As someone that started off loading mags and pulling focus on film cameras I’ve always hated pulling my own focus. It just doesn’t seem right. With today’s style of shooting whether on a RED, a DSLR or some other camera I find myself adjusting on the fly to a small monitor or EVF. I try and teach my students the ways of the focus puller but they never quite get it. That and the monitor is right there, they can just look at it and use peaking or some other digital tool to tell them it is in focus. Not really focus pulling, but it does the job.
So after a couple of frustrating follow focuses I’ve found one that works really well with DSLR style shooting. The Edelkrone Focus One had peaked my interest when it came out, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks. It is nice and smooth and has solid feel. The best part was that it fits on the rails, and doesn’t protrude too far down so I can use it with a sliding baseplate.
EDIT: The only difficulty I have found is trying to get this thing wedged between camera and mattebox when using short primes like zeiss standard speeds. My old RedRock micro couldn’t do this either. ARRI wins.
Every year it is fun to play tricks on people with April fools. Sometimes the manufacturers come out with a post for new gear that seems so amazing and perfect, but just a little bit off. April fools. My favorite was this one on Facebook from Edelkrone.
With NAB starting very soon new gear has been slipping out just ahead of the big announcements to get more attention. One I saw was the collapsable rail from Rigwheels. Could be cool. We’ll see if Black Magic can steal the show again this year. I also think we will see a lot more stuff for flying cameras around. Gimbals for stabilizing everything. And of course lots more 4K and beyond.
On a recent tour of the grip rental house I was reminded of how much I loved using the Fisher 11 dolly. Those smooth subtle movements inching forward or back or across the subject. I still like those shots but I don’t get to use the big dolly anymore. Today’s world has the slider. These things came out of DIY garages and the grips’ speed-rail bin. After a few years the some of the sliders on the market are very nice. As long as you know the limitations. My first purchase was the inexpensive Konova K2 from South Korea. As long as the camera was really small and it was well supported the shots were pretty smooth. Center mounted the camera was too bouncy on either end so the image looked bad. Also because the channel was narrow the center of gravity for the camera couldn’t be very high. So with tripod head and camera and monitor it was too bouncy again.
The next purchase after watching the product demo video over and over was the Edelkrone slider plus v2 from Turkey. I’ve had this for a couple of months now and it is greatly improved on the K2, but at three times the cost I would expect it to be. The small footprint is the best part. The wobble from track length is not there. Because of the small size the center of gravity can be an issue too if the camera is too high or heavy. Lately I have been using this slider on shoots and really liking the results. This little tree films video we made last month uses the slider in much of the behind the scenes footage.
Just this week I came across another slider by a company called Trost that has just begun shipping and is from Minnesota. The video and testimonials look great. And it supports large and small cameras. The price is twice as much as the Edelkrone but the features including the dual axis slider look amazing. I look forward to renting one of these as they become available.
So I would still like to rent a fisher or peewee dolly for the next shoot, but I would also like to rent a real camera too. Thanks to these tools and a little care we can make it look like they spent a lot more on the production.