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designing a remote follow focus


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#1 Andrew Rowland

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 11:13 PM

Hey everyone,
I am in the concept stage of designing a remote follow focus with the input of a few of my stedicam and 1st AC friends and colleagues and was wondering if anyone here would have some ideas for what makes/breaks the more reputable brands, or if there was anything you guys wished they had.

Thanks for any input or suggestions you guys have...
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#2 Nitin Rao

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 12:48 AM

Hey Andrew

Its nice to know of u designing one. where r u from, since we in india (Mumbai) are also in the process in doing so. The test hardware have been made and cosmetic finishing is on. Its a little unique unlike other ones around and digital by design.
would u like to share some of your idea would be gr8.
My email id is getagrip07@gmail.com
Thanks
Nitin
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#3 Erwin Landau

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 03:54 AM

Hi Drew,

Not really seeing a need for another Follow Focus Set Up, unless it's more reliable then the Preston, More sophisticated then the Arri, or cheaper then the BFD. There was a number of candidates that tried to put down a foot in Hollywood and quite frankly failed. Scorpio springs to mind as well as several different incarnation of Chrosziel...

But putting that all to the way side, here would be a couple of things, from the top of my head, that could be nice, or have been raised by my AC's in the past, or combined in a high end Follow Focus Unit that nobody is building so far (including C-Motion):


Hand unit:

- Large LCD/OLED display, in color.
- Touch screen input.
- Build in transceiver and internal antenna
- Multi network compatibility for different environments (Microwave, WiFi, Bluetooth)
- input for video feed, video tap and displayable on said display (wireless)
- split screen/over lay for focus display and video feed at the same time
- SD slot to record takes?
- Memory for SFX shots?
- Have different sizes of text available, digital interpretation of Focus distance
- usable as single channel but upgradeable to four channel
- have option for dumb, or not so dumb single channel units (for DP, 2nd AC, Convergence puller, etc)
- randomly assignable channels
- Multi hand unit accessible, splitting/distributing channels
- right hand/left hand user friendly
- self illuminating focus ring, Iris slider, Zoom indicator
- build in interface for Cinetape, Panatape, Sniper, etc.
- Smart Lens interface for LDS lenses
- enough memory to store all lenses used (past, present, future)
- Build in P-cam software
- Remote camera display for footage counter/harddrive clip counter (camera status)
- ergonomic hand grip or housing
- lightweight
- low power consumption, running on cheap Camcorder batteries
- multi attachment for batteries to expand operation
- Software driven set up, but easily dumbed down if necessary
- hardline compatible
- dummy hand unit (Knob only, powered by Motor Driver or Camera Body) that will replace the regular Knob but work via the FF motors for quick rebuild, back and forth... Crane, Steadicam, Handheld, Dolly... and leave the motors engaged to the Lens.


Motor Driver:

- Small, Lightweight
- 4 channel compatible
- Build in transceiver and internal antenna
- Multi network compatibility for different environments (Microwave, WiFi, Bluetooth)
- Multi Motor Driver accessible, splitting/distributing channels
- single button (multifunction toggle or multi selector)inter face
- LCD/LED display (Interface via simple menu)
- (Touch screen?)
- easy access to channel changer (remote channel change via hand unit?)
- easy access to torque (remote torque change via hand unit?)
- Auto Calibration/one button, single push re-calibration
- Water tight/resistant
- Less connectors (4 for motors, 1 power, 1 run/ computer interface)
- Lemo all around
- easy and fast mounting solution, preferably build into housing
- hardline compatible

Motor:

- fast, torquey, lightweight
- quiet
- easy and fast, inter changeable Focus Gears (Tool less)
- easy and fast mounting solution, preferably build into housing of motor again tool less
- 90 degrees rotatable motor cable plug (for right angle cables)
- spin-able plug for straight cables
- over torque protection
- easy access to parts for service/replacement
- Smart motors that also will work without Motor Driver or Hand unit
- Hardline override, so that attached motors can be also moved by operator if need be


I did spend some time in the past sitting on set, bored and playing with my equipment while waiting... Everything listed would be nice, but frankly forbiddingly expensive to come up from scratch. I could see that a couple of us sit down with a current manufacturer and really make a binding wish list with a large check to back it up...

Just my 2 cents...


Erwin
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#4 Andrew Rowland

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 09:22 PM

thank you guy for the replies... i worked with the ARRI remote focus over the past few days on a shoot and picked up some things i liked and disliked (mainly the bulky battery pack the AC has to wear). If anyone thinks of anything else that they would like to add it would all be greatly appreciated and very helpful
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#5 Jamie Glover

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 05:15 PM

Thanks for posting that list Erwin,

I'm so glad to say we have most of them things and are working on the rest for the REV remote follow focus :)

Jamie

Edited by Jamie Glover, 03 December 2009 - 05:17 PM.

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#6 Erwin Landau

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 05:52 PM

Do tell...


Care to share?

I am all ears.

