Cheesycam DIY Follow Focus $13.00


Depending on the type of Video work you do, Follow focus systems might be more of a 'nice to have' rather than a 'must have'. I'm not shooting the next George Lucas film or anything, so for the most part I really didn't look into Follow Focus systems. I've been getting tons of requests though about a possible cheap solution that I may have thought about. So today I browsed the web, then took a trip over to Orchard Hardware Supply for some possible ways to create a simple, cheap, modular, adjustable Follow Focus system with a geared 90 degree transmisssion.

It's not as easy as anyone would think, but I just spent $13.00 dollars for what I think is going to be a popular DIY on this blog. If I have time this weekend, i'll see about whipping something up for everyone. Anyone else got a DIY solution for a Follow Focus with a geared transmission?

29 thoughts on “Cheesycam DIY Follow Focus $13.00

  1. Emm

    Post author

    Nope. Fail. LOL. I still have random parts, just needed to custom make some brackets, but gearing different sized lenses is also an issue. Oh and it has to look somewhat decent.

  2. Billy

    hahahahaha! i guess em failed on this... it really seems simple to make but the parts are so freakin' hard to find!!! dang, i was so looking forward to this one...

  3. Nick

    No doubt. If he can come up with an excellent follow focus that would be fantastic! One that would work nicely with that inexpensive shoulder mount. I've seen the best deals for dslr accessories right here. So far so good.

  4. Terry

    Anything new on the DIY Follow's like the Holy Grail of DIY. If you can crack that one Emm, we'll have to put your face on Mt. Rushmore!

    Keep up the good work,


  5. Srini

    Still eagerly looking forward to the follow focus!

    However, if you still have not built it, allow me to make a suggestion. I have noticed that several people, when using the cheap nifty fifty from Canon along with a follow focus, they used a rubber band. I guess the rubber band acts as a way to create a great amount of friction.

    I was thinking of using this high friction to think up an idea.

    As regular readers of this blog (like myself) know, you are making and selling the rotational dolly which uses skateboard wheels. How about using that? I think that if you use, say two skateboard wheels and mount them together perpendicular to each other (I'm having trouble thinking of how I would do this), use some form of rubber to create that friction, and then instead of using lens gears, use a simple rubber band, and use that as a follow focus. And for those as pedantic as me, it could even look like a professional looking FF.

    I hope I wasn't too confusing in that post.

    Thanks, good luck with making the FF.

  6. admin

    Post author

    Thanks for sharing this. I've seen Lego setups before. Pretty nice, but you still need a ring gear. I'm trying to go Gearless on the lens, but geared on the dial. Something universal. Still picking my brain and need time to sit down and work on it. Soon maybe.

  7. admin

    Post author

    Don't be fooled. Although this type of setup can 'spin' a lens, if you've really used used a follow focus, it should act more like a servo. Spinning it back and forth with a motor won't get you precise movement. I'm very sure this type of setup just passes the focus point each time you go forward or back. I think to get proper focus you'll need a servo type setup not a spinning motor.

  8. H.greenford

    Looking forward to the $13 project. I managed to get mine down to $50, could have got it to $20 but had to buy the 0.8 mod lens gear as i cant seem to find a DIY alternative. Its been racking my brains for the past few months but interesting to see what you've done. Keep up the great work!!

  9. I do have one but it's made with RC Car gears
    just like the indefocus -the big rubber wheel
    Im on vaction with no camera but hope to get back
    from Trinidad vacation to hook that up for you to look with
    via a google doc

  10. admin

    Post author

    We've seen many versions of this. The community seems to be looking for a DIY geared solution that has a 90 degree offset for ergonomics. Thanks for pointing it out, Keep submitting ideas!

  11. Jeff Morris

    Very interested in seeing what you come up with for $13! I've been looking into those rings that just snap onto your lens, but even those aren't that cheap, and you still need some gear mechanism and focus knob for it. Hesitant to shell out the big bucks for a FF system, when there are so many other gadgets to buy!

  12. I'm currently using the 2$ bolt + clamp technique for whenever I need Follow Focus, but I admit it has a lot of limits. Am really looking foward to this one, I was hoping you would give it a go, I haven't had the courage yet...

    Can't wait.

  13. WHAT????????
    Too good to be true!!
    But anythng is possible in this page!!! 😀
    Thanks and congrats, you have the best blog on DSLRs out there!

  14. JS

    oh... Can't wait to see this. I've been wondering why these small things cost so much. Of course professionals need good equipments, but $13 follow focus would be fine for me!!!!

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