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Redrock micro WFF


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#1 David M. Aronson

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:23 AM

A couple years back, Redrock micro announced that they were developing a wireless follow focus system that could interface with the iPhone. At NAB 2012, they've added a more traditional handset to the line and announced a price. $2500 is a lot more manageable than $5000 for a basic BFD setup (Sorry Jim) and from what I've heard, the motors are pretty good. Has anyone checked them out at the booth?
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#2 Tom Wills

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:29 AM

It was... not so great. Admittedly, it was just a prototype, but the wireless didn't work at all on the show floor. They claimed it was bad interference, but none of the Prestons and CMotions on the show floor had to be cabled. The motors looked alright, and certainly are coming in cheaply at I believe $595 per motor, but at that price point I begin to wonder about the quality. The hand unit was huge and hard to hold, even for a guy with big hands like mine, and the design left a lot to be desired. They should just stick with a nice aluminum extrusion, like the Bartech and the upcoming Axis One do. The receiver crashed twice while I was playing with it, and once required a complete reboot and re-calibrate to begin responding again.

A lot of these sound like typical "prototype issues", but the design of the hand unit and the crashing receiver really gave me pause. As I've said about Redrock's previous prototypes, I admire the spirit of trying to bring something new to the table, but I'm not holding my breath.
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#3 William Demeritt

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:51 AM

Why is $2500 more manageable than $5000? I can appreciate the desire to save some money, but the Bartech is pretty much bulletproof and will continue to earn your money back well after you've paid it off. Seriously, for the price of a Bartech and it's reliability (both as a product, and Jim backing it up), just make the investment in a Bartech (new or used).

In fact, I just bought a second Bartech to rent almost exclusively.
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#4 David M. Aronson

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 01:12 AM

I can get $2500 about twice as fast as I can get $5000. Every shoot I have to rent a Bartech I don't make as much as I could if I owned a WFF.
Slightly off topic, but is the Hocus Focus system any good? It's at about the same price point.
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#5 Chris Callarman

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 01:28 AM

...I can appreciate the desire to save some money, but the Bartech is pretty much bulletproof and will continue to earn your money back well after you've paid it off. Seriously, for the price of a Bartech and it's reliability (both as a product, and Jim backing it up), just make the investment in a Bartech (new or used).


+1
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#6 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 01:32 AM

Why is $2500 more manageable than $5000? I can appreciate the desire to save some money, but the Bartech is pretty much bulletproof and will continue to earn your money back well after you've paid it off. Seriously, for the price of a Bartech and it's reliability (both as a product, and Jim backing it up), just make the investment in a Bartech (new or used).

In fact, I just bought a second Bartech to rent almost exclusively.



Do what Will says here.

Only two follow focus's to consider, a Bartech or a Preston, no other choices to consider
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#7 Andrew Ansnick

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 01:47 AM

The reason why the Bartech costs what it does (Which is very low and extremely reasonable by the way) is because Jim simply couldn't make it any cheaper without beginning to sacrifice the quality, craftsmanship, and reliability that goes into his products and that we all expect from a wireless follow focus or any piece of gear for that matter. It just works and anything that costs less I wouldn't even waste my time with. I love my Bartech- I'm the third owner and it's still going strong! The service from Jim is top notch, if anything ever were to go wrong rest assured he will make it right. Plus he's located in the CA so service will be faster.

I don't think Redrock is a company that prides themselves on making quality products. Their cheap products sell in high volume because of their price point. They target the DSLR market and really have no place on a professional set. It's not a question of if their product breaks, but when, and when it does their customer support rep will probably just transfer you to their sales department so you can place an order for a new item.

Hocus Focus/Varizoon/etc. Why even risk it? In closing, I leave you with words of wisdom from Robert Starling...

1. Bartech because it works
2. Bartech because it is recognized as the established leader in the industry [at its price point]
3. Bartech for compatibility with other ops gear when you need to mix or you need to rent/borrow.
4. Bartech because the MAJORITY of ACs already know how to use it.
5. Bartech because Jim has supported us, it's made right here in LA and we should support him.
6. Bartech because Jim knows the kit, cameras, needs and you can walk in the door, have a nice chat, do your business and have a friend there instead of a faceless rep.
7. Bartech because you can use it, rent it out and still make most of your money back on it when you sell it to upgrade five years later.
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#8 James Davis

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 06:06 AM

Everything RedRockMicro that I have seen, or had the unfortunate displeasure to encounter on a job has been crap.

