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What are the best FF solutions for HD ?


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#1 Matt Burton

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 10:41 AM

I havn't worked much with high end HD and i have a major job coming up next week.
Whet are the best solutions for me and my puller regarding FF equipment, monitors etc.
Cheers
-matt
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#2 benedictspence

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 01:24 PM

Hi Matt!

Hows tricks?? Sounds like you're keeping busy- good job!

Right then- focus! I'll give my 2 cents -any other ops feel free to chime in! As far as focus kit goes they all do the same job- the more expensive stuff is just more reliable and (often) simpler to set up.

Top of the line is Preston (which I've only used once) which is your basic top-of-the line set-up... An FI+Z (focus, iris and zoom- 3x channels) kit will set you back top dollar- but I wouldn't know where you could hire one near leeds; prob only be able to get an owner/focus op with one and thats gonna be expensive...

More likely you're gonna get something like a Bartech (BFD) or a Genio... these are cheaper units but still good for video work- both are 2 channels max so focus and iris or focus and zoom etc. Genio is a bit older- watch out not to overtighten the battery on the Tx!

I've just had a chat with Howard Smith today and he has his focus unit ready to go I do believe- looks pretty simple to use and is nice and light- might be worth giving MK-V a shout!

The key points are to check how many channels you want... most jobs 1 or 2 channels max is fine. To make sure you've got the right power cables for the unit/sled combination that you're using. Make sure also that you have the right adaptors for the bars that you're gonna put the motors onto. Check that the kit you hire also has the right gears to drive the lens' that you're gonna be using too- phew!

Like most first time things see if you can get hold of the kit the day before the shoot, build the rig and check everything works and you have all the pieces you need; have a practice with it. Otherwise get there an hour before your call time and piss around with it then!

Has your focus puller done much on steadicam before?? And what sort of job is it?? If it's something where you have to be hitting marks (drama) he's gonna have a slightly easier time of it; promo stuff he's gonna have to wing it a bit- can get a bit hairy if you're doing much long lens stuff! As for a monitor- prob not worth it; you're not gonna find a radio monitor which you can rely on 100% for sharpness. He should get his marks using the viewfinder and if he's unsure about the sharpness of a shot make sure he knows it's okay to call it... better to spend 2 min on a re-take than the director to descover he doesn't have a usable shot in the edit. Oh and since you're shooting on video you can always return the tape to check if it's all good!

Right, last thing- double check that your focus unit works with your video Tx; sometimes they don't always get on....

Nice one mate, good luck!

Ben Spence
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#3 JimBartell

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 03:05 PM

More likely you're gonna get something like a Bartech (BFD) or a Genio... these are cheaper units but still good for video work- both are 2 channels max so focus and iris or focus and zoom etc.


FYI, "When a Stranger Calls", currently #1 box office in the US was primarily focused with a BFD, as were such multi-million dollar films as "Hollow Man" and "Serenity" as well as many top TV shows shot on 35mm, such as "Law and Order" and "Medium" , just to name a tiny fraction. I just visited the set of "Fast and Furious 3" last week and was told it was also primarily focused using BFD's. So saying the BFD is "good for video work" is damning with faint praise.

But I will admit we are cheaper. And nothing prevents you from using 3 BFD's to do focus and iris and zoom if you want. But as far as I know, no one has.

Any other pic's anyone care to name?

Jim "gettin' all huffy" Bartell
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#4 benedictspence

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 03:21 PM

Sorry Jim; didn't mean to belittle your BFD!

I stand corrected in that case... ahem...

"or something like the BFD, which is relatively inexpensive but is used all the time on top-level film jobs"

Sound better mate??

Ben :)
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#5 JimBartell

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 03:36 PM

Sorry Jim; didn't mean to belittle your BFD!

I stand corrected in that case... ahem...

"or something like the BFD, which is relatively inexpensive but is used all the time on top-level film jobs"

Sound better mate??

Ben :)


Sheer poetry! Your eloquence leaves me positively unmanned.

Jim "calming down.....anger fading..... anger gone" Bartell
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#6 Matt Burton

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 05:01 PM

Hey Jim :D
I actually sugested getting a bartech to the production team today.
So we might want to add Night Junkies to the list !
My upcoming feature.
Now all i need to do is find a hire co that will accept a deffered payment .......
-matt
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#7 Kevin Garcia

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 03:13 AM

I havn't worked much with high end HD and i have a major job coming up next week.
Whet are the best solutions for me and my puller regarding FF equipment, monitors etc.
Cheers
-matt

Hi Matt.

