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WCU4/FIZ3


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#1 Brandon Harris

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 04:10 PM

Hi,

 

I'm in the market to purchase my first FIZ unit, and I'm having some trouble deciding between Arri's new(ish) WCU-4 (and UMC4 controller for non-Arri cameras) or the tried and true Preston 3.

 

As it's a fairly large investment, I want something that will still be relevant for quite some time, even as cameras are updated. 

This is where I feel like the Preston is a better choice. It will always be made to work with any 3rd party camera, whereas the WCU4 seems like it could be outdated quicker because of the amount of camera interfacing it does with Alexa Plus cameras. 

 

I love the FIZ3, but I think a lot of the features in the WCU4 are really nice, and I like the design of it. Seems very comfortable and easy to hold for those long days. 

I've never been able to use a WCU-4 in person, so I can't directly compare it to a FIZ3, which I have a lot more experience with. Does anyone here have any experiences with the WCU4 and have any recommendations?

 

Should I stick with the industry standard FIZ3 or give something new a shot?

 

Thanks,

 

Brandon Harris

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BC, Canada


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#2 Kar Wai Ng

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 05:04 PM

Here in Toronto, it's an all-Preston city, and it seems to me that Preston is generally more popular in North America. If rentability is a concern, you'll definitely make your money back on your Preston, whereas if you try to rent out an Arri system, not many assistants are familiar with it. If it's a system only you will be using personally, then it's a different matter. Also because of the large Preston rental inventory among houses and personally owned gear, the availability of backups, extra motors, cables, etc should something fail makes much smarter to go with Preston. 

 

I love my HU3, but the WCU-4 has some nice features as well...it's lighter, has the vibration feedback, better ring illumination. They've also finally gotten the lens mapping functionality working now.

 

I don't have much hope of either system being 'relevant' in terms of camera interfacing in the future. I don't know if it's a protocol disagreement between Preston and Arri, but the HU3/MDR3 still can't control shutter and framerate on any digital camera. You do have that benefit with the Arri system and an Alexa Plus.


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#3 thomas-english

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 06:43 PM

i think it is a difficult decision right now. People really seem to like the new Arri and the benefits to us are obvious. No brain no hassle and quicker onto sticks and handheld means less humping a Steadi for no reason.

 

I've got a Preston and it works with the data stream from a Cinetape and it earns me money every job. I also think that the next 5 years will see a LOT more sony in major cinema/commercials work. Arri do have a history of not playing nice. Whilst you have a brain on the WCU-4 if you want it. I forget.. can it work in 12v? The WCU-3 couldnt?  Whats the score with run cables? Like I say Arri don't play nice. I got burnt on their colaboration with C-motion and their deciding not to support the Cinetape through the C-motion (without brain) whilst supporting it on their wireless. To me that kind of marketing manipulation is not what I want from a supplier so best to stick to an independant that wants to cater for everyone. 

 

Go with Preston.. but its tough choice right now its a bigger unit some early mdr3's fried but they fixed all that with their power board changes. With future changes.. Preston.  


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#4 thomas-english

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 06:45 PM

If I had a choice right now... Preston


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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 07:52 PM

I have a preston....  I'm going to sell it...

 

Arri's Offering is what we need it's forward thinking and innovative. with the Universal MDR it can control any camera now and in the future. Motor count per revolution is higher on the Arri meaning technically it's more accurate

 

and it's less expensive. 


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#6 Brandon Harris

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 10:12 PM

 

I've got a Preston and it works with the data stream from a Cinetape and it earns me money every job. I also think that the next 5 years will see a LOT more sony in major cinema/commercials work. Arri do have a history of not playing nice. Whilst you have a brain on the WCU-4 if you want it. I forget.. can it work in 12v? The WCU-3 couldnt?  Whats the score with run cables? Like I say Arri don't play nice. I got burnt on their colaboration with C-motion and their deciding not to support the Cinetape through the C-motion (without brain) whilst supporting it on their wireless. To me that kind of marketing manipulation is not what I want from a supplier so best to stick to an independant that wants to cater for everyone. 

 

 

 

The WCU4/UMC4 already have Cinetape interface capabilities, and they offer Sony R/S and power cables, in 12v as well. 


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#7 Brandon Harris

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 10:15 PM

Now that lens mapping is implemented into the WCU4 so you can use pre-printed rings and see your distance readout on the screen with any lens or camera, I'm seeing fewer and fewer reasons to go with the Preston.

 

I've done a lot of shows recently where the DP or Cam Op prefers to control the iris by hand, rather than with a motor, and one thing I also think is really cool about the Arri system, is that you can put one of their lens data encoders (https://www.arri.de/..._encoder_lde_1/) and receive iris and depth of field info to the handset, while still retaining manual control of the iris ring.


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#8 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 10:33 PM

WRC4 reads cinetape, c-laser, cine ranger and sniper with no $600 converter box (I know those arnt needed on the mdr3 but for me to upgrade to that I need to buy all new run cables AND spend more money than I can sell my MDR2 for)

The other advantage of the Arri unit is that they are constantly upgrading it and adding new features
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#9 William Demeritt

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 10:53 PM

Does anyone have a price list or rough estimate of what an Arri WCU-4 and system will cost? I could find the handset on AbelCine.com, but not much else. 


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#10 Brandon Harris

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 11:58 PM

I've uploaded the price list to dropbox:

https://www.dropbox....y 2014.pdf?dl=0


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#11 thomas-english

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 10:59 AM

For certain a lot of focus pullers are liking the Arri WCU-4 a lot. It is worth surveying your focus pullers and asking what they want. 

 

Another advantage of the Preston is the full range of motors that will work on it. The WCU4 only works with Arri motors right? I mix and match Hedens and Preston motors. 

 

I have the Arri motors on my C-Motion white. I like them. 


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#12 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 12:56 PM

Motor choices arnt an issue. The Arri motors are very good and have higher resolution encoders than the others
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#13 Iain Baird

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 04:07 PM

I have a preston....  I'm going to sell it...

 

Arri's Offering is what we need it's forward thinking and innovative. with the Universal MDR it can control any camera now and in the future. Motor count per revolution is higher on the Arri meaning technically it's more accurate

 

and it's less expensive. 

 

A quick look at that Arri price List seems to indicate the opposite?

 

iB


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#14 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 04:27 PM

I buy what my assistants want to use and are comfortable with, simple
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#15 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 05:01 PM

A quick look at that Arri price List seems to indicate the opposite?
 
iB


Price list vs quote. Things like all the gears a mount and one cable come with motors.
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