I wouldn't trust anything from them until i've seen someone own it for five years and not have it break on them or fall apart.

By contrast there are many happy bartech and preston owners who've used their kit for years with little to no maintenance and no issues.

I'm one happy Preston Owner that you can add to the list.
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#9 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 10:06 AM

David,

Specifically to the Hocus Focus:

Peter Hoare (Hocus Focus) is a forum contributor and from all indications is a solid guy. He will be the first to point out that the original Hocus Focus will only turn DSLR lenses and video lenses. Not designed for stiff cinema lenses.

I have not played with the HoFo. There are a number of them being used in the field, maybe someone can pipe up with their experiences re: reliability.

His new, completely redesigned heavy duty digital unit is nearly ready to being released, I believe. I believe it will be close in price to a Bartech.

When I was considering the same questions you are, I opted for a used BFD that I bought on the forum. Used units come up for sale from time to time for $3000-4000 and up, depending on accessories.
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#10 Peter Hoare

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:04 AM

Hi Everyone,

As Mark said, I didn't ever build the Hofo to compete against anything, at the time there was nothing in that end of the market. Some people can make it work for them in place of a higher end system, but at the cost of the motors mechanical limitations and some noise. My new system which I have been working on for ages now, has recently gone through a name change, from HoFoPro to Axis1. Our 3ch system will be Axis3.

I have paired up with an incredibly experienced motion control engineer to bring this product to market, and I am very happy with the end result. We are going through the final stages of testing at the moment and we hope to enter production soon. The motor and receiver unit are cross compatible with Heden and Preston motors and other digital hand units as well such as Cmotion, Varizoom etc.

Heres a video of our system in action on an enormous master zoom at NAB. As you can see, its very fast and responsive, and we had no issues with radio. The motor is also almost silent with only two internal moving parts.




Some more info regarding the name change and our partnership with the MoCo company can be seen on our soon to be relaunched website: http://www.hocusproducts.com/axis1.php


We will have a few units at Cinegear and the stabilizer expo, I will be at the Hotrod cameras stand.


Thanks a lot,

Pete.
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#11 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:55 PM

David,

There is an error in your math.

Bartech, $5K

Red Rock, $7500K. (Initial purchase plus the cost of the Bartech later when you reralize you screwed up).
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#12 David M. Aronson

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 02:54 PM

Okay, I get it, buy a Bartech... What motors are out there? I know of the M-one, but not any others.
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#13 William Demeritt

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 05:26 PM

Heden is another option. If yout get a Digital bartech, you may consider Preston motors along with the digital Heden and M-One options.

Anything else, you may be looking at a lower quality motor (cheaper parts, noisier).
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#14 Afton Grant

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:15 PM

I'll speak a little on Peter's Hocus Focus/Axis systems. While I was in England over Christmas, Peter was kind enough to invite me to the set of Red Dwarf where Ed Moore had one of (perhaps the only) prototype of the new professional system. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, if not somewhat impressed with its design and construction. Peter was very forthcoming with the evolution of the current design - its strengths and its weaknesses. His first system's design, as he has openly admitted, is a far cry from anything anyone serious would want to consider. This new system, however, he seems to be very dedicated to making it be a fully reliable and capable piece of equipment. He listened intently to Ed's and my comments on how the system can be improved. From what I saw and heard, it looks like this will be a proper contender once full production begins.

That said, it does not yet have the years of excellent performance and customer service that the Bartech and Preston have. From what I can see, that's currently the biggest hurdle the system has to overcome. I'm hoping with some demo units being field tested, Peter will be able to establish a more solid track record. For now, I would suggest to anyone, if you're at a show and Peter is there with his kit, take a few minutes to check it out and chat with him.

For the record, I'm a Bartech user - have been for years and have no plans to change. I have no vested interest in the Hocus Focus products, nor do I receive any compensation for writing this.
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#15 Peter Hoare

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:26 PM

Hi Afton,

Thanks for your kind words. I have three systems and will be leaving one behind in LA with HotRod cameras after cinegear, anyone that wants to see it is welcome to borrow it at some stage, use it on a job, abuse it drop it etc.

Pete.
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