I have always wanted to up my production value on my video shoots by getting a follow focus but haven’t been able to afford one. By researching multiple sites (www.cheesycam.com) on these follow focus units I have found that Gini on ebay makes a very reasonably priced one. It’s a single rod design and now has a reversible gear. In order for a follow focus to work you need 15mm rods but to get those under your dslr camera you need some sort of base unit with rod support. I chose Cinevate’s Simplis unit with rod support. They make the best quality products for filmmakers which will definitely last longer than other brands. Plus I personally like the look of all black accessories instead of splashes of color which could draw more attention to yourself when shooting at an event. I made a top handle based off of Caleb Pike’s video and design with a quick release plate, cinevate handle, and a friction arm I bought a long time ago.
And once I had my cinevate mattebox delivered I actually decided I needed my follow focus to work so I took the 15mm rods off the cinevate mattebox and used them with my Medusa base plate with rod support. This allowed me to use the lens gears I had purchased from Cinevate and my new follow focus while I waited for my shipment of the Cinevate Simplis unit. Here are some more pics of my temporary setup with my Zoom H1 audio recorder attached.
Update: With the friction arm you can’t have a battery grip and a Cinevate grip. I’m not sure about other grips/handles but the 11″ friction arm that I have won’t stretch over the camera with a battery grip. Just a small side note.
Ok. I have to admit something. I like antique stores in Albany, Oregon. It’s awesome to see history from random families dating back to early 1800’s. But that’s not why I go into them all the time when I am visiting family. I think it’s the hunting down camera equipment that is really exciting especially when I found some amazing deals on lenses. The first amazing find was a Canon FL 55mm 1.2 which came with 2 other random lenses. They were all packaged nicely into a ziplock bag and labeled $15.00! Yes, only $15.00 for all three. But the Canon 55mm FL 1.2 was like finding gold. It’s my favorite manual focus lens out of all my lenses right now. Now onto the latest find from these antique stores. I was looking around and saw an old long leather lens case behind some glass in one of these stores. I thought it was going to be a really old and crappy lens and not a canon mountable one. Well, it was an old leather case but when the store clerk took the lens out of the old case I found a “PRISTINE” zoom lens by a company I had never hear of called “Asanuma”. This was a 70-220 3.5 with an older FD mount which I had an adapter for so I could use it right away on my T2i. The glass and lens body had never been used from what I could tell. Not a single scratch on the outside and not a single mark on either end of the glass. This lens even does macro and has a mount on the underside because it is really heavy. So, now for the price. Only $30! I couldn’t believe it. I tried not to act surprised but I couldn’t help it. I bought it right away and tried it out. Amazing! Here are some pics with my T2i and Seagull viewfinder (like Zacuto).
I have always wanted to add a follow focus to my productions so I could get away from any shaking while filming with my T2i. I have finally made my decision and purchased an iFocus from Gini on eBay thanks to Emm at www.cheesycam.com for always putting the best reviews on dslr products out there. All I can really say is WOW! Super fast shipping and amazing quality product at a great price for independent filmmaker. So far I haven’t been able to try it out until my Simplis w/rails and rail block arrives from Cinevate (25% moving sale until end of March). But the quality right out of the box seems great. It’s CNC milled aluminum/some sort of metal and the marking disk has powerful magnets to hold it on or if you need to take it off. The only downside I can see immediately is the hard stop is locked down at the top of the follow focus. This isn’t a huge deal breaker at all and should still be usable for any production shoot I am on. Right now I can’t wait to get my entire dslr rig setup and start making movies. Here are some pics. More to come in the next few weeks.
I now have in my arsenal of production equipment an amazing Cinevate Atlas 10 slider. This thing is built like a tank and smooth like butter when sliding anything I throw at it with my DSLR plus attachments. Even vertical mode is a sweet addition when wanting a different type of shot during production. I found this awesome slider on the one and only craigslist. You never know what you will get on craigslist from random sellers but this time it was awesome. I bought it off of a fellow Vimeo user (that I have been following for over a year) and wedding cinematographer Luke Goodman. Check out www.lukegoodman.com if you are in need of an awesome wedding cinematographer. He made the whole craigslist process easy for me to purchase this slightly used but in great condition slider from him. He said it was a little too heavy for all the running around during weddings that he does but instead would be going with something lighter for himself. As for me this was perfect because I have always wanted a Cinevate slider ever since they showcased their first Atlas slider a few years ago. I have a few photos here with my camera and slider in vertical mode. I had to lock down the tripod head pretty tight to keep it there but it wont budge once tightened and upright like in the photos. Pretty sweet for my future production shoots. Adds just a little more to some sequence shots.