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Focus left or right with Tilta Nucleus-M

Hannes Famira

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I am craving Tilta's Nucleus-M FIZ system mightily. Without having actually tried it I am wondering:

Coming from still photography my instinct is to map focus to my left hand. I am right hand dominant though. So over time I might actually be able to achieve more precise control if focus was mapped to the right Tilta handle. It's a finger wheel that I assume is operated with the index finger. Does anybody have experience with this, can share their preference with me and maybe add a reasoning for their choice? Thanks!

Edited by Hannes Famira
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normally you would use your dominant hand to operate the camera so that the control of the camera is more precise (that tends to matter more than precise control of the focus wheel). What is left over is your left hand which is used to control the focus if you are right handed. If having a zoom controller you would normally use your dominant hand to operate that as well (to make it more precise? at least it is easier to operate it with the same hand that is operating the camera on sticks. the other hand is left free to operate the focus if needed)

there is no "rules" how you should always do things when operating but if you are right handed it tends to be easier to operate the camera with that hand. Learning to do it one way and then trying to change it later may be difficult so most people choose the left hand for focus

Edited by aapo lettinen
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The body is also quite adaptable, so most people will get used to focusing with their weaker hand over time. 

I’m personally left-handed, but since the most common wireless focus hand units like Preston and ARRI are set up as right hand drive, I had no trouble learning to pull focus with my right hand. When using a manual follow focus, I switched between left and right hands depending on which side of the camera I was standing on.

I also switch between left and right hand zoom control depending on the rig. Left hand zoom up front for ‘rock n’ roll’ operating so I can also grab the back of the camera with my right hand, and right hand zoom back on the pan handle for more long take ‘event style’ operating.

For a camera operator pulling their own focus manually, the main factor will be which side of the camera you will be working on. Generally, whether an operator is left or right eye dominant, the camera will rest on their right shoulder or be on the right side of the body. That only leaves the left hand free to grab focus. 

I think it makes sense to build up muscle memory with focus on the left hand for self-operating, unless there is a compelling reason not to. But ultimately you can do whatever you want if it works for you. 

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This is a very compelling argument. I was going for focus on the left but I have a very experienced operator friend who disagreed. He works mostly in TV (big camera on sticks) and he is used to the FIZ handle with all the buttons on the right.  

So your point comes as a relief. I think this settles it for me. Thanks Satsuki!

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Yes, for broadcast operators working from a fluid head, they are used to focus on the right. On the other hand, for broadcast handheld on the shoulder, they would focus with the left and zoom with the right.

If you were working primarily in broadcast with standard equipment, then it would make sense to learn it their way. Simply for the ease of jumping from camera to camera. And if you were working primarily in cine-style shooting, you’d do it completely differently. But if you’re not doing either, then it doesn’t matter. 

TL;DR: There’s no ‘right way’ really, just whatever you are used to.

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