Before you watch the video: I was attempting trying a new audio wireless device which unfortunately does not work well with this camera. The result is a distorted audio track. The camera it-self produces better sound then in this video.

0J8K9960 640x360 Sony A77mII first look (XAVC S codec)

A while back When Sony first introduced it’s new A77mII to the cinema5D team, our first response was “Why Sony is not using its newer XAVC-S codec with that camera?”. Fast forward to last week and a free firmware containing the new XAVC-S codec can be downloaded here.

Equipped with one Sony A mount 16-50mm f2.8 lens, 2 batteries, a tripod and lots of positive energy to meet Sabine and her wonderful family, I did the 90 min drive to her little Christmas kingdom, hoping that rain will not spoil the day as I had only 3 hours till it gets dark and rain is the last thing I needed….

So how is it to work with the new A77mII you may ask. Well, Very much strait forward. If you are used to the latest Sony menu layout which can be found across the range, you will feel very much at home after turning the camera on. Also, assigning tasks to the FN button is very simple and useful. When it come to battery life, I felt like it keeps longer then the usual (or am I just used to the short battery life of the A7s)….

All in all the picture coming out of the camera is pleasant BUT soft. All the footage you see in this video was enhanced with 30% sharpness in post. Also, aliasing and rolling shutter are very much evident in many of the clips I took. The low light capability is still to be check in our lab test but the night footage showed in this short film was all shot in ISO 1250 and looks usable. Additionally, the OLED viewfinder of this camera is OK. Focusing was not always easy. (you can use peaking as your focusing aid). Further more, “punching in” while shooting to correct focusing is not possible. (If you like to use “auto focus” while shooting video, it is possible but shutter speed turns “automatic” as soon as you flip the AF/MF switch on the lens).

One area the A77mII really falls back is audio. With No headphone jack it feels outdated. Also, since this is the latest in Sony’s A mount camera range, I was surprised to see that the new XLR A2M attachment is not supported. Further more, other Sony audio wireless devices which attach directly to the hot shoe and do work with the camera, will turn the audio to AUTO mode leaving a lot to be desired (ECM-W1M)

Summery:
The new Sony A77mII will not make loyal Canon or Nikon users to replace their camera with that one (unlike the case of the Sony A7s). Also, if you are looking for an easy way to use your Canon lenses, then Sony’s E-mount is the way to go. If you are in the market for a good APS-C photo camera that can shoot good quality video, then the Sony A77mII is a very valid option.

Strengths:
-Zebra
-Peaking
-Tilting LCD screen
-Modern efficient codec
-Clean video picture
-Adjusting audio levels while recording. Possible
-Reasonable lowlight capability
-Good battery life

Weaknesses:
-Strong aliasing
-Strong rolling shutter effect
-Soft picture. Needs enhancement in post
-No flat video picture profile
-No headphone jack
-No “punch in” focus while recording
-Does not support Sony’s latest professional attached audio XLR devices

Camera settings for this video: XAVC-S codec, 1080/25p, Creative style: Ntrl (0-0-0)

Edited on Adobe Premiere CC. 30% sharpness was added in post. FilmConvert filter was applied.

A big thank you to:
Sabine Gollnhuber from bad tatzmannsdorf
https://www.facebook.com/weihnachtshausbadtatzmannsdorf
Britta Tivan http://filmessenz.tv/

Music: The musicbed “Wish you a Merry Christmas” by Tracey Chattaway

The post Sony A77mII first look (XAVC-S codec) appeared first on cinema5D.

All credit is given to author cinema5D » NewsJohnnie Behiri

Over the past decade or so, cameras have gotten a lot smaller and thereby more portable and flexible. People realized the cameras could be put onto various different contraptions to get shots that were previously seen impossible – small jib arms, lightweight dollies, handheld stabilizers like Steadicams and Glidecams, and gimbals, which have become widespread only recently thanks to Freefly’s MoVi and the DJI Ronin, among many others.

redrock microremote featured 640x640 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

Remote focusing is becoming mainstream …

The problem with all these gadgets is that while cameras have gotten smaller, the underlying principle of having to operate camera functions manually hasn’t really changed in the professional field. Surely, autofocus and innovative focusing technologies are getting better all the time, but it’s unlikely that they will be able to replace a human being who is pulling the focus as the action unfolds, anticipating movement and shifting the audience’s attention according to the director’s or director of photography’s vision.

