Pulling focus with proper gear has been one of my pet peeves and struggles over the years. As a cash-strapped filmmaker that often has to do everything by myself, getting a proper follow focus that I can afford has been a futile exercise for the most part. A few years back, I used to own of the of the early models, I believe it was the 1st gen, Shoot35mm DSLR Follow Focus, which was cheap and did the job, but unfortunately didn’t last long. Fast forward a few years since the so-called “DSLR Revolution” (now a much more irrelevant concept than what it was 6-7 years ago), I often find myself on shoots with rented gear – seeing ACs using the ARRI FF4 or FF5 or a Bright Tangerine follow focus and sometimes a Vocas one.
All these are top notch pieces of gear, but they do cost a pretty penny to buy, hence why most productions rent them as part of the camera package. However, these days it seems that unless you are a lighting cameraman or a DP with 20 years+ experience charging £800 +/$1,000 a day it is kind of really difficult to find a follow focus unit that does not cost £2K+. As an indie filmmaker it seems that I can go the ultra-cheap India/China route (and mind you there are some nice budget offerings out there) or save up enough to buy a high-end FF…
Well, with NAB 2018 just two weeks ahead, Wooden Camera have just announced the Zip Focus, a reliable single-rod follow focus available at the affordable price of $499.
The Zip Focus has been designed for light weight hand-held setups where saving weight and space is crucial. As a single-sided follow focus option, the new Wooden Camera Zip Focus unit takes up little space and can be easily and quickly adjusted to accommodate any lens and camera configuration. Included in the kit is a hard stop disk, two standard marking disks, 0.8 mod cine gear, and friction gear.
You also get to choose between the 15mm LW version or 19mm /15mm Studio version (which comes with its clever 19mm to 15mm bushing that is removable accommodating both 15mm and 19mm studio rods).
The swing arms are also available for individual purchase to allow transitioning between rod standards – making the Zip Focus truly universal. The Zip Focus is available for pre-order to ship in early April through the Wooden Camera website and through their authorised dealership network.
I was on a low-budget music video shoot a few days ago where with shot with some Zeiss prime lenses on a RED EPIC DSMC1, mostly handheld with some DJI Ronin shots in between and I really wish we had a compact, single rod follow focus like the Wooden Camera Zip Focus available then. We managed to get away without a FF, but it was a real PITA…
I am really looking forward to picking one of these up to try and review and quite possible buy for myself.
To learn more about the Zip Focus and other Wooden Camera gear, head over to their website here.