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Wireless Follow focus


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#1 Richard Unger

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 11:05 AM

I'm new to this but hope your educate me. I've built a jib for my DSLR camera you can see it at www.henrijib.com. Since its conception it has changed a bit. However I need a wireless follow focus at an affordable price. Most of the units I've looked at are high end and just to expensive. Can anyone suggest an inexpensive basic unit, any information about building one or know where I can get one second hand. I had a go at building one from RC components and it works OK but I'd like one that is more reliable.
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#2 Tom Wills

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 12:09 PM

I think you'll find if you do some more research into wireless follow focuses that there simply isn't a cheaper, yet reliable solution. Redrock Micro said they'd be coming out with one several years ago, several other companies have shown demos, but none of the products have come to market and stayed there for very long. (Some, like the Redrock, never came to market at all!)

The "cheap" solution (that still meets industry standards) is a used Bartech, with an older motor. It's what I'm using on my Steadicam right now. You can get a Bartech new for around $2100, without motor, and a few hundred dollars less used. New motors run upwards of $2000, and can be found well used for around half of that. So, for a total cost, you're looking at around $2600-3000, and that's used.

If the RC solution isn't working out well, perhaps try making it hardwired. No reason why a jib like yours needs a wireless focus control, unless the jib is quite long. Varizoom makes one for around $900 (VZ-EFCU, I think it's called), but you might be able to work up something cheaper.
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#3 Richard Unger

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 12:33 PM

I think you'll find if you do some more research into wireless follow focuses that there simply isn't a cheaper, yet reliable solution. Redrock Micro said they'd be coming out with one several years ago, several other companies have shown demos, but none of the products have come to market and stayed there for very long. (Some, like the Redrock, never came to market at all!)

The "cheap" solution (that still meets industry standards) is a used Bartech, with an older motor. It's what I'm using on my Steadicam right now. You can get a Bartech new for around $2100, without motor, and a few hundred dollars less used. New motors run upwards of $2000, and can be found well used for around half of that. So, for a total cost, you're looking at around $2600-3000, and that's used.

If the RC solution isn't working out well, perhaps try making it hardwired. No reason why a jib like yours needs a wireless focus control, unless the jib is quite long. Varizoom makes one for around $900 (VZ-EFCU, I think it's called), but you might be able to work up something cheaper.


Thanks for that, I'm starting to think a cable system might be the answer, can you recommend one? I'll look into the Bartech system, can you tell me where I should be looking.
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#4 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 01:00 PM

Thanks for that, I'm starting to think a cable system might be the answer, can you recommend one? I'll look into the Bartech system, can you tell me where I should be looking.



After you change your screen name to your real first and last name you should start your search here Try this
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#5 Daniel Stilling DFF

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:54 PM

You should look into the Hocus Focus. If you're using it for DSLR's with still lenses, it will work. I believe it's about $2,000 depending on the conversion rates. Take a look at their website.
Good luck!
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#6 Richard Unger

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 06:19 AM

You should look into the Hocus Focus. If you're using it for DSLR's with still lenses, it will work. I believe it's about $2,000 depending on the conversion rates. Take a look at their website.
Good luck!




already looking at that unit in the UK, Looks OK do you have any experience with it?


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#7 Erik Brul

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 06:48 AM

Hi Richard,

The HOFO is a great unit for the DSLR camera's + Broadcast camera's. It has a strong motor and the kit is complete, handset, receiver, motor + cables and extra's in a nice case.
I have used it last april for a videoclip. The lenses i used were the L series from Canon and 2 superspeeds.

For me personal it was extra handy that the receiver can be powered via XLR4 (my SK2 Sled power cable) and on the smaller Pilot Sled i powered with
the help of a Sony Z1 camera battery.

You can't go wrong with the unit.

Cheers,
Erik
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#8 James Davis

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 11:20 AM

Hi Richard,

The HOFO is a great unit for the DSLR camera's + Broadcast camera's. It has a strong motor and the kit is complete, handset, receiver, motor + cables and extra's in a nice case.
I have used it last april for a videoclip. The lenses i used were the L series from Canon and 2 superspeeds.

For me personal it was extra handy that the receiver can be powered via XLR4 (my SK2 Sled power cable) and on the smaller Pilot Sled i powered with
the help of a Sony Z1 camera battery.

You can't go wrong with the unit.

Cheers,
Erik


I can also concur with everything Mr Brul has said above, I have worked with the Ho-Fo on numerous budget SLR jobs in the past, it's a cracking piece of kit for what it is, yes it's not going to perform like a preston etc.
But for DSLR's it's more than up to the job and works like a charm, certainly the best option out of the low budget units in my opinion.

