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operator controlled focus device???


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#1 andicam

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 07:30 AM

Hi!

As you can guess, I'm a newbie, but I informed myself here and elsewhere, coz I'm going to buy a rig in the near future. My intention is to use the rig for TV production mostly wide angle shots...

My question is: is there a chance to avoid buying a very expensive wireless focus following system and using a "normal" manual focus controller like Fujinon EPD or FSD... As I wrote above I don't need to pull the focus all the time... Just in close-ups and then I got the time to "find" the focus...

As for the zoom I planned the ZOE III by Bebob (I already read about it here...)

I hope someone can help me...

Thx
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#2 MarkKaravite

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 04:34 PM

Dear THX,

I think what you will find, is that there is NO way to pull focus on a Steadicam without a remote system. If 50' of film can change the delicate balance of a rig, what will a hand (or a cable for a manual focus system) do to the shot. Bad news.

Your idea of finding focus on a CU, and then shooting, is also not practical. The very nature of Steadicam is to adjust frame size with camera movement, therefore changing distance. I think the only way you could get away without a remote focus is outside with a deep stop, and very wide.

The good news is that you don't have to spend $30K for a focus system. You can get into a single Bartech BFD with one motor and cables for under $5000, and that's new. You can see used systems on this forum occasionally. If you can't afford that, rent a system when you need it.

I don't mean to sound discouraging, I'd just hate to see you fail on a production because you were experimenting with an approach to focus that simply won't work. Don't ever under estimate the importance of a good focus puller on Steadicam, it can be one of the most demanding camera platforms for focus. Even on those TV jobs, push to have a focus puller with you, if there is not a qualified AC on the job. They may cry about the additional rate up front, but once you dazzle them with dramatic footage (that is sharp) they'll forget about the few hundred bucks.

Good luck,

Mark Karavite
Steadicam Owner / Operator
mkaravite@comcast.net
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#3 thomas-english

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 01:43 PM

What Mark says is completely true. Don t mess, get a focus puller if needed or if on video and no money get a depth of field calculator, treat it like s16 and work your shots out whilst sitting towards the back of the lens.

As a point apart, not to be encouraged.... but i have been practising pulling focus on video lenses whilst operating. A slightly firmer grip on the post with the 2 little fingers as your left hand reaches up and softly tweaks. However I would never recomend this as a skill to be sold ahead of time.... only used in emergencies... it can work well though!

and can not work!

Otherwise for the bartech there is a gimble mounted focus dial unit available. I would like to buy it for them live concerts.. just have 2 marks 5 ft and 20 ft ... something like that. Anyone had any experience in using sir Jims gimble mounted unit?
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#4 Kenny Brown SOC

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 09:57 PM

Hi there

I've used the gimbal mounted thumb wheel thing with my BFD on video stuff and it works pretty well. I leave the viewfinder on the camera, turn the peaking right up and grab a glance whenever I can. Otherwise put huge marks on the barrel with tape and put the ends of travel on the BFD somewhere sensible like 4ft and 40ft and you can guestimate the rest.

Kenny
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#5 Leigh Hubner

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 06:59 AM

Hi All

Just a quick note in response to the subject of the operator pulling focus. For a start, there is an awsome bit of gear out there called a VOCAS Zoom Handle. This little baby does zoom & focus or zoom and iris. (not all 3 at once) www.vocas.com
I recently purchased one and I allready wondered how I got by without it. The comments in regaurds to having a focus puller are all well and good for big time film jobs where assistants have assistants. In the TV world there is no one to bring the cup of water to you after a lengthy shot so the thought of having a focus puller is a dream. The handle has 2 preset focal lenghts that are user defined. It also has a quick focus feature that snap zooms the lens to its limits, allows you to quickly focus and move on. It also has a feature that slowly shifts your focus as you zoom. Again all user defined. This unit was damn expensive but I have allready had people comment on my shots. Slowly zooming into a statue while I was doing 360's around it then pushing focus to a large sign behind it. It was a nice shot and would of been hard to do with focus pullers as there were no 'set' marks on the ground. Just my thoughts. For all the TV guys there, take the time to check it out. For any Australian ops who want to see one in the flesh, give me a bell. More than happy to show it off!!

Ok, as you were!

