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Hocus Focus Professional update.


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#1 Peter Hoare

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 03:43 PM

Hi Everyone,

Just thought I would give a brief update on the HoFoPro for anyone that was not at IBC.

We have completely redesigned the system since last year, and whilst this has taken much longer than we wanted, I do believe that it was worth the wait. The system we have now is performing very well, it is very fast and responsive, the motor is quiet and powerful, and the extra features we have added to the TX and RX far surpass the functionality we previously had, and the reciever unit, is small, about the size of a cigarette pack.

I am just troubleshooting the last few hardware problems whilst my electronics partner finishes off the control software, and shortly we will be ready to take orders. The whole system is Preston compatible, so you can use Preston or digital Heden motors with our system, and you can use our motor with any of the other digital systems. We do plan to sell the motor separately, price to be announced.

Here are some photos and a brief video from Erik Brul taken at IBC.

Video

Posted Image
Posted ImagePosted Image

RX connector pannel
Slimmer TX

Let me know if you have any questions,

Pete.
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#2 chris fawcett

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 04:05 PM

It's really great. I was impressed.

Chris
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#3 Erik Brul

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 05:48 PM

I have been following Pete his Remote Follow Focus adventure since the start... For my own small projects i've got his first system, the HoFo which i enjoy ever since i received it at home.
Even for the bigger projects i have used this kit a couple times as a remote iris system which worked quit well..

But now back to this 'new' lovely HoFoPro kit:

Last year i visited Pete at the IBC and i was really curious about the PRO version. It was a pleasant suprise.. and now, 12 months later with several redesigns and updates it is almost finished and ready for the world.
The Transmitter is a big improvement, it's a lot slimmer then the previous one at IBC2010. The motor back then was fast but this one is even faster. Formula1 speed at your lens. Most important, it's quiet..very very quiet.

For me personal it would be nice to own a digital system. It must be a utter joy to swap your lens, hook up motor, auto calibrating, place the 'correct' marking ring on the transmitter and you are done !!!
With this kit your Focus Puller would hug you after every lens swap :)

At the IBC we have tested the system at several lens / camera suppliers. The motor is very strong, it handled Zeiss, Arri and Angineux
lensens without any problem.

Overall, it is a nice professional kit with a very good buildquality and impressive performance..
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#4 Jerry Holway

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 06:02 PM

Peter-

It looks very good, and a far cry from your first, but still good, efforts. Congratulations.

I'd like to see in a new video several things: How quiet the motor is at different speeds, how well it focuses to a mark from one direction and the other at various speeds, how it autocalibrates, whether or not it jitters when holding a mark, and any other other cool features you'd like to tout- i.e., what features should sell the system to an AC.

Eager to see it!

Jerry
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#5 Peter Hoare

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 06:13 PM

Hi Jerry,

Ok, as soon as I have my lens test rig back I will shoot you a video. It performs very well on all of these, I think you will be impressed.

The motor, I am particularly proud of. It has only two moving parts, which is why its so quiet. Its very simple inside, which should (although obviously this is not proved out properly yet) prove very reliable.

Auto calibrate is similar to other systems, first it moves to one end, senses the lens stop, then moves to the other. Once it has felt both end stops, it zips back to the knob position. Unlike other systems, the HoFoPro will not have problems if you start the autocal routine if its against an end stop already, so no need to put the lens to the middle of the range before calibrating. It can tell that the lens is against a stop and it can work around it. The autocal routine can be triggered with buttons on the TX and RX, and it also calibrates when you first power the unit up, and if you unplug and then plug the motor back in.

No jittering or any movement when holding a mark, the movement is very very smooth. The knob has close to 250,000 steps of resolution per rotation! Motor backlash is very low, so returning to a mark from both directions is not a problem.

Will shoot you a video to show you how it performs.

