Common Focus Pulling Mistakes You Should Be Aware Of

While focus pulling is a key skill for any cinematographer, it’s also one that is often misunderstood. As a result, many filmmakers end up making common mistakes that can jeopardize the quality of their footage. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common focus pulling mistakes and how to avoid them. From over- or under-pulling to poor planning, we’ll cover everything you need to know to keep your shots in focus and looking great.

Back button focus

If you’re not familiar with back button focus, it’s a technique where you use a dedicated button on the back of your camera to set the focus point, rather than using the shutter button or a separate AF-ON button.

There are a few benefits to using back button focus:

1. You can keep your finger on the shutter button at all times, so you’re less likely to miss a shot.

2. You can more easily track moving subjects since you don’t have to half-press the shutter button to set the focus point.

3. You can change the focus point without taking your eye away from the viewfinder.

4. It’s easier to shoot in continuous mode since you don’t have to worry about refocusing between shots.

Despite these advantages, back button focus isn’t for everyone and it can take some getting used to. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to accidentally set the wrong focus point or forget to reset the focus after changing lenses.

Here are a few common mistakes people make when using back button focus:

1. Not Understanding How It Works – The biggest mistake people make is not understanding how back button focus works and then getting frustrated when things don’t go as expected. Make sure you understand how your camera’s autofocus system works before trying to use back button focus.

2 forgetting To Reset The Focus Point – Another common mistake is forgetting to reset the focus point after

Not using the right AF mode

If you’re not using the right AF mode for your subject, you may end up with a blurry image. There are a few different AF modes to choose from, and each one is better suited for certain types of subjects. If you’re not sure which AF mode to use, ask your camera’s instruction manual or look up a tutorial online.

Here are some general guidelines for choosing an AF mode:

– If your subject is moving, use Continuous AF or Servo AF.
– If your subject is static, use Single AF or Manual Focus.
– If you’re shooting in low light, use single point AF.
– If you want to focus on a specific area of your subject, use Spot or Partial metering.

Not calibrating your lenses

When operating a camera, it is crucial to keep your lenses calibrated. If you don’t, you run the risk of throwing off your shots and ruining footage. Not calibrating your lenses can cause a number of problems, including:

• blurry or out-of-focus images

• incorrect exposure

• poor color balance

• wonky white balance

Relying on the camera’s autofocus

When relying on the camera’s autofocus, it’s important to be aware of a few common mistakes that can lead to out-of-focus shots. First, make sure that the subject is in the center of the frame and not too close to the edge. Second, be sure to adjust the focus point manually if the subject changes position. Third, avoid using auto-exposure features like spot metering or exposure compensation when photographing moving subjects; they can cause the camera to hunt for the correct exposure, leading to missed focus. Finally, remember that autofocus can be fooled by objects in front of or behind the subject; if possible, use manual focus instead. By following these tips, you can avoid common focus-pulling mistakes and ensure that your shots are always in focus.

Ignoring your camera’s focus aids

When you’re filming a scene, it’s important to make sure that your camera is in focus. This can be a challenge, especially if you’re trying to keep track of multiple moving objects. However, there are some things you can do to make sure your camera stays in focus.

One of the most common mistakes people make is ignoring their camera’s focus aids. These can be invaluable when you’re trying to keep track of a moving subject. If your camera has them, use them!

Another mistake is not using enough light. This can make it difficult for your camera to focus properly. Make sure you have plenty of light available so that your camera can do its job.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with differentFocus Pulling techniques . There are many different ways to keep your camera in focus, and the best way is often the one that works best for you and your particular situation. Try out different techniques and see what works best for you.

Failing to take environmental factors into account

One of the most common mistakes when focus pulling is failing to take environmental factors into account. This can lead to a number of problems, including:

– Focus pullers not being able to see the subject clearly due to poor lighting
– The subject being in a difficult or dangerous location
– Environmental noise affecting the sound quality of the footage

To avoid these problems, it’s important to take a few moments to assess the environment before starting to focus pull. Make sure there is sufficient lighting and that the subject is in a safe and accessible location. And if possible, try to record any environmental sounds that may be relevant to the footage.


There you have it — three of the most common focus pulling mistakes that you should be aware of. If you can avoid these mistakes, your photos will be far sharper and more focused than if you let them slide. With a little practice, you’ll be nailing focus every time you press the shutter button.