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Old March 8th, 2005, 10:22 PM   #1
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What's so hard about a DIY Follow Focus?

Why hasn't anyone made a Do-It-Yourself FollowFocus system that has $100 in parts that you can get from your local RC Hobby Store? *smile*

This would be a nice thing for those that own Sony HDV cameras, DVX owners and XL1/2 users as well.

Are you guys going to make me do this?

The gears are simple.....If I were to piece things back together, I am sure I can build about 20 Radio Controlled Cars (gas & electric) from the parts I have. (RC Racing used to be a huge hobby of mine).

I am sure the gearing would be simple using cogs from RC cars, rings and pinion gears. All that is needed is a method to mount them to a 15mm Rod system.

Whoever makes the the first detailed DIY plans for this and sells them on the internet for $50 bucks should make about $15,000 in the first 45 days or so.

If I don't see something soon, I am going to do it. Anybody wanna go in with me? *smile*

- Shannon W. Rawls
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Old March 8th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #2
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i wouldnt imagine it would be that hard. i dont have much experience with followfocus systems, so i couldnt build one from memory, but if i had one in front of me for reference i'm sure i could fab a copy using plastic gearing from a hobby store with $50 worth of materials.

the trick would be finding a detailed diagram of the parts in a standard follow focus, and how they interconnect (i.e. arrows and such).. or just obtaining a $500-1000 unit to use as a reference for how it should work.

the any type of followfocus system is of questionable worth to people with electric servo lenses (i.e. canon IIS16x, 3x, etc etc) imho.. but that's my opinion. for full manual lenses, a $100 follow focus would be great though.
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Old March 9th, 2005, 12:31 AM   #3
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>>>>>What's so hard about a DIY Follow Focus?<<<<<<

nothing:

http://dandiaconu.com/gallery/album04
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Old March 9th, 2005, 12:39 AM   #4
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Dan, how did you get the piece to connect the FF to 15mm rails? Did you make this yourself?
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Old March 9th, 2005, 01:02 AM   #5
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The one in the pic is not done by me. I only designed it and was machined for me. It is the support/mounting for the focus indicator on the rods (but I just found it another use for now)
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Old March 9th, 2005, 04:40 AM   #6
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Nice follow focus Dan. Did it cost you under $100 in parts and labor? Have you thought about making one thats easily adaptable to different lenses thru the use of a moveable gear arm like the pro models or did you find the custom mounts for each lens a much easier/affordable option?
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Old March 9th, 2005, 07:34 AM   #7
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Thanks Brett,
No, the cost was higher than that: the gear that goes on the lens alone was $200 (had it for over 10 years and not used it from an older follow focus for Angenieux and because of the large width, covers the large shift on the Nikkor 200mm. R/C stores have many combination of good gears for less. This one is anodized Al though. Work? four days of "brain storm" and another 3 to finish it (based on the rods mount I have) What's that worth?
I found your site Brett, very nice and pro looking. Maybe one day, when I'll grow up.....Santa will get me one......
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Old March 9th, 2005, 02:42 PM   #8
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Well I was browsing the net looking for cheap, effective parts for building a FF. These are some of the things I came up with:

Controller (parts for both wired or wireless)

Ultrasonic Control Mechanism:
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...item=1&mitem=9

Infrared Control Mechanism:
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...item=2&mitem=7
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...item=1&mitem=7

Project Case:
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...em=12&mitem=14

Two Color Bar Graph Display:
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...tem=3&mitem=14

Rotary Switch:
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...item=1&mitem=5

Cool Thermal Switch!
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...tem=2&mitem=10

Various Push Buttons:
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co....asp?dept=1182


FF Mechanism

Set o' Gears:
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...tem=9&mitem=27

Motorized Potentiometer:
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...em=62&mitem=62

Various Stepper Motors:
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...item=5&mitem=5
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...item=3&mitem=5
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...item=2&mitem=5
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...item=1&mitem=5

Maybe these will be of some use to someone.
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Old March 9th, 2005, 11:22 PM   #9
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If this :
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.c...62&mitem=62
with a gear on the pot could replace this:
http://webpages.charter.net/bartech/M_one.html
they (I) would have done it already.
Anyway, the idea is the same. A motor, some speed reducer and means to amount the movement (pot)
The torque/speed and quietness to do WHAT is needed is what made them use what they use. The motor (alone) in that unit is over $US400 !!! machining, assembly, gear, cable, connectors, overhead and some profit ads up to 2K.
Oh well... you can't fight a war with waterguns.....
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Old March 10th, 2005, 12:33 PM   #10
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dans hourly wage.....

war and waterguns is a great comparison.....

the funny thing that i have realized recently is people like dan post often and also link to their web sites showing what and how they have created.....

the others (myself included) sit back in the easy chair and admire
all the creations that others have done that are similar to the comercially available versions....


the thing is, "there is no free lunch".....

the main advantage of home built is that people who have extra time and not extra cash can sometimes add to their arsenal if they build something themselves.....