Steadicam@LandauCamera.com
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#7 Charles Papert

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 03:06 AM

2010 appears to be the year that the remote lens control world will break open--I've so far heard of four low-cost (under $2K for a complete single channel) systems that are scheduled to come to market, which probably means that two of them will actually make it! Obviously this was all prompted initially by the popularity of 35mm adaptors for the small chip cameras, later RED and more recently DSLR's. It will be interesting to see which of these will become the one to beat, and that may give the higher-end units a run for their money.
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#8 Peter Hoare

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 10:11 AM

I made it Charles ;-)
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#9 Charles Papert

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 02:57 PM

Cheers Peter!
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#10 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 05:04 PM

To all the stuff Erwin mentioned, id add, make it indestructible and water proof........ maybe fire proof as well, some operators :rolleyes: are pretty darn hard on their equipment.
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#11 eric ramahatra

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 06:14 PM

i was working few months ago on a remote follow focus device.

Here's something i might come up with in few months :

Posted Image

edit: pricing would be under $7000 for a complete device : emitter, motor driver and motor

Edited by eric ramahatra, 30 December 2009 - 06:16 PM.

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#12 max volokh

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 10:39 PM

Hi Drew,

Not really seeing a need for another Follow Focus Set Up, unless it's more reliable then the Preston, More sophisticated then the Arri, or cheaper then the BFD. There was a number of candidates that tried to put down a foot in Hollywood and quite frankly failed. Scorpio springs to mind as well as several different incarnation of Chrosziel...

But putting that all to the way side, here would be a couple of things, from the top of my head, that could be nice, or have been raised by my AC's in the past, or combined in a high end Follow Focus Unit that nobody is building so far (including C-Motion):


Hand unit:

- Large LCD/OLED display, in color.
- Touch screen input.
- Build in transceiver and internal antenna
- Multi network compatibility for different environments (Microwave, WiFi, Bluetooth)
- input for video feed, video tap and displayable on said display (wireless)
- split screen/over lay for focus display and video feed at the same time
- SD slot to record takes?
- Memory for SFX shots?
- Have different sizes of text available, digital interpretation of Focus distance
- usable as single channel but upgradeable to four channel
- have option for dumb, or not so dumb single channel units (for DP, 2nd AC, Convergence puller, etc)
- randomly assignable channels
- Multi hand unit accessible, splitting/distributing channels
- right hand/left hand user friendly
- self illuminating focus ring, Iris slider, Zoom indicator
- build in interface for Cinetape, Panatape, Sniper, etc.
- Smart Lens interface for LDS lenses
- enough memory to store all lenses used (past, present, future)
- Build in P-cam software
- Remote camera display for footage counter/harddrive clip counter (camera status)
- ergonomic hand grip or housing
- lightweight
- low power consumption, running on cheap Camcorder batteries
- multi attachment for batteries to expand operation
- Software driven set up, but easily dumbed down if necessary
- hardline compatible
- dummy hand unit (Knob only, powered by Motor Driver or Camera Body) that will replace the regular Knob but work via the FF motors for quick rebuild, back and forth... Crane, Steadicam, Handheld, Dolly... and leave the motors engaged to the Lens.


Motor Driver:

- Small, Lightweight
- 4 channel compatible
- Build in transceiver and internal antenna
- Multi network compatibility for different environments (Microwave, WiFi, Bluetooth)
- Multi Motor Driver accessible, splitting/distributing channels
- single button (multifunction toggle or multi selector)inter face
- LCD/LED display (Interface via simple menu)
- (Touch screen?)
- easy access to channel changer (remote channel change via hand unit?)
- easy access to torque (remote torque change via hand unit?)
- Auto Calibration/one button, single push re-calibration
- Water tight/resistant
- Less connectors (4 for motors, 1 power, 1 run/ computer interface)
- Lemo all around
- easy and fast mounting solution, preferably build into housing
- hardline compatible

Motor:

- fast, torquey, lightweight
- quiet
- easy and fast, inter changeable Focus Gears (Tool less)
- easy and fast mounting solution, preferably build into housing of motor again tool less
- 90 degrees rotatable motor cable plug (for right angle cables)
- spin-able plug for straight cables
- over torque protection
- easy access to parts for service/replacement
- Smart motors that also will work without Motor Driver or Hand unit
- Hardline override, so that attached motors can be also moved by operator if need be


I did spend some time in the past sitting on set, bored and playing with my equipment while waiting... Everything listed would be nice, but frankly forbiddingly expensive to come up from scratch. I could see that a couple of us sit down with a current manufacturer and really make a binding wish list with a large check to back it up...

Just my 2 cents...


Erwin


In January I'll make an introduction of the new focus system compatibly with your wish list. ready to extra low temperature (now it was tasted at -22C hum 85) powerful motors compatibly to the most digital systems , separate zoom handle with ability to direct motor plug-in.
memory for 100 leans. on-handle two line display. programable IRIS. 1 to 3 motors, start/stop, 11-30volt
We just finished testing of prototype (on the photo) and now we making an agreement with official dealer and service in EU.
Happy New Year!

Attached Files


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#13 Samuel Sun

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 04:31 PM

Hey everyone,
I am in the concept stage of designing a remote follow focus with the input of a few of my stedicam and 1st AC friends and colleagues and was wondering if anyone here would have some ideas for what makes/breaks the more reputable brands, or if there was anything you guys wished they had.

Thanks for any input or suggestions you guys have...

Hi,
ca i ask in which field of Designing???
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