Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.

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paulears
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Most of my work has always been mobile rather than studio, so I've become confident with my zoom on the right hand pan bar, and focus with my left. For the jobs where I drag out the Vinten Vision Ped - which isn't that often nowadays - I leave the zoom demand on the right and add focus to the left bar. I can work with this setup with no thought whatsoever.  It does cause me problems when I have to use systems with the focus on the right. I seem to find swapping very difficult. An old friend of mine who covered at the last minute for one of my theatre shows said exactly the same having to use both hands, but for him, a confirmed studio man, my way was backwards.
 
How do others cope with swapping? Do we all find it difficult, or is it not a problem. 
 
Actually Gary's a good person to ask - he's just gone back to OBs, and I bet this means he's had to swap over again? Any thoughts Gary?
MAGLINK
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
Nope every camera I have ever used or seen on OB's has had zoom on the right and focus on the left, it's what makes us true Dalek's ;0)
 
If someone has put it the other way round then they must be left handed or a noo meediah muppet trying to re-invent the wheel again!
sleepytom
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
Anyone yonger than about 35 will have them the "wrong" way round. (ie zoom on the right) This is because we have grown up with budgets being slashed and have become accustomed to having to make do with only having a zoom demand - at which point zoom has to go on the right and you reach round to focus the lens directly with your left hand.
 
I just swap the controls round if i need to jump on a camera which has been setup the other way round (quite a common thing to end up having to do at music festivals with multiple operators sharing cameras) If your in a real hurry then it is quicker to swap the tripod handles than it is to take the controls off and put them back on!

You can contact me at http://tombassford.org
People interested in live production might like to check out http://atemuser.com 

MAGLINK
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
I am puzzled sleepytom as all the marconi mk 4 and mk 7 camera's we had at Tyne Tees 30+ years ago always had the zoom on the right and the focus wheel actually on the camera body.
 
How can you say it is a new thing that zoom is on the right? every camera I have seen or worked on in the past 32 years tends to have the zoom on the right and the focus on the left or is this a secret BBC thing like where the audio mixer faders are upside down? ;0)
MAGLINK
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
Gary Nattrass wrote:
I am puzzled sleepytom as all the marconi mk 4 and mk 7 camera's we had at Tyne Tees 30+ years ago always had the zoom on the right and the focus wheel actually on the camera body.
 
How can you say it is a new thing that zoom is on the right? every camera I have seen or worked on in the past 32 years tends to have the zoom on the right and the focus on the left or is this a secret BBC thing like where the audio mixer faders are upside down? ;0)
 
Oops just looked at some old pictures of studio camera's and I think I may be wrong and they were all the way you say, does that mean I am under 35 again or just one of those noo meedia wheel inventing muppets.
 
Or more likely that senile dementia is finally setting in? all the camera's on OB's these days seem to have the zoom on the right but I suppose it is from ENG camera operation where you may not have a focus demand anyway.
 
Dave Jervis
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
Some of this is to do with viewfinders... A shoulder mounted camera tends to have a viewfider on the left and is carried on the right shoulder, Pan and tilt is then controlled with the right hand which is holding the camera in place and. The left hand then ends up on the focus ring and operating the controls on the left of the camera. The non-portable big old studio cameras with a central, larger, viewfinder seemed to develop more to be controlled with the left hand continuously on the panning bar and the usually dominant  right hand free to move and crane the pedestal (important on turret cameras!) , focus, execute lens changes etc.
 
When you put a smaller or shoulder mountable camera on a tripod or dolly it would be relatively easy to rig your own controls either way round..... 
 
......and I managed to write that without saying "when I were a lad".....
 
 
.....oh.... perhaps I didn't....
dave
Dugi
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
All the studio/OB cameras I've used have the zoom on the left hand, focus on the right.
 
delmartin
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
Ah, Dugi! The beautiful EMI 2001 - they don't make them like that anymore!!
 
Brings back many happy memories...
 
Derek
infocus2
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
I grew up with ENG cameras, and "zoom on the right" is logical there for the reasons Dave says, you need to have head to left side of camera, left hand goes naturally to focus ring, and therefore zoom demand on the right.
 
A few years ago I found myself rigging a camera for a OB, with hired very long lens, and large viewfinder. Moving to a large viewfinder alters how the camera is operated - you have to stand back from it - and that really means a focus demand as well as a zoom demand, and I confess I rigged it zoom to right, focus to left.
 
