Improve Your Gimbal Work With a Wireless Follow Focus
Integrating a wireless follow focus system with your gimbal rig brings you longer focal lengths and shallower depth of field.
Cover image PD Movie Remote via ikan.
Sticking with an 18mm lens for your gimbal work is an easy and comfortable trap to constantly find yourself in. Yes, this load-out makes working as a solo operator much easier. The wider focal length that the 18mm lens provides creates a less shallow depth of field, easing the problem of pulling focus. However, if you’re looking to up your game with gimbal work and get even more cinematic shots, you need to start using a wireless follow focus.
Image via Redrock Micro.
Finding the right setup for a gimbal operation is essential. It can be difficult to find the perfect balance between features, effectiveness, and size. However, there are many great products out on the market designed specifically to simplify your transition into a wireless FF system for gimbal work. Below, I’ll break down some of the reasons you should use a wireless follow focus system — and point you to some of the best in the market.
One of the biggest perks of a wireless FF system is getting a shallower depth of field. Gone are the days of shooting everything with a 5.6. With a wireless FF system, you can finally use your 2.0 and 2.8 with gimbal work. However, this will require two sets of hands, one on the camera and a 1st AC pulling focus. However, the additional crew will prove beneficial when you get more cinematic shots than ever before.
Longer Focal Lengths
When working with gimbals, it’s easy to become stuck working with wider focal lengths. Those wider focal lengths offer comfortable focus work. However, once you introduce wireless focusing systems into your workflow, you can finally begin to reintroduce 50mm and even 85mm lenses back into your gimbal work. By working with more dynamic focal lengths, you can improve the production value of your work.
Gimbal-Ready FF Systems
Venturing into the uncharted waters of wireless follow focus systems can seem daunting at first. However, there are many great manufacturers of stellar wireless follow focus systems.
The maker of the Ronin, DJI, offers their very own wireless follow focus system. You can easily power this system with the p-tap on your Ronin or Movi. Further, this system features one of the most compact designs on the market. The system even ships with lens gears to fit your still lenses.
After personally using this system, I can say that one of my only complaints is that the lens gear motor sometimes has problems perfectly seeding the focus gears of cinema lenses, especially during the calibration process.
One of the most exciting additions to the world of wireless FF systems for gimbals is the Redrock Torque. Redrock’s new system is optimized for gimbal work, specifically the Movi Pro. These lightweight and compact motors draw power straight from the Movi.
The Hedén Carat system offers the most precise and smoothest control of all the units mentioned in this article. However, that precision and control does come with a price.
There are many wireless follow focus systems for gimbal work on the market. Take some time and find the tool that’s right for you and your production.
Looking for more information on working with gimbals? Check out this article.