
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 05:24 PM

Hmm, I quite like the look of that. Unfussy.
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#13 Peer Landa

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 08:30 PM

I've always liked the products at habbycam.com ESPECIALLY the DLSR Studio kit which lets you mount not only the follow focus but also the matte box, a zoom audio recorder and an HD monitor- all right to the rig itself. Very inexpensive as well: http://www.habbycam....age_rod_kit.htm




I wouldn't call that clunky cage "very thought through" or "very inexpensive" -- it doesn't even have space for an extended battery-grip.

--peer



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#14 Oliver Yu

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 03:17 AM

maybe let us know how much your budget is ?
because most follow focus you know like Arri,Redrock,Zucuto...etc you can find in Amozon are all over USD500
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#15 Martin Hong

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 11:53 PM

Just like everyone else's input, there's no cheap follow focus.. (depends on how you consider cheap) There's a USB controller Follow focus for the Canon DSLR, but probably won't work on your Carl Zeiss compact primes, because that one controls the lens built-in focus motor. If you are using any other lenses, specially Canon's L lenses, you can consider this one, for 400 dollars..

http://www.okii.net/...sults.asp?Cat=2



however, this is electronic one, does not have the same feel as the mechanical one. Neither the speed.
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#16 Nathan Blair

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 08:50 AM

I know it's not the best quality follow focus, but for only $100 it's done me wonders for the past year... I think they bumped it up to $150 now but still a great deal! Check out the one at indisystem: http://www.indisyste...m/follow-focus/
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#17 Daniel Bauen

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 11:30 AM

We just put a simple, affordable follow focus on Kickstarter - Check it out.

focusshifter.com
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