Soon after, the "owner" of the camera took over and pointed out exactly what this thread is all about. With focus and zoom demands, the convention is most definately zoom to left, focus to right, and always has been. Since his background had been studio and OB for many years, I'm pretty sure he's right, and seem to recall him giving a reason for it being that way round which made sense at the time. Unfortunately, I can't remember it now.
 
Does it matter? If we were starting over now, there's probably a lot to be said for going "zoom on the right" all the time as there is so much operation these days with no big viewfinder or focus demand - so the zoom demand stays on the right. If it's only you ever operating the camera, it may be worthwhile just doing that anyway. But in the wider world, the "correct" standard is "zoom on the left" and it's probably most important that everybody sticks to the same convention.
sleepytom
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
I operate a wide range of cameras, from small handycam things like the NX5 and EX1 up to OB cameras on big lenses with EFP monitors.  I've always found my shots are much better if i setup the cameras so I'm comfortable using them. This means I have the zoom on the right (which i'm happy to accept is "wrong"), cameramen i know who have a studio background find it hard to operate ENG and smaller cameras as they have learnt to do things the "right" way round and so the logical way of working for them doesn't translate to cameras where your dealing with a lanC controller rather than a proper lens remote.
 
I'd say it's most important that people set things up so they are comfortable, and thus can concentrate on getting the best shot. For most freelancers who are unlikely to ever work with "proper" studio cameras the "wrong" way round is more logical as it allows better interoperability over a wide range of lower cost cameras. 
 

You can contact me at http://tombassford.org
People interested in live production might like to check out http://atemuser.com 

paulears
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
I've been looking into this further and looking at Canon and Fujinon, it's clear they expect focus to be on the right. You could put the focus control on the left, but if you look at their shotbox equipped focus, it has to go on the right unless you want the labels upside down.
 
All the cameras I found that have focus built into the camera body have it on the right, so choice is not an option. 
I can't find any images of box lens equipped cameras with zoom on the right
sleepytom
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
 
It is possible!
 
AFAIK you'd only find a camera with a built in control in a seriously big studio setup. My point about ease of use an remaining comfortable whilst using a wide range of cameras remains valid, very few cameramen starting out today will ever see a big studio camera. Forcing yourself to learn to operate both ways round simply to fit with a basically obsolete broadcast convention seems a little silly to me, certainly when it is likely that your only going to be using cameras with full EFP kits on bigger / more important gigs, where the last thing you want is to be having to cope with unfamiliar operating controls.

You can contact me at http://tombassford.org
People interested in live production might like to check out http://atemuser.com 

paulears
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
 
Now, that's another right hander!
Dave Jervis
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
sleepytom wrote:
....... a basically obsolete broadcast convention .......
Bit of slack for the old'uns please tom....    d.  ;-)
paulears
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
I've come across a couple of really great BBC clips on the 'new' EMI 2001, and they're great to watch for the knob by knob explanation and the great fashion sense! Although he does get mixed up with the zoom being focus!
MAGLINK
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
Well I had a troll through my recent premier league photo folder and found this one of the big top lens camera at Man Utd manned by one of the regular guys who works for visions:
 
 
Just goes to show how unobservant I am these days as I was sure they were all zoom on the right, but there again I wasn't specifically looking at the time.
 
Most of the ENG and sony 1500 cameras tend to be rigged with the zoom on the right though.
MAGLINK
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
And here is a pic from the early 80's of the first hand held cam we had a Tyne Tees, Simon Longbottom a studio cameraman has rigged the zoom on the right so I suppose it supports the eng style operation being the start of this:
 
MAGLINK
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
Two from Highway in the 80's with the same studio cameraman but cameras used in both ways:
 
1: Dave Petrie shooting Julian Lloyd Webber with Peter Johnson and Jan Ostrowski on cable and dolly.
2: Dave Petrie with Mike Parker shooting Sir Harry on ENG cameras 
infocus2
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
Gary Nattrass wrote:
Two from Highway in the 80's with the same studio cameraman but cameras used in both ways:
Yes - the point is that in the first image it's a "real" studio camera - complete with large viewfinder, focus demand, and demand controls rigged right way round.
 
The second is ENG style, small eyepiece viewfinder, so head has to be close to camera side. That makes it impossible to use a focus demand, and the left hand has to directly move the focus ring. Consequently, the zoom demand has to be on the "wrong" side.
paulears
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Re: Focus and Zoom demands - right or wrong way.
which neatly takes us right to my first question - I've found that I'm not very good doing zoom with my left hand - so no doubt this would improve with practice, but what about people, like in the pics, who have to use both systems! 
 
side point - I still have one of the Vinten Cygnet post heads - the best head I've ever had, The 5LF I have is good, but the Cygnet is by far the best.