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focus pulling with crane

Matias Nicolas

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Are you asking about how to pull focus or measure focus? When the camera is mobile on a steadicam or jib, you usually use a wireless remote focus controller. Measuring focus is done the same way regardless of the camera mount -- you take marks and measure from the camera to subject, at multiple points along the move.


If both the camera and subject are moving unpredictably (like a steadicam operator following improvised action), you get good at estimating distances as they change (taking meaurements when possible to verify your estimate). Sometimes a digital rangefinder on the camera (Panatape) can help with this.


For measuring focus at long distances you usually set focus by eye, and you don't typically use very long focal lengths with steadicam or crane shots. But if you do, the standard techniques are used to meaure and pull focus.

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You should do everything you can do in order to feel comfortable with getting the shot in focus, Long lens stuff is tough, especially when you have both subject and camera movement, thats what makes being a focus puller so tough. talk with your DP, see if he's willing to give you a workable stop, that will benefit you. if pulling with a remote have a reference monitor to glance at, it is helpful. a lazer tape can be helpful, I'd personally prefer some eye marks at distances like that. it is also very important to know your DOF, know when that subject is acceptably sharp and at what distance the subject will go soft, and be prepared for it.



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