Hack Attack: how to make a cheap follow focus

Want to achieve the same smooth shift in focus that you see in the movies? Make your own follow focus for your digital SLR.

Welcome to Hack Attack, where we take a light-hearted look at building your own photographic tools on the cheap.

Photography is an expensive hobby. With new toys being released all the time to make you lust after pricey photo gear, Hack Attack provides the wallet-friendly version of doing it yourself. Over the coming weeks, you'll be able to watch the projects grow in complexity, and possibly see some epic DIY fails along the way.

A follow focus is a tool used by film-makers to get that nice, smooth shift in focus. Professional rigs cost a lot of money, so here's how to get a similar effect on the cheap. You will need:

  • Plastic jar opener

  • Long bolt

  • Two 1/4-inch screws

  • Cable ties

  • Electrical tape

  • Pen.

You may have seen this follow focus trick done a few times online, but this variation uses a lever rather than just relying on the good old pull-and-push action of the jar opener itself.

See more how-to and DIY videos from Hack Attack here.


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