Nailing your focus with bare hands while using a manual lens and motorized slider could be a daunting task even for an experienced focus puller. So, how can you pull this off without having a follow focus system at your disposal?
Well, the next video produced by Rhino Camera Gear shows exactly how to deal with this tricky situation and provides a few simple tips that can help you to get that pin-sharp focus while sliding without even looking at your camera’s LCD display or any other control monitor whatsoever.
First and foremost, make sure you set your in and out focus points precisely based on the starting position and a stopping position of your camera on the slider while using the distance scale on the manual lens as a reference guide. Then set the preferred speed on your motorized slider and try to match its movement while pulling focus as close as possible while the camera is moving.
Don’t get frustrated if you can’t get the best results within the first few takes. Take your time and practice the rack focusing movement until you build the muscle memory necessary to feel confident enough and ensure that the shot is properly focused. When you are using a relatively small and compact slider, odds are you can easily avoid twisting your hand around the lens, which eventually could make pulling focus less intimidating and stressful.
Finally, keep in mind that guessing the distance and knowing the distance are two different games when it comes to pulling focus. So, make sure you figure out the right distance to your object, practice the movement as long as it takes and try to match the speed of the slider before the camera starts rolling.
As you gain more experience, it becomes easier to nail your focus so don’t give up and soon you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results you’ll be able to get while using this simple technique. Just as any other aspect of filmmaking, focus pulling can be both challenging and a lot of fun, so it’s crucial to know how to approach it right.