How To Become a Focus Puller

Become a Focus Puller

What is a Focus Puller? 
A Focus Puller is also sometimes known as the 1st Assistant Cameraperson (1st AC). The Focus Pullers works as part of the Camera Department and are responsible for maintaining image sharpness.

Image sharpness is maintained through the act of pulling focus. This is whereby the lens’ focus distance is changed depending upon where the subject has moved. Or, for example, it could be shifting the focus from one subject to another.

It is commonly acknowledged that Focus Pullers have one of the hardest jobs on set. If the shot is out of focus, or soft, it is an error that cannot be simply fixed in post-production. This means that actors may have to re-do shots. For Focus Pullers, getting things wrong is a costly expense for the Production.

During the production process, Focus Pullers are not just responsible for pulling focus. They are also expected to ensure the maintenance of all camera equipment to include lenses, filters, batteries and more. Often Focus Pullers are one of the first on set, as they will need to prepare all the lenses for that day’s filming.

While all of this sounds pretty hefty, there are lots of ways you can get ahead. You can practice guessing distances in your spare time, improve your communication skills and of course, you should read the script. Want to know more? Why not check out these tips on how to become an outstanding focus puller.

Key Skills

  • Good knowledge of cinematographic and optical theory
  • A perfectionist
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Strong communication skills

How to Become a Focus Puller
It takes a lot of experience to become a Focus Puller, so where should you start? Well, you could attend a film school, or take a degree in media or a related topic. This will give you a basic grounding in techniques and theory. Further, you are likely to start out in a more junior role in the Camera Department. This could be as a Camera Trainee or Runner. From there you’ll work your way up through the ranks, usually working as a Second Camera Assistant (Clapper Loader) before reaching your end goal. You can find out more about becoming a Clapper Loader here.

Become a Focus Puller Today
If you are ready for the next step in your career, why not take a look at the latest Focus Puller vacancies on our jobs board? You can view our latest vacancies here.