(From wikipedia)

follow focus is a focus control mechanism used in filmmaking with film cameras and in television production with professional video cameras. It is ergonomic rather than strictly necessary; in other words it does not contribute to the basic functionality of a camera but instead allows the operator to be more efficient and precise. It is usually operated by a focus puller (often called the 1st assistant camera, or 1st AC) but some camera operators prefer to pull their own focus (the act of changing focus is called “pulling” or Racking focus).

The answer depends on your needs and skill level as well as how much changing of focus you might do while making your movies.

Unless you have a specific use for it, don’t waste your money on a follow focus when you’re starting out.

Most of the time, you’ll use a follow focus when your camera is mounted to a tripod – but they can be used on sliders as well as hand held rigs (and many would say the rig setup is maybe the best case for a follow focus).

Basically, they are only useful when you are setting up the set to use the follow focus. You may think “it is not that bad, once it is set up I have nothing to do”. Wrong! Every time you switch lenses, move the camera from shoulder mount to tripod or changing the zoom range, you will be spending time fumbling with the follow focus.

There are actually some very simple and basic follow focus units for under $100 – have a look at our planet5D article “daily planet5D #31 – inexpensive follow focus

we take a look at three different inexpensive follow focus units. One from DSLR solutions, one from Foton Accessories, and lastly one from Varavon.
Each of these has their own pluses and minuses so we thought we’d show all three of them together to give you an idea of what kinds of simple follow focus units are on the market.

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planetMitch

chief astronomer at planet5D LLC
Mitch "planetMitch" Aunger is the creator and mastermind behind planet5D.com — which covers every aspect of HDSLR cameras (and a whole lot of other cameras as well). A lover of photography since his early days, he graduated to selling stock photos to make a little bit of spare cash. It wasn’t much, but it allowed him to upgrade to better cameras as well as computers, and it wasn’t taking money away from feeding his family.
He loves the stories that the still image can tell. In the summer of 2008, he read a story written by Arnold Kim called “I Quit My Job” — Arn is the owner of macrumors.com. He started macrumors in 2000 as a hobby, and by 2008 he was making more money with the site than he was on his day job, so he quit. The surprise to the story is that he was a doctor making more than six figures! Right then and there, planetMitch dreamed about doing the same thing.
September 2008 rolled around, and Canon announced this new version of the incredible 5D — the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. It was the first Canon DSLR to shoot full HD video and the earth moved! (It really was a huge deal in the photography world.) planetMitch knew if there was ever a chance to ride a wave of something he was really passionate about, this was it — and the blog at planet5D.com was born. It is now one of the most popular HDSLR blogs on the planet, and he is making a full-time living from blogging. He couldn’t be happier!
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