I've been a focus puller for over 10 years and I've worked with most if not all remote focus systems.
Recently I was working B cam on a Fox series. It was a three camera show two arricam ST and a moviecama compact for steadi. Throughout the show the Camera department went through 2 Arri remote units, 3 prestons and a Scorpio system. Up aganst the Big three the only unit that stood the wear and tear was
the Steadicams ops BFD. I ended up using that bartect on not only the steadicam shots but studio, handheld, and crane shots.
You might find a lot of focus puller that might resist the idea of a bartect at first but after they get use to the system they'll grow to love its the simplicty and reliability
All that being said.
it does the job and the price is right
-Kevin
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#8 Rory_Moles

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 05:43 AM

My 2 cents:
Having owned both BFD and Preston I concur that both are rock solid and reliable solutions. I think the BFD and the Preston should both be powered from an adapter bracket between the battery and the camera body if they are not being powered from the sled. In the UK this is a "V-Lock Pag adapter" and supplies 12V power direct from the battery via a 2-pin pag socket. However it depends on the battery system supplied with your camera. But this gives a few more Amps than the PAG socket near the handle on Sony cameras. (The Obie light socket). Id also suggest mounting the FF Receiver/Driver towards the back of the camera, as they are generally front-heavy. Also you will probably want to get hold of the Canon pitch gear (0.5) for your motors unless they are cine style when regular pitch (0.8/32P) will do
good luck

Rory Moles
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#9 Anders Holck Petersen

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 05:19 PM

I tend to do use a cable whenever possible when shooting HD.
1920x1080 HD-SDI can be fed through the normal lightweight BNC, and on a good big HD monitor my puller can be 100% sure something is spot on.
And directors love it...
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#10 Ari Gertler

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 07:34 PM

One more note on the BFD.
I like that each channel has its own controller. This enables the DP to have their own BFD for Iris adjustment. On the productions that I have worked on the DP would usually leave the BFD iris control in the video tent attached to the monitor and adjust it themselves. No need to continually verbalize back and forth as to the newly needed adjustments. I have been using Two BFD's for about Five years with no problems on set.

Ari Gertler
PS Love the quick/easy/cheap 9 volt battery
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#11 thomas-english

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 07:21 AM

BFD rocks

Depending which motor you use, I strongly recomend powering off the sled rather than the camera if on film. Particularly the sr3 Li-Ion batteries cannot cope with the demands of the M-motor. The same is probably true of V-lock Li-Ions.

I think the BFD is wicked but you need to keep an eye on what your focus puller is up to, because they can get lazy and have a little end stop slam if not attentive.

I generally talk my way out of having to carry the LCS or preston, because my bartech weighs less and just works. Rather than having to hump the camera up to first positions and having some weird batery problem or something equally irritating.

Bartech rocks! LCS sucks! Preston is superb. C-motion looks real sweet as well... tiny size, all singing all dancing but never yet used one in the muddy field.
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#12 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 11:08 AM

Only two ways to do it.

Scorpio with two handsets in a "Master-Slave" set up. DP gets the one handset and the focus puller gets the other. Works flawlessly. This is the way I've been doing it for several years, Most recently on "Everybody Hates Chris" Advantage one Receiver and Digital Motors.

BFD with an iris unit with the DP and a focus unit with the first. Usually this is the other system on my sets. Works fine. disadvantage two receivers and analog motors.

These are the only two systems that I would use.
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#13 Dave Thompson

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 08:49 PM

Preston has a remote Iris box that is pretty sweet. So I guess that's a 3rd way to do it.


Dave Thompson, SOC
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#14 RobinThwaites

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 05:51 AM

Hi Matt
It's cold in England at the moment, make sure that you double check the back focus in the same temperature as you shoot otherwise, however good the focus system you use, the marks will be off. Can happen on SD cameras as well noteable DSR-500.

Robin
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#15 Brad Smith

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 07:09 AM

[quote name='thomas-english' date='Feb 22 2006, 11:21 PM' post='15370']
BFD rocks

Depending which motor you use, I strongly recomend powering off the sled rather than the camera if on film. Particularly the sr3 Li-Ion batteries cannot cope with the demands of the M-motor. The same is probably true of V-lock Li-Ions.

Whoa!!!! hang on ! I'm about to buy a bartec and an M One, and I was planning to use the gimbal mount remote control to control focus for live TV gigs. In this configuration I was hoping to be able to use a single Li Ion batt (I'm able to double up and use two batts in parralell, but hoping to shed some wieght and only one batt for lengthy live gigs). Are you saying that the M One will need more juice than a single IDX endura 10s can supply, thus I'll be stuck with all three batts on the bottom of my sled if I want to run gimbal mounted ff?

:unsure: let me know if you can shed any more light on how many batteries I must bare!!!
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