A little late to this one, but this overview of the Light Ranger 2 from Chris Silano (“A” Cam 1st AC on Uncut Gems) from the Gods of Focus series in Jon Fauer’s Film and Digital Times is worth the delay:
… I don’t care how good you think you are. You can get marks, you can use laser beams, run your 200-foot tape measure, do whatever you want. The precision that the Light Ranger brings really lets you choose which eyelashes to keep sharp. It’s a really phenomenal tool. People might say, “Just press the Autofocus button.” I don’t use it a lot, but sometimes it’s really handy when everything’s moving, people wobble when they walk, and if you can get in sync with it, that’s great, but it’s just as easy to go the wrong way and get out of sync.
Silano later provides an example:
We had a good chuckle one morning. It was 2 am. We were in an enchanted, psychedelic forest. In this fantasy land, Jim McConkey was pushing an ALEXA 65 with the Betz Wave horizon stabilizer on his Steadicam. That’s a beast of a payload, but Jim’s a workhorse. He just won the SOC camera operator of the year award, well deserved.
I heard director Pablo Larraín say, “Jimmy, instead of stopping, can you just continue in?” Jim looked over at me. I was 20 feet away, pulling focus, guided by the video overlay bars of the Light Ranger.
The actors in the scene must have been startled when Jim shouted out to me, “Chris, I’m not going to stop. I’m going to continue in. I’m going to keep going in at the end.” They all looked at me and I just answered, “Always got to ruin the surprise, don’t you, Jim?” Everybody laughed, but really, it gives everyone enormous freedom on set. Now I don’t have to say, “Well, let me get marks first.”
More and more, pulling focus feels like playing a video game.