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Preston FIZ III LOsing Communication w/ MDR


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#1 Twojay Dhillon

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 05:47 PM

This has happened now on two consecutive jobs and I've been toe-tapped two-times-too-many as a result. The first job was with an Alexa, the second -- unfortunately -- was with an EPIC (how this would make a difference, I have no idea, but providing info anyway).

I did upgrade to the 10 point software and then went back to the 6 point based on really, really not-positive feedback from a few AC pals.

Here are the symptoms: build camera; go to map lens; press "recalibrate" on the MDR2 and the motors turn and find their end-points; go to map lens and turn focus knob with HU3 powered on and power from sled to MDR2 (green light on side is lit, the motors found their end-points) and NADA. After a few resets of power from the sled, magically there is comm. Then we will walk it into set and BLAMMO, no comm.

I had the MDR2 & HU3 on channel 1 the first time I lost comm; The second time (after no comm using ch 1), I switched to ch 11 on both units and then there was comm. And then I walked it into set and intermittent comm.

Location 1 was an open-field with no power-lines in sight; Location 2 was Union Station, both exterior, upstairs, and down on the platforms.

Oh, and the distance b/w the HU3 and MDR2 was anywhere from 3 ft to 20 ft when comm was lost. Yes, it has happened in the middle of takes (the most painful was on a 135mm fast back-pedal on a leggy model who was doing a hybrid scared-gazelle/Victoria's Secret gallop from a cowboy into a CU).

Any advice appreciated. Thanks, all.
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 06:10 PM

was there another Preston in use on set? if so were they on the same channel or a interference channel? Otherwise sounds like you have a transceiver or antenna issue. As for the 6 vs 10 point mapping, nothing but good things with the upgrade
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#3 Twojay Dhillon

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 06:53 PM

There was my Preston on set, and another non-Preston WFF was in use. We switched channels and still had issues.

I just spoke with a veteran AC buddy and he said he had the exact same problem on Oblivion. He said to try and switch out the antennas and if that doesn't solve the issue to take it in To Howard & Co., as his (also G4) had a bad board and had an identical problem to what I'm currently having. Oh, and switching between 12/24v makes no difference.

No problemos with the 10-point, eh? The second time in 5 minutes that I've heard adulation for the 10 point system. Perhaps I should give it another go after I sort the comm issues out.

Thanks B)
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#4 Richard James Lewis

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 11:50 AM

While we are on the subject. I haven't lost link before, but at least once a day I have to power cycle the MDR to get the system to find a host when initially powering up. Once working tho all is fine. But i may have an issue later when the system is powered up again. This is with G4 HU-3. Anyone had similar issues?

Rick.
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#5 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 12:02 PM

Sounds like a bad tx or rx board. The real issue is shooting with a 135mm on the Steadicam. I know it can be done, but it's stupid. 2 moving objects and stopping into a close up? Good luck keeping that in focus even if your $25,000 Preston actually worked.
And I've had no problems with the software update.
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#6 Twojay Dhillon

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 04:45 PM

Sounds like a bad tx or rx board. The real issue is shooting with a 135mm on the Steadicam. I know it can be done, but it's stupid. 2 moving objects and stopping into a close up? Good luck keeping that in focus even if your $25,000 Preston actually worked.
And I've had no problems with the software update.



I agree that long-lenses on Steadicam aren't the smartest choice from a sharp-focus standpoint, but I am noticing a trend toward using longer lenses, especially if the DoP and/or Director come from the still world. In the past couple weeks I've flown the 135 and a 200mm on Steadi. Both Directors come from the still world.

Both jobs were WFO-shows and the AC's and I are due a drinking session to commiserate over those lens choices!
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#7 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 04:56 PM

Sounds like a bad tx or rx board. The real issue is shooting with a 135mm on the Steadicam. I know it can be done, but it's stupid. 2 moving objects and stopping into a close up? Good luck keeping that in focus even if your $25,000 Preston actually worked.
And I've had no problems with the software update.



I agree that long-lenses on Steadicam aren't the smartest choice from a sharp-focus standpoint, but I am noticing a trend toward using longer lenses, especially if the DoP and/or Director come from the still world. In the past couple weeks I've flown the 135 and a 200mm on Steadi. Both Directors come from the still world.

Both jobs were WFO-shows and the AC's and I are due a drinking session to commiserate over those lens choices!



Steadicam is the wrong the choice for those shots

Learning when to say no is an important skill
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#8 Twojay Dhillon

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:01 PM

So the good folks over at Preston replaced the board in my MDR2. Heading to a prep tomorrow to put it through its paces. Will be upgrading to the 10-point system tonight.
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#9 Lee Kazista

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 10:42 AM

When choosing channels on the Preston, you should consider the odd and even channels to be their own 'sets'. So if you are using two systems on set you would want one system to be on an ODD number and the other on an Even number. Spacing the channels is still a good idea, but in theory you would be better off with channels 1 and 2 as opposed to 1 and 3 or 2 and 4.

We have also found that 10 systems is the maximum that you can really have in any given area before you will start to see some issues across them all. Granted you will not come across this very often, but you may.

Hope that makes sense.

Lee
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#10 Philip J. Martinez SOC

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 02:44 PM

How do you upgrade to the 10 point system? Do you have to send it in?
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#11 Twojay Dhillon

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 07:13 PM

How do you upgrade to the 10 point system? Do you have to send it in?


Nope, you just need to download the software from the Preston site. You will need the cable to plug into your HU3 and MDR2 (comes with your system) and then you will need a serial-to-usb adapter (Fry's Electronics for about $10). B)

Oh, you'll also most likely need a serial driver; Available from Preston's site, also.
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#12 Twojay Dhillon

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 11:41 PM

So I finally was able to do a full prep w/ the FIZ. Everything looks great; Will double-confirm on Sunday when I operate with a bunch of see-the-world-shots and the AC is pulling off monitor that will be a fair distance from me.
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