Focus is such a downright elemental part of the filmmaking process that it's often taken for granted. Like sound, most moviegoers only notice it when it's bad. Aside from the occasional rack-focus, the work of a good 1st AC (or whoever's pulling the focus) probably shouldn't call attention to itself. And yet it's work that takes nimble hands, good eyes, and a near-balletic sense of timing and movement.
I enjoyed FresHDV's latest 3-part tutorial with Bob Sanchez on The Art of Focus Pulling, in which the FresHDV guys document Sanchez revealing how he approaches his work and some tricks of the trade.
Here are the links:
Aside from learning some things, after watching the series I went away appreciating even more how, when it's done right, the craft/art of it is simultaneously invisible and right before your eyes. How's that for a paradox?
Update from Matt Jeppsen of FresHDV:
When we posted the last clip in our three-part "Art of Pulling Focus" series, I had quite a few people e-mail me and specifically ask for a quicktime and/or HD version. Well at long last, here it is. We're sharing the 15-min Part 3 hands-on demonstration video as a 720p H.264 clip, available here.