Budget Pro Focus Puller's Focus Station

After a year of using my previous focus station setup, I have upgraded to a setup where I can work more on a professional level, but still on a relatively low budget. Most important was to spend my money well on things which would make a major difference. 

You might think upgrading the screen to SmallHD be more important or even to get an even more professional follow focus.

The most important upgrade is a proper video transmitter system which is the Teradek bolt 300. Though it is an older video transmitter, it has zero delay and also uncompressed 422 1080p video signal which gave me a higher quality image to focus with. I was able to get a nice set with 3 receivers for 1500 euro, so I could also easily set up a pro video village. Other cheaper transmitters have delay and are 8 bit compressed signals, which can produce harder to focus signals.

However I also did switch to a better monitor, from Feelworld to Portkeys HS7Tii and made the Feelworld LUT7S the Directors Monitor instead. Though the Portkeys HS7Tii lacks touchscreen and is less bright than the Feelworld, the image of the screen is sharper, plus focus assist or peaking is very similar to the one from SmallHD, which is a whole lot better than the feelworld. Also I like the custom button I have set to zoom in 125% of the image which is the sweet spot to zoom in that does not soften the image, but give me a closer look on where to focus too. Though this monitor was released for a short time, there also aren’t any cages available for it.

Also I swapped out the entire rigging and it is now mostly from Nitze with just one part from Niceyrig which I used on my previous setup. This setup is now much sturdier and can handle the weight more than my previous grip setup. Powering the setup I rigged Nitze Power Plate onto an Accsoon NPF adapter so the plate is directly connected to the monitor. I power my setup with a 190 watt hour battery, which lasts the entire day filming and powers everything on the focus station even the Follow focus.

Now to the important item, the Follow focus. Under here is a Tilta Nucleus Nano II, I pretty much instantly modded it so I can add the same marker rings from Arri WCU4 and C-motion onto my Nano II. Also it allows my hand to move away from the touchscreen to avoid accidentally changing the pages, but the bigger size gives me a better feeling for more accurate focussing. But also with the marker ring I can accurately know where my focus points are. And I make use of Dylan Stoel marker stickers which allows me to quickly set a mark but also easily move them around. Which is a lot easier than using a white board marker. Also since the recent firmware upgrade, I have been able to also trigger cinema cameras like Arri Alexa 35 and also Sony FX6 via lanc. However Bluetooth triggering blackmagic cameras are a bit of hit and miss, but mostly miss as the signal seems quite weak.

But most importantly it can trigger the Arri cameras which make a lot of difference if you get to work on professional film sets. As 1st AC or Focus puller becomes the person to press the record button instead of the DP or camera operator. The Nano II honestly is not a bad Follow focus and especially the price of 300 bucks.