Thanks a lot,

Pete.
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#6 James Davis

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 07:30 PM

Peter, stunning looking work mate, if only it had come a little sooner I would have had one off of you right away, but it looks like it has been well worth the wait, the new updates look impressive and the TX unit is very nice looking.
Hopefully by the time it goes into full production i'll have the need for a second wireless FF unit, looks awesome, can't wait to see how it performs.

Congrats

James
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#7 Jerry Holway

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 08:03 AM

Peter-

I figured as much... just think you need to show it in a video. Sounds good.

Jerry
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#8 Peter Hoare

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 08:34 AM

Hi Jerry,

Will shoot one for you as soon as my test rig is home...

Thanks,

Pete.
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#9 JobScholtze

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 12:50 PM

Hi Pete

Wich frequentie das this system work in? How many channels can you switch too? And what kind of sending power is it using? 20mw? 50mw?

Also, dontknow if your planning this, but wont it be great to have 2 channels in there? So you can run focus and iris? or zoom?


Best
Job
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#10 Peter Hoare

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 03:26 PM

Hi Job,

We are using 2.4ghz, not sure on the final output power yet, it will be between 20 and 60mw, we need to find a good balance of range and battery life along with a few other things.

This is a single channel system, we will be working on a full fiz system after the single channel is done.


Thanks,

Pete.
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#11 JobScholtze

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 03:53 PM

Hi Job,

We are using 2.4ghz, not sure on the final output power yet, it will be between 20 and 60mw, we need to find a good balance of range and battery life along with a few other things.

This is a single channel system, we will be working on a full fiz system after the single channel is done.


Thanks,

Pete.


i see, thx.
Thats why the bartech wins for me at this time. 20mw in a lower frequentie brings the signal further then the higher 2.4 frequentie. When doing concerts its a must to be capable to have strong signals. Your puller cant always be with you, but sits behind the stage with a monitor. Also the 912mhz is in europe a cleaner frequentie than the 2.4 Also most of the wireless camera's are in that range.
I dont mean that your system isnt good or something, that i will have to test first, its more that in TV land we need the distances, and it might be good to consider different frequentie's?

Good luck with the system, cant wait to see where it leads to. ( btw, perhaps i could testdrive it on a concert one of these days )

Best Job
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#12 Peter Hoare

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 06:28 PM

Due to FCC, CE and all sorts of other certifications, 2.4 is one of the only frequencies that can be used world wide. Our old system was 10mw 433mhz and that went for bloody miles but its not approvable by the FCC for sale or use in the US, which obviously severely limits our market. Its possible to put on a longer antenna or possibly a screw on dipole, which would give you more range.

The 2.4ghz is going to stay, we cant really change it now, and using anything else causes a bit of a nightmare for FCC certification, but so far the range has looked pretty good. What sort of typical range would you expect and we will see if it can manage it...


Pete.
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#13 JobScholtze

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 02:55 PM

We get at least 80 meters with the bartech, in an ideal setting. But thats not needed. Its not only the range that counts, its the places the puller sits. ( backstage, behind decor or iron audiance seats etc. ) So the stronger the signal, the better it is.
But i am eager to test the system during a concert with 10.000 mobile phones, wifi, 3g, and several other crap people need to use all the time. Not to speak of the wirelees hd camera's etc etc etc etc
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#14 Peter Hoare

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 03:05 PM

Oh 80M, thats fine, we get that range now before our improvements, I thought you were going to ask for 300M or something.

Despite the 2.4ghz being a common frequency, it does seem pretty robust. It worked fine at IBC, with loads of dirt in the air, and our tests have shown that the HoFoPro can sit right on top of a strong wifi signal with no problems. I was also wary of the interference problems since the beginning, but having done various tests with spectrum analysers etc, this does not seem to be the case, its pretty good. Don't forget many dependable bits of equipment in this industry use 2.4ghz too, Cmotion and Preston focus systems both included.


Pete.
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#15 JobScholtze

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 12:38 AM

`yes, and during those major concerts, the preston, cmotion and scorpio failed.The only one worked, is the bartech.
And 300m? My ac is to lazy to walk that ;-
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