As digital cinema cameras continue to evolve, will pulling focus become an obsolete skill? At what point do the cameras start doing it for you? And if that’s the case, what are you — as a camera assistant — left to do?
Articles Tagged with "Focus"
With the advent of HD and digital cinema technology, camera assistants have been accustomed to checking the back focus of a camera and servicing it as well. But what about film cameras? How do you service those?
Closeups are particularly tough to pull focus on because your depth-of-field is generally so shallow. It doesn’t make it any easier when the actor in the scene is rocking back and forth and fidgeting around. Or to have the added pressure of keeping an emotional performance in focus.
On Friday, I wrote a post that detailed ways to become a better focus puller over the weekend. Now that you’ve had time to improve yourself, I’d like to take a few moments to address some of the more common mistakes that are made while pulling focus. Are you guilty of any of these?
Fritz Gabriel Bauer, the man who helped develop both the Moviecam and Arricam, has gone on to create a system called EasyFocus. It isn’t designed to replace focus pullers, simply make their job easier, but what is it and how does it work?
About 20 years ago, Michael Caine, one of the more talented and prolific actors of modern times, made a video called “Acting in Film” that was aired on the BBC. While in school, a professor showed me the hour-long workshop and I was inspired by Caine’s knowledge of not just the abstract concepts but the detailed acting techniques that are also important.
There is a simple phrase that only three people on a film set like to hear. Those three persons being the producer, the assistant director, and any director crunched for time. In the ears of any camera assistant, however, that same phrase means bad news bears. The phrase, of course, adorns the title of this article.
Unfortunately, you may be in a situation on a low/no-budget film where production won’t rent a follow focus or you’re a one-man-band filmmaker who can’t afford one. Luckily there are some easy techniques to rig up a follow focus on the cheap, most for under $10.00.