Follow Focus

follow focus definition
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What is the follow focus?

Follow Focus Definition:

A follow focus is a tool for fine-tuning camera lens focus, often used in camera rigs for precise and smooth adjustments during filming.

What is follow focus used for?

In video making, the follow focus system helps cameras focus better during filming. This tool helps camera experts focus without touching the lens. It makes sure every scene is clear.

It not only focuses clearly but also moves smoothly between scenes.

If they need to shoot a scene again, this system helps them get the same clear focus as before. Plus, many follow focus tools have markers.

These markers remind camera experts of their focus points, so they can easily go back to them later.

The Mechanics Behind Follow Focus

Peeling back its layers, one would find that the heart of a follow-focus system lies in its large knob and marking disc. This knob, with a simple twist, communicates with the camera lens, guiding it through gears with a finesse that ensures each adjustment is fine-tuned to perfection.

The marking disc, ever the reliable companion, provides a canvas for videographers to jot down and revisit specific focus positions, making the filming process as smooth as the footage itself.

Challenges in Using Follow Focus

However, mastering this tool is no walk in the park. For the uninitiated, the learning curve can be steep, demanding practice and patience in equal measure. And even for the seasoned, the gears, with their whims, might occasionally slip, throwing a meticulously planned focus point off-kilter.

Calibration becomes key. Without ensuring that the system is in perfect harmony with the lens, achieving pinpoint focus becomes an elusive dream. Moreover, while its advantages are numerous, the addition of a follow focus does come with its own baggage—quite literally.

Incorporating it into a camera setup can render the rig bulkier, demanding more muscle and diligence from the videographer. Yet, for those who master it, the follow-focus system promises a world of cinematic clarity.

image of a focused camera

What are some pros and cons of follow focus?


  • Achieves precise and smooth focus transitions.
  • Allows for repeatability in focus during multiple takes.
  • Minimizes camera shake by eliminating the need to touch the lens.


  • Can add complexity and weight to the camera setup.
  • Requires calibration and practice to use effectively.
  • Can be expensive, especially high-end models.

Follow Focus in the Digital Age

With advancements in technology, digital follow focus systems have emerged, allowing for remote control and even automated focus transitions based on pre-set parameters, enhancing versatility and accuracy.

Follow focus FAQ:

What is the meaning of follow focus?

Follow focus refers to a control mechanism that allows videographers to adjust a camera’s lens focus in a precise manner, usually without directly touching the lens.

How to use follow focus?

To use a follow focus, attach it to your camera rig, aligning its gears with the lens gears. Turn the follow focus knob to adjust the lens’s focus. Mark specific points on the marking disc for consistent focus transitions during shooting.

Is Follow Focus Necessary?

While not strictly necessary, a follow focus greatly enhances precision, especially during dynamic shoots or scenes requiring smooth focus transitions. It’s particularly valuable for professional videography where focus accuracy is vital.

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