Focusing on focus

Never have I heard of a role quite as interesting as being a focus puller. As the name suggests, this is the person who pulls focus. But why have I always assumed that this is just what the cameraperson would do? Perhaps because I’ve become accustomed to the aspiring photographers I have befriended, who can pull focus themselves when they take stills. But then, why has it not occurred to me that you would have to change the focus when filming someone who is walking towards or away from the camera. But DUH! Of course! The depth of field is changing!

My group has discussed whether we need a focus puller. Fortunately Jordan has a friend who is very capable of filling that role, should be need one. Yesterday we went to the car park with our esteemed actor to go through each of the scenes on each of the levels of the car park that we will be filming on. Jean pointed out that in several scenes, we will need to mark the floor with tape so our actor knows where to stand and so that our cameraman knows where to stand.

On this particular excursion to the car park, I paid more attention to the humming you can hear from the generators in and surrounding the car park. Initially, we’d all decided that this sound would add to the eerie nature of the film because it increases the tension because our character Jack, will seem so isolated and vulnerable. I will definitely be taking some atmos tracks before and after shots and each time we change location. This being so that we can add it in certain places if we need it while editing, but also so that I can inverse the track to remove any unnecessary humming there may be.

In the lecture on Monday, we also looked at the use of a dolly. I’d be interested to know the origin of this name, because I for one would not associate filmmaking with children’s toys. Anyway, the dolly basically allows you to drag the camera along to follow an action. As we are shooting at night and with quite a short timeframe, we have decided we don’t need to use a dolly because it would take too long to set up and become accustomed to. And while I do think it would be a handy skill to have, considering the time constraints we have, it would be wise to try to use a dolly.

Tomorrow is the shoot! This is beyond exciting and I’m so extremely nervous. I really don’t want to screw up!

Wish us luck!


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