Filmmaking on a Lo-Fi Budget: The $4 Focus Lever
Low/no budget filmmakers are an extremely creative breed. We HAVE to be. With little or no money to support our filmmaking dreams, we set out to make cinematic gold from odds and ends we can find or scrape together. This article is the first of what I hope will be many – how to find (or make) useful tools on the cheap for the no-budget filmmaker.
The Four Buck Focus Lever
I first saw this while looking for some kitchen utensils at a home/kitchen store. It is a silicon jar opener. Composed of a rubbery silicon material with a hard plastic tightening collar, it is made to open the toughest of jars.
If you look closely at the inside of the “belt”, you will see a grooved pitched surface, much like a follow focus ring.
Looking at this gave me an idea; why not use it on my lens as a focus lever? The geared silicon surface would grab hold of the focus barrel of my lens very well. So I slipped it around my lens’ focus ring and tightened the collar which created a sort of stick/lever.
Sure enough, it works like a charm. It’s not a real follow focus kit, but it grips the focus ring well enough to provide solid turnings. The silicon material won’t harm or leave any unwanted marks on your lenses. And it’s adjustable! It fits a wide variety of lenses. Best of all, it’s only $3.99 (CDN), at least from Kitchen Stuff Plus, where I first found it.
If one’s not enough for your lens collection, then you can head over to Amazon.com to pick up a 24 pack
in multiple colours for about $55 to share with friends or have all your lenses ready to go at a moment’s notice. Or better yet, have one for the focus ring and another for the zoom ring if you have a zoom lens.
See it in action in the video below…