Best Regards

James
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#9 Richard Unger

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 11:27 AM

I've just returned from London and dropped into Elstree Studios to check out a dealer there, I'd like to know peoples opinion on this http://www.rtmotion....1motor-withcase the only downside with the HoFo is it isn't expandable for multiple motors where the RT Pro Mk2 is. This could be useful further down the line.
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#10 James Davis

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 12:01 PM

Just looking at the so called "low-latency" test, I would say its not up there with the Ho-Fo yet, and rather than spending out on a distinctly average, if not below average 2-3 channel unit, I would save your money and buy one really good single channel unit, like a bartech with the digital receiver, the hofo-pro (when it gets full release), or the preston Single channel unit.
I bought one of these recently and I have to say it is absolutely fantastic, it feels just as good as the 2-3 channel units, just without all the extra functionality.
But it still has the typically great Preston build quality and robustness.
Plus if you do decide to get a 2-3 channel unit later on, it fully integrates with them, and acts as a great back-up unit.
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#11 Richard Unger

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 12:07 PM

Just looking at the so called "low-latency" test, I would say its not up there with the Ho-Fo yet, and rather than spending out on a distinctly average, if not below average 2-3 channel unit, I would save your money and buy one really good single channel unit, like a bartech with the digital receiver, the hofo-pro (when it gets full release), or the preston Single channel unit.
I bought one of these recently and I have to say it is absolutely fantastic, it feels just as good as the 2-3 channel units, just without all the extra functionality.
But it still has the typically great Preston build quality and robustness.
Plus if you do decide to get a 2-3 channel unit later on, it fully integrates with them, and acts as a great back-up unit.

]

I got a quote from Bartech its way to expensive for me, nearly $5000. Nice unit but out of my price range


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#12 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 01:19 PM

I got a quote from Bartech its way to expensive for me, nearly $5000. Nice unit but out of my price range

Then if I were you I'd wait and save. Anything less will probably piss you off. On a side note... Although it may seem perfect for your needs, I'd stay away from Viewfactor's HDSLR controller. It's sort of wireless, but it is essentially hacking your camera, at the very least eliminating any and all warranties. I don't care what anybody says, that can't end well... It's essentially using internal motors and gears in a way they were never meant to be used.
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#13 Richard Unger

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 01:24 PM

I got a quote from Bartech its way to expensive for me, nearly $5000. Nice unit but out of my price range

Then if I were you I'd wait and save. Anything less will probably piss you off. On a side note... Although it may seem perfect for your needs, I'd stay away from Viewfactor's HDSLR controller. It's sort of wireless, but it is essentially hacking your camera, at the very least eliminating any and all warranties. I don't care what anybody says, that can't end well... It's essentially using internal motors and gears in a way they were never meant to be used.



Thanks for that update, not aware of ViewFactor. However I'm filming from June 16th and must have something by then, I'm bending towards the HocusFocus. It seems to do everything I want it to plus it has a reliable record.


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#14 Peter Hoare

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 07:39 PM

I've just returned from London and dropped into Elstree Studios to check out a dealer there, I'd like to know peoples opinion on this http://www.rtmotion....1motor-withcase the only downside with the HoFo is it isn't expandable for multiple motors where the RT Pro Mk2 is. This could be useful further down the line.


Hi Richard,

Just to make you aware, the HoFo can be used with with multiple synced up, either by using two receiver units tuned in to one channel (not particularly pretty, but works fine) or via a splitter cable. The advantage of the motors we use is you can just split the cable off in to two and it will control two motors in sync. This is fine for 3D work, but will obviously not do FIZ, as its designed as a single channel unit.

Send me an email if you would like to talk more about the Hocus Focus, I can answer any questions over email if you would prefer.

Pete@hocusproducts.com

The HoFoPro is progressing nicely, we will just miss Cinegear by a few days with a working unit. Frustrating, but no point turning up with a mockup!

Thanks,

Pete.
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#15 Richard Unger

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 08:06 PM

I've just returned from London and dropped into Elstree Studios to check out a dealer there, I'd like to know peoples opinion on this http://www.rtmotion....1motor-withcase the only downside with the HoFo is it isn't expandable for multiple motors where the RT Pro Mk2 is. This could be useful further down the line.


Hi Richard,

Just to make you aware, the HoFo can be used with with multiple synced up, either by using two receiver units tuned in to one channel (not particularly pretty, but works fine) or via a splitter cable. The advantage of the motors we use is you can just split the cable off in to two and it will control two motors in sync. This is fine for 3D work, but will obviously not do FIZ, as its designed as a single channel unit.

Send me an email if you would like to talk more about the Hocus Focus, I can answer any questions over email if you would prefer.

Pete@hocusproducts.com

Decided to buy the Hocus Focus. Incidentally I bought a remote head from CineCity in India, Works great with DSLR cameras, but I cut it in half and added four inches to the frame, Now it can carry a Red or an Alxexa with room to spare.

The HoFoPro is progressing nicely, we will just miss Cinegear by a few days with a working unit. Frustrating, but no point turning up with a mockup!

Thanks,

Pete.




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