No matter the subject of your video production, maintaining proper camera focus is essential. To help you capture the best footage for each shoot, this guide will detail the top tips for making focus pulling easier. Not only will these tips simplify focus pulling, but they’ll do so without compromising the quality of your final product.
One of the best methods for simplifying focus pulling is improving your intuition. In this case, improving intuition means learning to account for how people move as they speak. The natural movements of humans can be seemingly random and hard to anticipate. As a focus puller, it’s crucial to learn how to anticipate those movements.
A rehearsal process before the big shoot will definitely help, but even rehearsals won’t always account for the precise movements the subject will do in the camera frame. The best way to improve your focus pulling intuition is by going out to public places and studying how people interact with one another and their environment.
Of course, we don’t advise gawking at or following people around; keep it professional and not uncomfortable. Observe how people turn and stride as they have conversations or wait in line—those movements that we sometimes don’t even realize we’re doing while doing them. Some of the best public places to observe such movements include malls, parks, and restaurants. Learning how to anticipate these movements will help you avoid losing focus when filming subjects in motion. Improving focus pulling intuition is especially beneficial when shooting sprightly, quick subjects.
“Practice makes perfect” is timeless advice. The best way to hone your skills is by practicing consistently, catching mistakes, and refining your technique effectively. However, with follow focus, you don’t always need to have the system in your hands. Pretending like you have the follow focus system in your hands at home and practicing your movements is more common than you might realize. This plays a key role in sharpening intuition. Account for those unexpected movements, whether by imagining them in your head or using family members as practice subjects.
In fact, remember the behaviors of people in public places and let that inform your practice. Think about how people move and how that can affect each shot. If you’re filming someone giving a speech on stage, visit public speaking events and study how people move naturally under these specific conditions. The more specific the practice is to your actual work environment, the better. You can easily find a high-quality follow focus system online, but honing your skills with this device takes time and patience. Thankfully, these tips for making focus pulling easier will help you keep videos looking clear and professional.