This is exactly what I bought the Sony HDR-HC1 for - for touch focus pulls. Did not use this feature much.
The professional HVR-V1U that I bought later, has the same feature with more bells and wistles: you can set focal length and focusing distance of the starting point, focal length and focusing distance of the ending point, and effects like slow, fast, slow-at-beginning, slow-at-the-end, etc. Makes for a very nice and controlled effect IF YOU HAVE PLENTY OF TIME AND SHOOTING NON-MOVING OBJECTS, like the flowers in your example. I was also thinking shooting something like a standup in front of say, a building, and zooming in and re-focusing from a person to an object on the background. Since I don't do video like that it made absolutely no difference for me, so I sold the V1U just like I sold the HC1 before it.
The TM700/SD600 had the similar feature, but they had very annoying behavior, that is, the very instant the camera loses focus it immediately tries to refocus onto something else, which usually was the backround. Looked horrible. In contrast, Canon cameras with similar feature do not re-focus right away, they stay focused where they were even if they lost focus, then they afford a couple of seconds to regain focus at the same distance, and if failed, only then they gently re-focus. Much nicer behavior.
Also, automatic re-focusing can sometimes cause "breathing" of the image, when the camera goes pass the focusing distance, then retracts back. Very distracting, although your particular videos does not exhibit this much. The G6 test videos in somewhat low light do exhibit such "breathing" because Panasonic's AF system is not as advanced as Sony's and Canon's. Too bad, I was thinking of the G6 to replace my Nikon D3200.
Also, AFAIK spot-focusing works only in auto mode. On the SD100 it worked in manual mode too, but apparently Panasonic realized that if a user sets brightness too high or too low, the camera won't be able to focus and Panasonic would be blamed. So they changed how it works, and - correct me if I am wrong - now using spot-focus requires switching to auto exposure mode. Deal breaker for me.
Similarly, face recognition and following did not work for me as well.
So I got a bit disallusioned in this feature. To work, it must be bulletproof, fast, intelligent, no "breathing", no switching of focus there and back, should work in manual exposure mode. It might take another couple of years to make it usable in real life, not just in a garden.
P.S. 0:07 - 0:16 - couple of obligatory focus pulls with a joystick (not even a ring)
. ;-)Edited by Ungermann - 7/15/13 at 10:44am