Camcorder Controls: How to Follow Focus

There are many different techniques that you should learn when using a camcorder, one of the most important is follow focus. This is an interesting technique however additional equipment will be required to use follow focus. The follow focus device is a mechanical system which connects onto the lens and can control it. There are devices suitable for the majority of camcorders including mini DV and consumer level cameras.

These follow focus devices often offer an adapter. These can be used for much more control over the focus of your video camera without touching it. While such devices aren't essential, they do make it easier to record certain types of videos without the risk of knocking the camera when focusing.

Step 1: Choosing a Follow Focus Kit

If you want to use follow focus techniques then you will need to invest in an additional kit. These kits fit onto your camcorder and allow you to adjust the focus without touching the lens itself. If you are using consumer level camcorders then you will need to use a model with a 35mm lens adapter. The follow focus kit is then capable of focusing the lens accurately for you. There are a number of different kits available. It is important to make sure that the one you choose is compatible with your video camera. It's also important to choose a follow focus kit which is as smooth as possible. It should move freely and without any resistance.

The advantage of these kits is that they make it possible to focus the camera without needing to touch the camera. Every time you touch the camera you could potentially move it which would result in a blurred video.

Step 2: Setting up the Video Camera

Next you need to actually set up your video camera. To ensure a high quality video it is important to keep your camera as steady as possible, to do this you should ideally use a tripod. Once your camera is set up you ca start reading the instructions which show you how to use the follow focus kit.

Step 3: Setting up the Follow Focus

With your camera mounted securely on the tripod you will then need to fit the follow focus kit. The method of doing this will differ depending on the model and type of camera you have. Normally there are converter rings which can be screwed onto the camcorder. It's important at this stage to keep as much dust out of the lenses as possible. Use a can of compressed air to blow as much dust as possible out. Dust will build up over time which can impact the quality of your video.

Step 4: Reading the Instructions

Every follow focus kit works slightly differently and so you will need to read the instructions included with your device to discover how to correctly use the kit.

Step 5: Focusing the Camera

The video camera can now be focused using a large knob on the side of the camera. This means that there is no need to touch the camera itself which could result in blurred videos.