However, smaller and moving cameras have made it much harder for focus pullers and operators to actually operate that camera when it’s in its contraption, no matter if it’s a jib, a gimble or something else. The “normal way” of using a follow focus just isn’t feasible as it would negatively impact the shot.

And that’s exactly where remote follow focuses come in. It’s the omnipresence of all these camera stabilizers, jibs, dollies and so on that has made them so necessary.

But not long ago, there was a caveat with buying a remote follow focusing device: it was (and to a degree still is) a segment of our industry where few high-end manufacturers produced solutions primarily targeted at traditional high-end camera systems – talking about film cameras, Arri Alexas and so on. So suddenly there was this influx of less expensive camera systems with the digital cinema revolution that was unintentionally started with the Canon 5D Mark II and to a lesser degree even with the Red One before that. And that’s exactly when the demand for such system increased massively. Until recently however, it’s been quite tricky to find affordable systems that do what they are supposed to do properly – exactly because all the established systems were designed for camera systems with a totally different price point.

IMG 4184 640x359 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

MoVi M10 and the need for remote focusing

I found myself in a tough spot when I invested in a MoVi M10 (and later M5) to use with my C300, a Red Epic and other cameras, because obviously what you are able to shoot is quite limited if you can’t maintain focus. Shooting at f/16 for deep focus’ sake isn’t a whole lot of fun and obviously makes everything look less cinematic than it could be with a wider f-stop. (Not to mention the light loss.)

So I immediately started looking out for a proper remote follow focus system and it became clear quite quickly that this is quite a competitive field of our industry in the high-end sector, whereas the “owner-operator” remote follow focuses (in other words, less expensive ones) were clearly in the minority – and many options were far from ideal for my purpose.

An inexpensive, small and lightweight remote focus system – impossible?

Many gimbal users like myself find themselves in the same contradictory situation: They need a remote focus system with many bells and whistles, yet have a limited budget. In particular, two of the major requirements for any device attached to a gimbal are lightness and a small footprint.

Apart from their rather high price point, the majority of reliable remote follow focuses that have been on the market for years were not designed with a small form factor or low weight in mind. Be it C-Motion, Bartech or one of the many others – and their price point puts them clearly into rental equipment territory. Simply because it didn’t matter much if a large camera such as an Alexa would weigh a little bit more on a crane or not – reliability and reach were the manufacturers’ major concerns.

Another big issue is powering these units on gimbals – usually they get their power via D-Tap from an Anton Bauer battery on a larger rig, but I wasn’t too keen on slapping a large heavy brick battery on my MoVi M10 (even less so on the MoVi M5). So that wasn’t an option either, and it made the selection process among the available systems even harder.

Entering: RedRock microRemote

Talking to other MoVi M10 owners I kept getting recommendations for the RedRock MicroRemote for various reasons, and decided to give it a try with the MoVi. If you want to save yourself reading the rather elaborate long text below, I can thoroughly recommend it.

Now Redrock weren’t on my radar for this type of system at all in the beginning. I knew them as rig manufacturers mainly, so it didn’t quite cross my mind that their remote focusing system could be worth my time. As it turned out, I was very wrong.

I got the microRemote wireless bundle to test, with the addition of the “Universal Fingerwheel”, which is further explained below.

IMG 5894 640x480 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

Real-life review conditions – the set-up

All the team members at cinema5D are always striving after using equipment under real-life circumstances as much as possible – in this case, I put the microRemote through its paces during a huge client project that was shot over the course of this past summer (and which I will be able to talk about and share with you in early 2015) on the MoVi M5 with the Sony A7s and Zeiss CP.2 lenses. It really was a tough gig in many respects, with long continuous takes testing the MoVi M5’s and the Redrock microRemote’s durability. They both performed flawlessly, and the inverted mode of the M5 made it so much easier to operate compared to the “normal” way of holding a gimbal, where you have to hold your hands up in order to be at eye level with the camera.

Due to the nature of the shoots, it was essential to build a small and lightweight rig that could be moved quickly and operated for long periods of time. To keep it as small and lightweight as possible, I ended up using it even without an additional monitor on the rig itself, solely trusting the A7s’s build-in monitor at the back – which due to the inverted mode of the MoVi, was right in front of my eyes.

