I have recently had some criticism that my reviews were going a bit high end end, what with Letus rigs, DitoGear sliders and SmallHD monitors. Well I have decided to address that and review some more affordable options for the no budget filmmaker.
I have always wondered, looking at all these rigs and rails why they cost so much for what is basically a household plumbing kit. Why can’t we do more, with less?
The answer is finally here, built mysteriously by someone unidentifiable, and provided by a third party reseller called Bob, who sold me the follow focus on eBay for $50 after a man called Bloom pointed it out in a Tweet.
It came in bits inside a small box and after several hours I was able to figure out how to reconstruct it.
You can of course build your own by stealing your child’s lego. I will sell you the design blueprint for $1000, unless you are a Chinese manufacturer, then it will cost $10,000.
The follow focus clamps to a set of rails, below the lens and you can mark with a felt tip pen on the follow focus wheel the appropriate marks – a squiggle for infinity for example.
Although the drive wheel does slip a bit against the lens barrel, I blame this on Canon for implementing a poor grip on their camera lenses.
Some lenses are a bit too stiff for the lego follow focus, and I can feel it flexing a bit, so I have chosen the Canon FD 50mm F3.5 macro lens since it’s focussing barrel is loosened up through years of racking focus over insect eyes.
Although the follow focus is quite usable, I do feel the price is marked up a bit and that it has a fatal design flaw.
It doesn’t make use of Sam Morgan Moore’s affordable zip-tie gears. When combined with a lego gear this would make for a much more reliable focus rack which wouldn’t slip.
As such I plan to take the lego follow focus to London and have an expert lego builder (age 11) modify the system to use Sam Morgan Moore’s affordable zip-tie gears.Conclusion
Can you make pro work with a lego follow focus? I think the answer has to be yes. With a bit of perseverance, it does in fact move the barrel of the lens left and right, therefore you can actually shoot professional work with it.