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Follow focus recommendations


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#1 Tim Carroll

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 07:44 PM

Does anyone have experience with follow focus units on the Arriflex 16SR's with lightweight rods?

I looked at a unit at Visual Products, a used Arri single sided Lightweight Follow Focus for the SR and I could not believe how sloppy it felt. Granted, it was not hooked up to a Zeiss MK1 zoom lens (which is what I am going to be using it on), but I am used to anything Arriflex feeling very precise, and this certainly did not. Is that slop normal? Do these wear out really easily and are they rebuildable?

I have also looked at a Chrosziel single sided unit, a new one, and it felt really good, again not attached to the lens, just using it by hand.

The new Chrosziel is almost twice the price of the used Arri, but since I plan on keeping this for quite some time, I might be willing to go the extra cash.

But I really do not have much experience using follow focus units. I was a camera PA on a movie shoot yesterday and the Arri FF3 unit we were using on a Varicam felt great.

So I would like to ask anyone who has used a single sided follow focus unit on an SR with lightweight rods if they had an opinion on which units to look at?

Thanks for any and all info.

-Tim Carroll
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#2 lluis

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 03:22 PM

I looked at a unit at Visual Products, a used Arri single sided Lightweight Follow Focus for the SR and I could not believe how sloppy it felt. Granted, it was not hooked up to a Zeiss MK1 zoom lens (which is what I am going to be using it on), but I am used to anything Arriflex feeling very precise, and this certainly did not. Is that slop normal? Do these wear out really easily and are they rebuildable?


I have the Arri Lightweight FF and I use it in my XTR as well as different rented SRs. Really it works with no problems (even it's possible to use it in both sides with zooms). It has different gear drives. With the use, in some units, you can notice a play between the gears, that's possible to reduce it by adjusting all the screws/axes/gears.
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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 06:15 PM

I have the Arri Lightweight FF and I use it in my XTR as well as different rented SRs. Really it works with no problems (even it's possible to use it in both sides with zooms). It has different gear drives. With the use, in some units, you can notice a play between the gears, that's possible to reduce it by adjusting all the screws/axes/gears.


Thanks, that is helpful.

-Tim
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 10:31 PM

When JBKCinequipt first came out with his lightweight follow focus (about a decade ago) I tried it out and didn't like it very much. Too chunky and had a lot of slop. But since then I understand that he has greatly improved the product and also offers several models all affordably priced. When I tested he let me do it on spec, returning the unit when I wasn't happy. He even tried to modify it for me to answer my issues and didn't grumble when I sent it back. Nice fellow.

I use a Chrosziel 2-sided unit and over the years it has developed a bit of play. I can adjust it to remove the play but with time it creeps back in. That's normal wear and tear, so any used unit you try such as that Arri unit will likely have these issues. Chrosziel also now makes a single-sided unit that is meant for DV cameras but I've seen people sucessfully use it for film work. It has the distinct advantage of being a true direct-drive unit so there is absolutely no slop in it at all.

You should also look into Petroff. His original follow focus was a two-sided unit for the price of a single-sided and the big complaint was that he made it turn the wrong way so all the ACs hated it! Imagine being used to turn clockwise and suddenly having to retrain your brain to turn counter-clockwise. But the units were very solid and had absolutely no slop. I understand that he has redesigned the latest generation so perhaps it's worth checking out.

There is also Cinetics (is that the name? It's been so long). They are an American brand that makes good, simply-designed gear. Not the most advanced rig out there, but it is solid and works. Try some Google searching for this and others.

DON"T buy Cavision. Plastic junk.
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#5 Alberto Larios-Saavedra

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 11:43 PM

[quote name='Mitch Gross' date='Nov 4 2005, 07:31 PM' post='73876']
Chrosziel also now makes a single-sided unit that is meant for DV cameras but I've seen people sucessfully use it for film work. It has the distinct advantage of being a true direct-drive unit so there is absolutely no slop in it at all."

I have used this Chrosziel unit on an SR and it works pretty good, the unit was purchased at 16x9 in L.A. I believe for about $1400, It has no backlash whatsoever.
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#6 Tim Carroll

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 12:10 AM

Chrosziel also now makes a single-sided unit that is meant for DV cameras but I've seen people sucessfully use it for film work. It has the distinct advantage of being a true direct-drive unit so there is absolutely no slop in it at all.


Thanks Mitch and Al. I had seen the Chrosziel you're refering to and wondered if it would work because I noticed that it does have a gear that will work with the Zeiss MK1 zoom. I think that might be the way I will go. B&H Photo has them for a good price.

Thanks again all.

-Tim
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