Indie Filmmaker Makes Unusual Hollywood Studio Hit: The ‘SnapFocus’

A device called the ‘SnapFocus’ invented to help indie filmmakers has attracted attention of Hollywood studio directors including JJ Abrams.
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The SnapFocus Follow Focus System
The SnapFocus Follow Focus System
June 18, 2012 - PRLog -- CULVER CITY, CA -- With his project called the SnapFocus, an independent filmmaker has attracted the support of studio directors JJ Abrams, Jimmy Hayward and a host of reality television producers. The project, however, is not a film but a new technology that allows independent filmmakers to achieve Hollywood production value on a shoestring budget. The filmmaker-inventor’s name is Brandon David Cole and his invention, the ‘SnapFocus’ uses BMX bicycle brake levers to control the focus on a DSLR camera. The SnapFocus is available only through the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter for $399 and the opportunity to get it ends June 28th.

DSLR cameras allow you to capture HD video with the shallow depth-of-field that is the signature look of expensive movies and television shows. The cameras were built primarily for still photography so keeping these cameras steady and your subjects in sharp focus in motion-picture mode has been a challenge. The SnapFocus is a solution that has everyone from the indie film community to Hollywood studio directors excited.  

JJ Abrams, Co-Creator of ‘Lost’, Director of ‘Star Trek’ and the Tom Cruise franchise ‘Mission: Impossible III’ backed the SnapFocus Kickstarter project in the first few days and emailed Cole to say “Love the product, design and determination.” Jimmy Hayward, Director of major Hollywood studio releases ‘Horton Hears a Who’ and ‘Jonah Hex’ declares the SnapFocus the ultimate device for indie filmmakers looking to break into the Hollywood studio system. “The SnapFocus gives you access to big-league production techniques that are normally reserved for large crews and spending tons of dough.” said Hayward. And indie film producing tyro Josh Mond who has made a name for himself with a string of independent successes like his latest 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' says "A product like this will help indie filmmakers achieve production value from features to commercials to music videos and short films."

Reality television producers are also raving about the SnapFocus because it will allow them to give their run-and-gun productions, typically shot on an ENG news-style camera a more cinematic feel. Biagio Messina (, Executive Producer of MTV’s ‘Caged’ and CW’s ‘Beauty and the Geek’, has been skeptical of using DSLR for his documentary-style projects until now. “With the SnapFocus it finally makes it possible to shoot reality TV on a DSLR.” said Messina.  

An ex-professional BMX rider, Cole bought a DSLR camera to shoot his next feature film and with the help of a retired machinist designed his own camera support with the BMX technology he was most familiar with. “I always knew that using brake levers for focus control would be a hit,” recalls Cole, “but the people getting on board with it is kind of mind-blowing.” He's even using BMX company S&M as a supplier for the parts. "They stand proud behind their "American Made" motto like us." says Cole.

Kickstarter, which recently raised more than $10 Million dollars for the Pebble watch, has become a legitimate way for entrepreneurs like Cole to raise capital without giving control to investors. “Launching this on Kickstarter is a perfect fit for us.” Cole says. “They are the indie film way way of launching a new product design.”

The SnapFocus project was lightning in a bottle on Kickstarter, meeting it’s $20,000 minimum goal in the first four days of its 30 day run. And even though at the halfway point the project was 200% funded, there’s more reason now to back it for the product. “The $20,000 goal was the minimum amount we could raise with this Kickstarter project and deliver a solid product to backers.” Cole states, “Every extra dollar pledged beyond our goal allows us to put more money into the product and deliver more value for the filmmakers that backed us.”

This is also the only chance to buy it this year. After the Kickstarter campaign, filmmakers will have to wait until 2013 when it will be available exclusively at EVS (, a retailer that carries Cole’s Midas Mount line of film gear.

Backers of the SnapFocus project can pledge a dollar to support the project and stay informed, $399 for the SnapFocus unit, $699 for a complete support rig and other pledge/reward tiers in between. Find the SnapFocus Kickstarter project at

About Midas Mount
Midas Mount Camera Support Systems builds and sells equipment by independent filmmakers, for independent filmmakers. All Midas Mount products are handmade in Los Angeles, California by local craftspeople.

Source:Midas Mount Camera Support Systems
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Tags:Dsr, Philip Bloom, Jj Abrams, Canon, 5d Mkiii
Industry:Entertainment, Technology, Engineering
Location:Culver City - California - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Jun 19, 2012

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