Cinema Engineering Company Mitchell Follow Focus L-base

Mitchell Follow Focus L-base

A trip down memory lane . . . The movie industry always calls for unique solutions to unique problems. Many of us without the budget to build a Dykstraflex needed a device that would allow our cameras to be focused by computer control and hold the camera at nodal point. To solve this problem, I designed and built this follow focus L-base that incorporated a standard rackover Mitchell camera and Nikon lenses. My design made use of a bellows and stepper motor to move the camera toward and away from the taking lens to maintain focus from macro to infinity. Another unique problem many small studios had was that they only owned one camera, but had a number of setups working at the same time. My dear friend Ted Rae came up with the idea of mounting a Mitchell viewfinder on the same type of dovetails that the camera mounted to the rackover L-base on. Since the lenses remain mounted to the L-bases, a different L-base and lens could be dedicated to each setup. Ted’s device made it possible to do lineup and composition on one of the L-bases while the camera was shooting a setup elsewhere on another L-base. These devices were used to shoot tabletop miniatures, airplanes, spaceships, and much more.