The Sony A7s is a very small camera and putting a Zeiss CP.2 on it meant that the lens would be higher than the camera itself. Normal base plates were not feasible for that reason. After testing many options, I went with the Zacuto DSLR baseplate, which is height adjustable, and enabled me to use very short and lightweight rods to mount the Redrock microRemote torque motor and a Vocas clamp-on matte box on. I used a Chrosziel lens support to stabilize the lens as Sony’s E-Mount (much like Canon’s EF mount) isn’t really made to feel the force of a decent torque motor, causing the lens to move in the mount otherwise the motor is moving quickly. The additional lens support did the trick though and made this a non-issue.

IMG 8549 640x360 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

Torque Motor

Having used other follow focus motors on the M10 and M5 before, I was pleased to see that the Redrock motor is definitely a lot smaller than most of its higher-end counterparts. I had very little space in between the rods and the rather wide CP.2 lens, but the motor’s height adjustment slider on the mount made it relatively straightforward to adjust. If I had to point at one thing that could be enhanced I would point out the rather large thumb screw that almost touches the lens when adjusting. This is just a small thing and not really a problem as it is lift-and-lock repositionable, but I can see how this potentially could become a problem on some other very small setups – this thumb screw should be easy to shrink for Redrock though, in a future version of the device (or even as a replacement for the current one).

IMG 5897 640x734 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

Considering the low price point of the entire system, I was worried that the motor could possibly be not strong enough for some lenses – especially the Zeiss CP.2’s, some of which have a little more resistance on the focus barrel than higher-end cinema lenses. However, my worry was unfounded -quite the contrary actually, the microRemote torque motor turned out to be very strong. The factory setting of the motor has it ramping up – it starts a bit slower and builds up quickly. I had this reset to a more immediate reaction time because my shoot required some rather quick refocusing from macro to infinity in some occasion, and Redrock’s support team gave me quick feedback on how to adjust the setting very easily, and it worked like a breeze.

The motor comes with one 0.8 gear ring that fits most cinema lenses, but I would recommend ordering a second gear ring with your order as a replacement as they can wear out over time when used a lot.

Since I have received the review unit, Redrock has shrunk the motor for gimbal users – see photo below! I haven’t tried the new one but it makes a lot of sense to get the cable out this way, especially for balancing purposes.

Basestation Unit

The Basestation unit is the heart of the system and manages interaction between tethered / wireless connections and the motor. Again, its size is really what really impressed me. If you look at the competition you can clearly see that most other systems are much larger in comparison to the microRemote Basestation, again making them harder to mount on gimbals (I tried to use a Bartech on an M10 several times – no fun at all). The antenna is very short but my worries that this would adversely affect reach of the unit were unfounded – we tried focusing over distances of more than 200 feet (60 meters) over the course of the project and there were no noticeable delay or lag issues whatsoever. Redrock says it’s tested to work well of up to 300 feet distance – though I have to say my ACs rarely felt the need to move further away than 20-30 feet from the camera with their remote in practice.

This basestation is a fully digital system with 16 wireless channels which allows you to move to a different channel if there is interference on any one. I only used it with the Redrock Torque motor but it supposedly works with all digital motors – again great for versatility. A 1/4” mounting hole at the back of the unit made it very easy for us to mount on the MoVi M5’s handles without getting in my way of handling the gimbal.

IMG 5899 640x502 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

The whole system and the lenses are calibrated using the basestation. Some other much more expensive high-end systems come with super-advanced databases of cinema lenses which means the need for calibrating for lenses is massively reduced. However that’s something you cannot expect from a system like the microRemote which is targeted at the owner-operator rather than the professional 1st AC who moves from feature film to feature film day in and day out. The lack of such high-end functions however also means that they are able to build the unit as small as they do, which is something that is far more important for me personally.

But let’s get back to calibration: It’s very straightforward. If you use a cinema lens with hard stops like in our case with the Zeiss CP.2, you simply attach the motor to the lens when it’s roughly positioned in the middle of the lens barrel. You then press “auto” and the automatic calibration starts, moving the motor to either end of the lens barrel – done. That’s basically it – ready to rock and roll.

It’s essential that this process is as simple as it is as you end up changing lenses frequently on most shoots. Very neatly implemented.

