If you’re someone who often shots in a one-man-band production scenario, you would probably agree that one of the most frustrating aspects of working as a lone filmmaker ranger is trying to move the camera while pulling perfect focus for each shot.
Thankfully, Panasonic has introduced the autofocus pull feature in certain camera models some time ago which can also be found in their latest mirrorless camera the GH5S. In essence, it’s a convenient and intuitive capability that enables the camera to automatically adjust the focus based on its position. Emm of Cheesycam showcases the simplicity of the Focus Pull setting of the GH5S while testing out the function in a real-world environment.
The way the autofocus pull feature works is that upon setup, you need to assign three positions for the camera and adjust the focus according to the camera’s position. To do this, go into the menu of your GH5S and select Focus Transition. You’ll be taken to a submenu where you can tweak the settings for the Auto Focus Pull.
To input your position parameters, access the Focus Pull Setting menu and select POS 1. Move your camera to whatever position you desire and adjust the focus accordingly. Afterward, press the Set button and repeat the steps for POS 2 and POS 3.
Before activating the feature, you’ll notice a few more settings you can play around with in the main Focus Transition menu. For instance, you can adjust parameters such as the Focus Transition Speed or signal whether or not the camera should wait before pulling focus mid-take.
If you want to start using the autofocus pull, select the Start option. You’ll see a live feed from your camera, and you’ll need to choose the position you wish to transition to. Make your selection, and once you press record, a moving slider will appear on the bottom of the screen that will represent the camera’s distance from your target position. As you move closer to the target position, the camera will automatically pull focus.
With the increased automation, independent filmmakers and one-man-band style shooters can rejoice with the lightened production difficulties when filming on set. Based on the test shots in the video, the camera seems to be quite accurate with its ability to pull focus.
While the process of pre-setting the position and focus may add to production time, the intricacies involved are well worth the extra effort, as the autofocus feature could certainly avoid the jittery artifacts that may occur when pulling focus manually, plus it yields some pretty smooth and consistent results.