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Zoom and focus controller


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#1 MarceloKron

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 03:28 PM

Hi... when you guys use video cameras I notice that some times have zoom controllers on handle
... but what about the focus controller?? there is focus and zoom in the same controller?
how many fingers you use to operate the zoom and focus in the same time?

Thanks!
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#2 Chris Konash

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 06:10 PM

Hi,

Many operators have there own custom set up for zoom and focus mounted on the gimbal, so you will find many different set-ups out there.

But, do everything you can to get someone else to pull focus / zoom for you, wirelessly. I am trying to keep myself from getting into the habit of agreeing to do both these tasks while trying to 'focus' on smooth operating. There is enough focus taken up by operating, I don't need to be thinking of focus and zoom as well. However there are many operators that can do everything at the same time, incredible if you ask me.

I have J-7 Zoom and Focus controls from Tiffen mounted on my gimbal for when I HAVE to do them.

To control focus I have the J-7 run into an adapter cable plugged into the pot input on my Bartech and all focus is done wired or wirelessly with the M-One motor on the lens.

For zoom the J-7 has adapter cables for the most common video lens (Canon 8pin, Canon 12pin, Fuji 8pin, and Fuji 12pin)

I do know there are some operators that like the Zoë zoom control, it's a nice unit also and cheaper than the J-7.


Here is a picture.

Attached File  DSC_0305.JPG   109.06KB   444 downloads

And if you didn't know Zoom is on top with your thumb and focus is on the bottom with your index finger.
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#3 Jason Torbitt

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 03:05 AM

Great photo there.

Stanton (the Jimmy Jib manufacturers) also manufacture a zoom & focus handle; there's also one made by Vocas that can do Zoom & Focus or Zoom & Iris, and there's the J7's as shown above. All these electronic focus units are servo driven and therefore require an internal servo motor built into the lens or an external focus servo attachment on the lens.

There's also the BFD option- the Jim also sells a small gimbal mounted box which can be plugged into the receiver, which in theory means you can pull focus on any lens, servo or no servo

But...always always always try to get a focus puller, these setups should only be considered for TV and multicamera work where having a puller isn't always possible. It's hard work to operate, zoom and focus, if not impossible to operate to your highest standards, just too much to think about. I have the utmost respect for the focus pullers I work with, one in particular (he knows who he is) his skill just blows me away. Find yourself a good focus puller and try and get him / her on all your jobs, works a treat!

P.S. I use the Zoe for zoom, with adaptor cables. Great little unit for the money, very high quality. The cable lets it down, too thick and gets in the way too much (mine is currentlu being repaired with a new cable being fitted)
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#4 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 07:34 AM

I'm not going to go down this road again, most of you have read and know my position on this subject. But I will ask this, is anyone watching TV anymore? I can?t believe the amount of soft focus Steadicam shots on the air, on major network shows. Is it that know one cares anymore? Apparently, focus, doesn?t seem to mater... Integrity is gone; it?s all about the money. Pretty sad. You guys who work solo are all about making money, not making shots. I guess thats what this business has become. Call me crazy, I still want to make art. I will not compromise this issue.

Jeff
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#5 Bryan Trieb SOC

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 12:03 PM

For those of us who work solo, it's not because we're choosing to do so. Not everyone has the luxury of a budget with room for hiring a focus puller+gear. Sure, I could hire one and the gear and slice half of my dayrate....but who the hell is going to do that?
Jeff I completely see what you're saying and agree that a focus puller is the best way to execute on live events....however this perfect world isn't always going to happen.

I do keep putting this bug in the ear of the producers however.
Just out of curiousity Jeff, what's the day rate plus gear for a puller who works with you? Do you include the FF system as part of your rig rental rate?
Also, would love to hear any advice on how to "sell" this to producers...aside from the standard soft focus arguement.
Trying to make a change for the better up here....and as we know, massaging, polite and strategic manipulation will go further than refusal to participate on a gig.
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#6 joe mcnally

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 04:06 PM

Hi Jason
Ive got the Zoe too, great little unit much better than the J7.
What solution have you come up with for the cable ?
It doesn't bother me too much but when added to a triax cable and talkback can build up horribly.
Usually just reach over to tweak focus when needed for TV work.
Gotta tell you boys and girls there's a lot, lot more worrying downward trends in UK TV than us doing a little of our own focus.
Didn't know there was a BFD mod for the J7 Ive got a few old ones lying around so would be great to get the wiring on that sometime.
Hope to speak soon Jason
Cheers now Happy Easter
Joe
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#7 Guido Lux

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 04:56 PM

Guys!

Jeff is so right!! If the producer can't afford a focuspuller, that means he can't afford steadicam!!!You have to have the balls to tell him that!!If he wants a quality production, he has to pay the price for quality!
I know what you gonna say: but then someone else is going to do it without a focuspuller!! Then let them do it!The more ops say NO, the better for all of us!! Learn how to say no, please!!!

