It is insanely difficult to bring an idea for a product to market. One of the biggest impediments is, of course, cost. That's why I have the utmost respect for folks who put it all on the line to follow their dream, folks like Chris Field. Chris has invented the Lens Apparatus, a universally compatible lens controller for timelapse and DSLR videography follow focus control that looks like something all of us DSLR videographers will love.
So why did Chris build it? "Artistic use of focus control is something that has always been a part of photography," Chris told me. "It is used to isolate the subject and draw your eyes to specific points, convey emotion and help tell the story of the photograph.
"Timelapse has been around awhile, but the technical challenges of being able to control the focus have made it very difficult to implement. We have taken on that challenge and created something very unique, The Lens Apparatus. There is nothing like this on the market, at least nothing that offers universal compatibility for timelapse."
"The adjustment of focus has to be very dynamic and work on-demand. We have found the best way to do this with a flexible combination of automation and direct live control. Of course, not all lenses are the same, not all behave the same. So the challenge was to build out a control system for the Lens Apparatus that worked one any lens. It must work not only as a stand alone system, and also be very simple to integrate with any motion control system."
But Chris wasn't satisfied with the Lens Apparatus being a one trick pony. "We also wanted to make this equally competent at follow focus work for DSLR video. By implementing a variety of speed range limits, and variations of control including direct position control we have also created a very robust and simple to use follow focus for video for clean smooth and consistent results."
Chris is running a Kickstarter campaign which has already hit its funding goal, but he is still offering rewards for pledges to get the Lens Apparatus at a discounted rate. "We have seven pre-production units that are already in use and have received excellent feedback to their performance. We have been hand building quality timelapse systems for a couple years now, and are very excited to introduce this new system and can't wait to see what you do with it. We are prepared to handle any size of orders with this Kickstarter campaign, no matter how large or small."
Chris tells me this idea stems from the 2011 Fstoppers Behind the Scenes video contest, so I'm glad that our medium led to something so sweet! You can get more details at the Kickstarter page. What do you all think? How would you use the Lens Apparatus?