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Cheap remote focus puller/Focus motor hack?

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Hi everyone. I have a bit of a pipe dream. I'm filming with a DSLR and stedicam rig, and it occurred to me it would be amazing to be able to pull focus by remote while doing so. Does anyone know if there's a cheap way of doing this? It would be amazing if i could hack the autofocus motor of my lens to achieve this. Another addition to my fantasy rig would be a wearable eyepiece for monitoring!


Seems far fetched i know but if anyone has any thoughts on this I'd love to hear them!

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I don't know about a cheap one but there are a few USB follow focus models for Canon DSLRs that do just that for a couple hundred $.  And Garret Brown's original concepts for the Steadicam actually included a wearable eyepiece for monitoring! lol


Here is one story I just quickly found on it:


“I felt like the Cyborg from a cheesy science fiction film,” he recalls. The director called ‘roll camera’ and ‘action.’ Brown backpedaled frantically, the miniature flickering figure in his right eye looming into a head-and-shoulders shot. He lost his way through the over-bright monocular world in his other eye.

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The model for the remote follow focus for a steadicam would be the intuitfocus:



There had been attempts to DIY sth. like this. I followed this video:


(but didn't finish it, I just can confirm the low prices for the parts)


Parts are cheap (~20 bucks all together). I like the whole 'rig' design in this video. Perfect for an EOS with Magic Lantern.


You must know: These cheap servo testers


> allow a rotation angle of 90°. So you can only follow part of your lenses' focal range. I.e. the Nokton 25mm rotates 270° to go from 0,17 m to ∞. But: Only about 60° cover 1m to ∞.


> will translate the position of the controller knob exactly to the motor, but there is no ease-in, ease-out, like with the zoom lever on a modern camcorder, so slow focus transitions are not possible.


There are digitally controlled servers available, but they are expensive. Ask at your modeling shop.

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Amazing! thanks for your responses. 


PKent, thanks for the article really enjoyed it. I should probably admit that its not a steadicam I'm shooting with but rather a home built flying camera support of the monopod/ball-head/counterweight design.


Axel, the DIY looks like the one for me, using the exact same camera and lens too. I think I'll do some research at the modelling shop as you suggest. This would be great for run and gun music sessions for my site http://www.galapagospresents.com/


Now for that eyepiece! maybe it's a use for Google Glass!

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Just found this!


<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lnxvFYza6Y4?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


Works great. follow focus is limited to 10 adjustments per second but it seems fairly smooth. Hopefully it will improve when it comes out of beta. 

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