Guido "had to learn myself" Lux
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#8 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 06:50 PM

For those of us who work solo, it's not because we're choosing to do so. Not everyone has the luxury of a budget with room for hiring a focus puller+gear. Sure, I could hire one and the gear and slice half of my dayrate....but who the hell is going to do that?
Jeff I completely see what you're saying and agree that a focus puller is the best way to execute on live events....however this perfect world isn't always going to happen.

I do keep putting this bug in the ear of the producers however.
Just out of curiousity Jeff, what's the day rate plus gear for a puller who works with you? Do you include the FF system as part of your rig rental rate?
Also, would love to hear any advice on how to "sell" this to producers...aside from the standard soft focus arguement.
Trying to make a change for the better up here....and as we know, massaging, polite and strategic manipulation will go further than refusal to participate on a gig.


Hi Bryan, Firstly, I am sorry I dont like to talk rate in here.
But the choice to work solo, is yours, not the producers. You just need to learn the word "No". I understand the need to make a living, I have a family to support. But for me, I would just rather make more and work a little less often, then make less and work more often.

respectfully,
Jeff
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#9 Jason Torbitt

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 12:54 AM

Hi Joe, a Happy Easter to you too.

I love the Zoe, it's almost perfect for us except for the bloody cable! You can get some great looking smooth zooms and ramp the speed up and down quite comfortably. Well the cable on mine was strained at ther terminal with the unit, so Bebob are fitting a new one for me, nice people. I know Fred Davies has come up with thinner cables for people, maybe he could work on a solution. All I usually do with mine is make sure that damn electronics module bit on the cable is just above the Zoe on the gimbal handle, so it's out of the way, then tape around the cable just after the module thing to prevent too much straining or shifting about of the thing.

That BFD mod, I didnt know about either - I know Jim Bartell sells a little gimbal mounted box that plugs into the POT port on the BFD receiver, but that J7 mod would be good to know.

Re: the general discussion here - over here in the UK, probably 80% of live TV Steadicam doesn't use a focus puller. Football matches normally use focus pullers, but not always, as do some studio programmes, but most outside broadcasts, sports and indeed some concerts etc would see you struggling to get a focus puller. One operater I know, who does some stunning work, pulls his own focus, and indeed it would be extremely difficult in the physical environment in which he works, to operate with a focus puller. But to be honest, with the lens technology we're currently working with, depth of field offered usually causes very few focusing issues anyway in terms of TV work, just the minor tweak here and there and for CUs etc. (That isn't the point, I know) But I 100% agree with the fact that there is no substitute for a focus puller and radio focus - for film, commercials music videos etc it would be unthinkable and simply wrong to go without.
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#10 Ben Howells

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 08:45 AM

Hi Jason
I tend to not get involved in too many of the debates on the forum but have to say I would suggest that was a fairly wild statistic that 80% of live tv shows using steadicam in the uk do not use a focus puller. Ive worked on many big live shows and sporting events over the years as an assistant, focus puller and camera op and dont think i have ever seen a steadicam op on a high profile gig without a focus puller and quite right too. Im seriously worried about the future of the camera, steadicam op in this country, people seem to be constantly screwing the rate down but surely if the rates the rate and we all try to uphold that then punters have to pay it or go without, I know if we are all honest most of us negotiate a bit on the rate here and there but I was asked to give a rate for a days steadicam recently in London only to be told afterwards that another [op] had agreed to come down to London from yorkshire with kit and do the job for £250!! (honest). Surely thats not doing anyone any favours.
Best
Ben Howells
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#11 thomas-english

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 04:53 PM

250 !!!!!! wow..... on a proper job? rather than a student/lowbudget short ?

hard core. Who was it? name them!

I always use the focus unit on TV stuff and often have to train the camera assistant in how to use it there and then. Sometimes there is simply no need to put the FF on board due to the stop/lens but I generally always end up with an assistant on steadicam. I can t remember a job where I did nt have one for TV stuff.

The zoe is cool, I have used Joe macs one a couple of time and it is nice. Shame about the cable.
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#12 Ben Howells

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 05:53 PM

I jest you not... dont know who it was though! And yes it was a proper job, i know this because when the booking with mr £250 went tits up i went and did it myself, for the proper rate!
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#13 Jason Torbitt

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 01:35 AM

Wow

£250 is a half acceptable rate for a low budget short,...but on a proper job...ridiculous- that's both annoying and worrying at the same time. Having said that, people pay for quality operating and gear, its about how you sell yourself, and that sort of rate for a proper job isn't going to instill confiidence in anyone on production. And anyone charging that as a rate for operator and full kit should be given a talking to! This isn't just about getting work, and getting paid for work, its about earning a living and being able to afford to keep & maintain gear / buy more gear. Steadicam is a huge investment to make and rates should reflect that.

Mind blowing
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#14 MarceloKron

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 10:58 AM

Sorry guys, I was in a trip... I just would like to thank you for all the enlightening information's and mainly to Ckonash for the photo.

Again Thanks All!!
Kron
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#15 Jurgen Badenhorst

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 12:29 PM

Hey Guys where can I buy a BeBob Zoe 2

Thanks
Jurgen
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