If you work with photo lenses or if the automatic calibration doesn’t work for some reason, you can always manually calibrate and move the motor manually to the appropriate end and start positions using the handheld controller or the fingerwheel. I tried shooting with a photo lens without hard stops too and the manual calibration worked just fine. However, I wouldn’t recommend permanently using a photo lens with a motorized follow focus system like this one simply because the lenses are not made for this – there’s quite a bit of strain that is put on the lens barrel by the movement and I can see cheaply built photo lenses break over time because of the strength of the motor. This is hardly the fault of the system, rather that of the operator who uses these lenses with it – don’t say you haven’t been warned!

The Basestation has connectors for power, motor cable, and the optional fingerwheel. The all run into the station from the same side, and some of these cables are a bit stiff (yet very durable), which means you should think about where and how to place it especially on a gimbal. The length of the cables was ideal for us though – nothing is more annoying than having cables that are too long or short on a gimbal. I just wish they were a bit softer so you could wrap them around parts of the gimbal more easily – but I can see how this could adversely affect their durability.

Redrock told me that they now have new “flexCables” which are more flexible – so I think it’s worth looking into them if you order a unit (or if you already have one).

The accessory port on the basestation can be used to power other accessories like for example a wireless video transmitter if it’s not in use – nice addition, because on a gimbal it’s all about reducing batteries (and thereby weight).

The new 2.0 firmware of the microRemote added the ability to dial out any system backlash which is nice (apart from bug fixes and better stability).

Fingerwheel

The Fingerwheel controller is a nice optional add-on to the Redrock microRemote that I can recommend for any users who can’t rely on having a focus puller on set on every shoot. This device is a really big deal for solo operators, to put it this way.

IMG 5912 640x902 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

It’s a very small knob on a clamp that can be attached to grips on shoulder rigs or a gimbal, and it’s tethered via cable to the basestation to allow for manual focusing using only your thumb. I found it to be really practical to be used in conjunction with the remote controller – when you switch off the remote, the basestation immediately realizes that the Fingerwheel is attached and starts working. Then when you switch the remote back on it switches of the Fingerwheel again. Perfect especially on a gimbal, where you can’t fiddle around with switches all the time without actually putting it back onto its stand. Despite the relatively small knob on the Fingerwheel I found that focusing is quite precise after some practice, and the motor is extremely responsive. You can also use a longer cable to use the Fingerwheel on jibs and cranes.

Remote Controller

The remote controller is a chunky unit, but very well built and has a high-quality feel to it. It is quite big but I had no problem with it as I have rather large hands – but that is not true for anyone. I was told by Redrock that they are now also shipping a smaller and lighter hand unit especially geared towards gimbal users.

The advantage of the controller’s size is that focusing is very precise thanks to the large wheel controller. The marking disk is removable but there’s only one in the box, so you should order additional ones with the package. As mentioned in the Fingerwheel section above, the basestation realizes when the remote is switched on and off, disabling or enabling the attached Fingerwheel accordingly. There is some room for improvement with the battery compartment of the unit, which can only be opened using a screwdriver – considering the fact that you can run through a set of AA batteries within two days or so if you use the unit a lot, I wish it was a little bit easier to replace batteries. Small issue but that can easily be enhanced.

IMG 5907 640x817 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

The range of the microRemote and controller is 1 mile line of sight, according to Redrock. I didn’t verify nor test this, simply because it worked very well for us without any connection hickups in every practical circumstance. The farthest that the focus puller was away from the camera unit was about 50 meters and there were no performance problems at all.

Redrock have a small AC Field Runner Rig that can put the remote together with a monitor and wireless receiver – we haven’t had a chance to try this but I can see how much this makes sense considering the fact that my AC was watching over the client’s shoulder onto their monitor most of the time during our shoots.

field runner ac hands lg Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review IMG 8556 640x426 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

Conclusion

The Redrock microRemote for me is an ideal companion for owner/operators who use gimbals and other devices where you don’t always have immediate access to the camera. Price performance ratio is impressive and it certainly is a product that gets a lot of “love” and updates from the manufacturer – and considering how many enhancements it’s getting all the time, it’s clear that Redrock has recognized the needs of gimbal users especially. For example, the new smaller motor, the smaller remote, the flexCables, the Fingerwheel … and the list goes on. Any gimbal users will know that powering all the devices you have on the rig (monitor, remote follow focus, wireless HDMI, camera and gimbal themselves …) can be a big hassle with each one demanding their own battery. In comes another innovation from Redrock for that, simply called the “Powerpack”, promising to power all these devices. I haven’t had a chance to test it yet as it’s still quite new, but it surely looks promising and is just further proof that these guys have gimbal users in mind and that they have recognized the changed needs of filmmakers (which can’t be said about all remote follow focus manufacturers).

