I have been working as a follow focus puller for quite some time now. I don’t deny that being a professional one is the hardest job on the crew. There’s a lot that this exceptionally talented person takes care of during a film shoot.
Also called First Assistant Camera, 1st AC, and Camera Assistant, a follow focus puller is responsible for the taking good care as well as maintenance of all cameras. They move heaven and earth when it comes to keeping the camera in focus.
Want to be a follow focus puller? Here I’ll share with you some important tips to help you get started:
1. Do Your Homework – Before making that final call about becoming a follow focus puller, it’s important for you to find out what all these skilled people do.
2. Get Some Work – If you’re thinking that you’d be able to get started as a Camera Assistant right away, you’re mistaken. A majority of people wanting to become one need to make their mark. It’s important for them to prove themselves that they can perform all tasks associated with being a follow focus puller diligently and with ease.
It’ll be good if you start off as a 3rd AC. It all depends on the shot size. Of course, you’ll never want to start out very high and disappoint others in the camera department around you showing your inability to portray the role effectively.
You need to be the right fit for the requirements of the role you’re likely to play sooner or later. And always be true to yourself and others. Don’t you pretend otherwise, if you’re just starting out?
3. Get a Suitable Kit – It’s true that getting started as a follow focus puller is not a child’s play. This is because you must have the right kit you can use for a film shoot. Having your own gear rather than borrowing someone else’s will be the smartest move you can make.
There will be other 1st and 2nd ACs present on a film set and they understand that as a beginner in this profession, you’ll develop your kit and have crucial things you’re likely to use being on set. You’re likely to create a positive impression on your superiors if you make it to the film set with your own kit.
There are several new follow focus pullers who waste their valuable time asking others for borrowing kit and other vital tools. While it may not take many years of practice for compiling a proper kit, when you start with the basics it makes you look not only trustworthy and committed.
Here’s a list of must-have gear for your camera that’s worth the investment:
Lens Cleaning Fluid
Adjustable Cable Ties
Marker Pens (Permanent and Non-Permanent)
4. Create a Network – One of the most crucial parts of working in the film industry is creating a strong network with people on set. It’s very important for you to know the people of the Camera Department. The Camera crew, follow focus puller, 2nd AC, and DOP (Director of Photography). If you’re looking to build a good reputation for yourself, establish a good connection with all of them. Doing so will increase your chances for future work.
5. Know Your Kit – Make sure you acquire as much information as you can about the camera equipment as well as lighting. You need to know what kit you’re going to use and have enough knowledge of them so that you can work on set with ease.
Besides, you need to keep abreast of the up-to-the-minute gear and other technical updates. There’s not even a single follow focus puller who would ever want to get caught talking about something which is no longer in trend. You don’t want to lose the confidence of camera departments in you.
Truth be told, there’s a lot more to deal with than just pulling focus. This experienced personnel is great camera technicians. When they’re on a film set, not only do they prepare bodies of the camera, they also prepare lenses and all of the accessories which are required on a set.
Follow focus pullers lend their support to the camera department. They are adept at performing various tasks. They assemble cameras and other related equipment from a hire company. Not only that, they send messages to the production office.