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Digital Readout for focus puller?


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#1 Brandon Thompson

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 12:34 PM

Hi, I am a newbie, but since my question is a follow focus question I posted here. I was watching the special features for Wedding Crashers and there were lots of behind the scene shots with the steadicam op. In one shot I saw the focus puller and the steadicam op, and I noticed some kind of digital read out. It looked like it was giving the focus puller the exact distance from lens to the actor. Can anyone tell me what this piece is and exactly how it works.

Thanks,
Brandon
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#2 WillArnot

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 01:23 PM

Brandon, Panavision started making it years ago and called it the Panatape. CE makes their own version pictured here called the Cinetape. It works off sonar whereby the "horns" send and receive sonar which bounces off the intended subject and thus computes the distance.

This is a helper/checker and should not become a crutch. There are many things that can interfere and it is one of those things like the AR that can only mess you up if you don't know what you are doing. You can set parameters on the cinetape that tell it to ignore certain things/distances ie. foreground elements (flags, actors).
'
Again you can get sucked into the black hole of tech world and waste precious time fooling with the thing if you don't have a handle on it, where you could be studying the action further and concentrating on getting better marks with a 2nd assistant.

For the steadicam op its just one more thing to mount on the camera, account for in balancing, and power up.

Attached File  Cine_read.JPG   121.87KB   177 downloads
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#3 Brandon Thompson

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 02:01 PM

Brandon, Panavision started making it years ago and called it the Panatape. CE makes their own version pictured here called the Cinetape. It works off sonar whereby the "horns" send and receive sonar which bounces off the intended subject and thus computes the distance.

Attached File  Cine_read.JPG   121.87KB   177 downloads


Thanks Will,
I was telling my dad about it and we both were thinking something along that line. Is this something that the operator has in his arsenal, or is this a camera assistant/focus puller item?

Thanks again,
Brandon "eagerly awaiting my BFD" Thompson
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#4 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 02:06 PM

It is a rental from the camera rental houses.
Some camera assistants have bought them for their own personal use
however.
Adam Ward, a former camera assistant has made his own called the
Sniper. He rents it out of GPI (George Paddock Inc.) the maker of the PRO steadicam sled.
I know Adam was initially selling them, but now rents them.
He may very well still sell them if you contact GPI and ask for Adam.
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 05:28 PM

Adam Ward, a former camera assistant has made his own called the
Sniper.

I believe the Sniper is a laser. Am I correct? And if so, being a laser and not sonar, is the Sniper safe to use a lot? I'm not sure I'd want a laser pointed at my face all day if I was an actor.
Sorry for straying off topic.
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#6 Matt Petrosky

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 06:45 PM

Yes, the Ward Sniper is laser-based, but poses no danger to eyes because it at a wavelength well beyond the visual spectrum. I think on the Mk. II version there is an integrated diode laser (similar to a laser pointer) that can be momentarily turned on to assist in the setup and aiming of the "horns." This aiming laser is obviously within the visual spectrum and should not be pointed into anyone's eyes.

The Sniper has some cool properties because it is laser-based. For example it can be used on mirror shots and give accurate readings. The laser like the camera image, bounces off the mirror to the actor. Good for all those close-up bathroom shots. :P Like the camera it can also "see" though windows and it is very accurate.

This is all kinda fuzzy, it's been awhile since I messed around with the Sniper, although I saw Adam at GPI the other day and he does in fact rent them.

-Matt
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#7 Brandon Thompson

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 01:40 AM

Yes, the Ward Sniper is laser-based, but poses no danger to eyes because it at a wavelength well beyond the visual spectrum. I think on the Mk. II version there is an integrated diode laser (similar to a laser pointer) that can be momentarily turned on to assist in the setup and aiming of the "horns." This aiming laser is obviously within the visual spectrum and should not be pointed into anyone's eyes.

The Sniper has some cool properties because it is laser-based. For example it can be used on mirror shots and give accurate readings. The laser like the camera image, bounces off the mirror to the actor. Good for all those close-up bathroom shots. :P Like the camera it can also "see" though windows and it is very accurate.

This is all kinda fuzzy, it's been awhile since I messed around with the Sniper, although I saw Adam at GPI the other day and he does in fact rent them.

-Matt


The camera assist on the last indie I worked on told me about his invention for a laser follow focus that would compute the distance. He is going to be so bummed out when I tell him its already out there. I was thinking to myself as he told me about his idea that someone else in the steadicam world has had to thought that same thing up.
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#8 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 01:00 PM

The camera assist on the last indie I worked on told me about his invention for a laser follow focus that would compute the distance. He is going to be so bummed out when I tell him its already out there. I was thinking to myself as he told me about his idea that someone else in the steadicam world has had to thought that same thing up.

I don't think the Ward's Sniper is the only one. I think there are one or two others out there as well.
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