Leigh Hubner
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#6 chris fawcett

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 01:46 PM

This little baby does zoom & focus or zoom and iris. (not all 3 at once) www.vocas.com

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hi Leigh,

Great bit of kit, but how do you fit it? Any pics?

Thanks,

Chris
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#7 thomas-english

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 02:15 PM

It does look very cool. When you say you spent a lot on it..... how much was that?

I assume it only works with lenses with an inbuilt servo on the focus! Which is not all of them at all by my stretch of imagination.

However it does look very cool...... how much!?
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#8 Leigh Hubner

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 03:34 PM

Boys,

I dont have any pics at the moment but I am flying off to a 3 day job this morning so I will try and pull my finger out and take a few photos that show it off. It has a clamp that grabs the gimbal quite firmly. Much the same way it would a pan handle on a tripod. Price wise, I spent $6,800 AU. Lets say ball park $4000 US. Pricey but like I said, so nice to use and plenty of nifty features. Yeah, the comment re: servo in the lens is correct. You do need an internal focus lens with a focus motor. As for the iris, most internal focus lenses will work. (I think all but dont quote me!) For the Aussie guys, LEMAC have a nice 4.5 Canon wide angle that goes out for around $200 a day. I just let the client know that will be an additional cost if they would like the full benifits of the VOCAS. Depending on the shoot not all need it but it certainly is a nice bonus to offer the client the option. (I love my gadgets!!) Ok, I will try and get some pics up in the next day or so.

Leigh Hubner
Australia
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#9 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 07:38 PM

Hi All

In the TV world there is no one to bring the cup of water to you after a lengthy shot so the thought of having a focus puller is a dream.
Leigh Hubner
Australia
0413 565 840

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


15 years working in TV and I have never, I mean never, worked without a focus puller! In my opinion, working solo is the same as low balling. Its the wrong way to do it, and it hurts the craft. Guys here are using solo operating as a way to get in the door and undercut the biz, it sucks.

Cheers.

Jeff
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#10 MarkKaravite

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 11:52 PM

I guess a gimball mounted controller would still be classified as a remote focus control, but Jeff points out the bigger subject here. It's not right to put assistants out of work on what has always been a standard position on the crew.

I understand that some lower budget jobs try to get away without a focus puller. Have you pushed as far as possible to get an assistant on the job? Let me guess, these are the same people offering $800 for an operator with gear! We hurt ourselves, and our craft when we agree to work undermanned and underpaid. I know that newer operators are eager to gain work and experience, but this undercutting is not well thought out. If you work for say $800 a day, do you ever expect to get $1800 a day out of that same producer? You have set a bad precedent that will hurt your earning potential down the road, and cost you more than you ever made working for a low rate.

Just a comparison. I needed a plumber at the house the other day, and he charged me $90 per hour. He could have learned to make that repair in a few months, and probably carried a few thousand dollars in tools. With huge investments in time, effort, money and physical strain on our bodies, aren't we worth a little more than my plumber friend?

Food for thought,

Mark Karavite
Steadicam Owner / Operator
mkaravite@comcast.net
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#11 chris fawcett

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 01:21 PM

Just a quick note in response to the subject of the operator pulling focus. For a start, there is an awsome bit of gear out there called a VOCAS Zoom Handle. This little baby does zoom & focus or zoom and iris. (not all 3 at once) www.vocas.com

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Awesome, indeed. I just bought one.

Thanks for the tip, Leigh. keep them coming.

I agree entirely with the comments above, regarding assistants, and would like to state that I shoot documentary work only.

Chris
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#12 JobScholtze

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 01:44 PM

Nice tool, i agree. Vocas is 5 minutes from my home, so when ever you need something i can pick it up.
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#13 chris fawcett

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 01:50 PM

Nice tool, i agree. Vocas is 5 minutes from my home, so when ever you need something i can pick it up.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


A very generous offer, Job, and much appreciated.

Hartelijk bedankt,

Chris
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#14 JobScholtze

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 03:51 PM

A very generous offer, Job, and much appreciated.

Hartelijk bedankt,

Chris

LOL Damn i forgot, you're in the Netherlands too :P
O well, we need to get some beers than
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#15 chris fawcett

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 02:25 AM

[/quote]
LOL Damn i forgot, you're in the Netherlands too :P
O well, we need to get some beers than

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

[/quote]

You bet!
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