DIY Follow Focus Rig — under $10 bucks!

Image; Chris Martin Photography

My need for Frenzy-Free Follow-Focus apexed on a job a little while back. I was directing a series of shorts for a client; things were going OK, despite our rental gear proving to be decrepit. What we received on the day was falling apart; what wasn’t falling apart hadn’t arrived– including a working follow-focus rig. It seemed logistical complications were conspiring against us. Despite the seeming odds-against-us, We strove on, valiantly.

Emerging from that shoot, the hunt was on for an alternative focus rig that would be unobtrusive, travel easily and cost less than.., more than I wanted to spend. The results I exhumed online promised varying degrees of viability. Finally, I spotted the set-up above– available for under $10 bucks!  Watch this thing in action. Simplicity itself.

Easy, effective, and a great Plan B should your far more expensive follow focus rig (if you have one) go missing, been forgotten, or ( fill in nightmare situation here ). Of course it’s a silicone Jar Opener… but in the right hands, this humble device can be so much more. Every camera on the shoot can have follow-focus goings-on courtesy of You, (the Super Genius with the Right Tool for the Job). Who wouldn’t want to be That Guy/ Girl/ Person? Word is ACE Hardware, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond (and Amazon) carry these silicone shot savers… so get yourself set up. Going for heavier game?

The other Real Deal

What if you’re in the market for more than a jar opener, and have some cash to make a move up the equipment ladder? Here’s a good start-off point for those with about $225 hundred bucks to invest; the D Mount Bundle from D Focus Systems! This baby boasts a mounting plate that attaches directly to the DSLR for ‘run & gun’ shooting, which essentially means it’s a standalone rig that’s smaller and lighter than it’s (more expensive) rail-mounted cousin, the D Focus Starter Bundle. Still, the plate allows for mounting on a shoulder rig or tripod, so have no fear. The D Mount Bundle includes a base plate, the Follow Focus rig, and a single adjustable/ removable lens gear. This thing is substantial enough to get your Follow Focus yaya’s worked out, and a great kick off to getting some nice shots in the can. DSLR Shooter Extraordinaire Philip Boom reviewed the initial dFocus system a few years back; he was impressed with the basic set up then, and it’s only gotten better. This thing on the front, and a nice loupe/ viewfinder on the back (to plant against your face for support) and you’re rocking.

A little something for everyone. No budget to lower budget– a couple of options. Got a great idea to share?  Shoot something over!


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