BUT>>>> "time IS money".....

when we want homebuilt, and we want someone else to build it for us, i see that many are shocked at what an item would cost even if we only paid the builder minimum wage ... yet you must still account for the expensive machine tool cost, endmills, blades, finishing compounds, etc....

above and beyond this is the R&D that must go into even a homebuilt project.... again we shudder at even thinking of paying anyone minimum wage to test the device and see if it is going to work- or fail after a few uses.....


bottom line>>>> we all want UZIs at H2O gun prices... but unless we build it ourselves most of us are still going to end up with waterguns....

as for components, you get what you pay for..... there are some discounts to be had, but a precision machined aluminum 6061 or 7075 gear is not the same "critter" as a cheap plastic gear....
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Old March 10th, 2005, 01:02 PM   #11
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lo......indubitably......l
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Old March 10th, 2005, 01:09 PM   #12
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Yes. but is that the case with a Fololow Focus?

its 3 gears and a cog...a plastic knob and a wheel. "ALL DONE"

I have seen more complicated items for a 1/10th of the price.

- Look at the complicated electronics of a UHF Diversity Transmitter and Plug-On Phantom powerred receiver (AT U100)
- Look at the complicated machining AND electronics of a Ford AOD 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission
- Look at the complicated construction of a Carbon Fiber Boom Pole
- Look at the electronics AND complicated parts a Gas Powered 80mph offroad RC Race Car
- Look at the difficult construction and preceision parts included in the Micro35 adapter
- Look at this Sony VAIO 2.8GHZ Laptop I am typing on now.
- Look at the electronics involved in a 16ch Mackie Audio Mixer
- Look at the machining involved in a top notch professional MAC Tools torque wrench
- I can go on and on. and all these are cheaper then a little follow focus.

A follow focus is a chunck of metal, just as most of the items above are. At a competive price, this chunk of metal will sell just as many units OR MORE as some of the items I listed above.

The preceision involved in creating a Follow Focus for a DVX100 minidv camera is not that precise and hard to do...I'm sorry, I am NOT convinced. I have used one many times.

Even the gear that goes over the focus ring on the camera should NOT COST $100-$200 dollars in my humble opinion. I see more complicated bolt on-pull-over and tighten type gears all the time that costs $15.99.

That is why I am perplexed as to why a Follow Focus costs so much.

...A JL Fisher Tracking Dolly or MegaCrane....I understand
...A Body Mounted SteadyCame V-16.....I understand (sorta)
...A Century Optic preceion ground glass High Definition Lens converter....I understand.

But a little Bolt-On Follow focus knob costing $1100-$2100 bucks??????...Sorry, I don't get it. It's not like we're taking a hand made, hand sewn, hand measured, takes 1 week to build using 126 people @ 8hours per day: 2005 LAMBORGHINI and comparing it to a run of the mill assemply line made Hyundai Sonata here.

Its a follow focus.

Alls i'm sayin' is dis..........If someone comes up with a DIY way to make a follow focus that FUNCTIONS the way a follow focus should, and makes the plans availbale........they will be sittin' pretty. And I don't understand why nobody has not done this yet. People always complain about wanting an Internet Business and don't know what to do?? Well here it is...here's your opportunity. Shannon put it out there for you. That's alls i'm sayin' *smile*

- Shannon W. Rawls
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Old March 10th, 2005, 03:15 PM   #13
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Honestly I never even thought of follow focus, but after seeing the comparison, I'm with you on this one Shannon.

The price of these pieces of machinery are made that way because the people who use it can afford it.
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Old March 10th, 2005, 03:22 PM   #14
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I ear watch-your-saying.......
Problem with DIY zis and zeat is most of this "nothing much" still needs tooling and/or machinery beyond average home maker. Plans are worth nothing if you can not make ze darn thing. Price of mass production is always less than smaller runs.
How many professional focus pullers on this list?
I am serious. How many? email me some pics please.
How many ww?
Will "zei" risk $10,000/day production and their position with a mikey mouse contraption?????
......................................................pause.......sink-a-boat-it!!!...
A limited market ends up with short runs and higher (than normal) prices....
Just met a gent from LA area. He is distributor 4 "made in China stuff", we'll see......
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Old March 10th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #15
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In making your own, not taking over the market with your home made device.
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