In all, I can thoroughly recommend the microRemote if you have any gimbal or Steadicam stabilizer and use it with your own equipment on a regular basis. It provides a lot of bang for the buck and for me it’s the first remote focusing unit which is versatile enough for a lot of shooting needs, and cheap enough that you can buy it rather than rent it.

Don’t hesitate to comment if you have any questions.

The post Redrock microRemote – wireless follow focus – Review appeared first on cinema5D.

All credit is given to author cinema5D » NewsNino Leitner

Over the past decade or so, cameras have gotten a lot smaller and thereby more portable and flexible. People realized the cameras could be put onto various different contraptions to get shots that were previously seen impossible – small jib arms, lightweight dollies, handheld stabilizers like Steadicams and Glidecams, and gimbals, which have become widespread only recently thanks to Freefly’s MoVi and the DJI Ronin, among many others.

redrock microremote featured 640x640 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

Remote focusing is becoming mainstream …

The problem with all these gadgets is that while cameras have gotten smaller, the underlying principle of having to operate camera functions manually hasn’t really changed in the professional field. Surely, autofocus and innovative focusing technologies are getting better all the time, but it’s unlikely that they will be able to replace a human being who is pulling the focus as the action unfolds, anticipating movement and shifting the audience’s attention according to the director’s or director of photography’s vision.

However, smaller and moving cameras have made it much harder for focus pullers and operators to actually operate that camera when it’s in its contraption, no matter if it’s a jib, a gimble or something else. The “normal way” of using a follow focus just isn’t feasible as it would negatively impact the shot.

And that’s exactly where remote follow focuses come in. It’s the omnipresence of all these camera stabilizers, jibs, dollies and so on that has made them so necessary.

But not long ago, there was a caveat with buying a remote follow focusing device: it was (and to a degree still is) a segment of our industry where few high-end manufacturers produced solutions primarily targeted at traditional high-end camera systems – talking about film cameras, Arri Alexas and so on. So suddenly there was this influx of less expensive camera systems with the digital cinema revolution that was unintentionally started with the Canon 5D Mark II and to a lesser degree even with the Red One before that. And that’s exactly when the demand for such system increased massively. Until recently however, it’s been quite tricky to find affordable systems that do what they are supposed to do properly – exactly because all the established systems were designed for camera systems with a totally different price point.

IMG 4184 640x359 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

MoVi M10 and the need for remote focusing

I found myself in a tough spot when I invested in a MoVi M10 (and later M5) to use with my C300, a Red Epic and other cameras, because obviously what you are able to shoot is quite limited if you can’t maintain focus. Shooting at f/16 for deep focus’ sake isn’t a whole lot of fun and obviously makes everything look less cinematic than it could be with a wider f-stop. (Not to mention the light loss.)

So I immediately started looking out for a proper remote follow focus system and it became clear quite quickly that this is quite a competitive field of our industry in the high-end sector, whereas the “owner-operator” remote follow focuses (in other words, less expensive ones) were clearly in the minority – and many options were far from ideal for my purpose.

An inexpensive, small and lightweight remote focus system – impossible?

Many gimbal users like myself find themselves in the same contradictory situation: They need a remote focus system with many bells and whistles, yet have a limited budget. In particular, two of the major requirements for any device attached to a gimbal are lightness and a small footprint.

Apart from their rather high price point, the majority of reliable remote follow focuses that have been on the market for years were not designed with a small form factor or low weight in mind. Be it C-Motion, Bartech or one of the many others – and their price point puts them clearly into rental equipment territory. Simply because it didn’t matter much if a large camera such as an Alexa would weigh a little bit more on a crane or not – reliability and reach were the manufacturers’ major concerns.

Another big issue is powering these units on gimbals – usually they get their power via D-Tap from an Anton Bauer battery on a larger rig, but I wasn’t too keen on slapping a large heavy brick battery on my MoVi M10 (even less so on the MoVi M5). So that wasn’t an option either, and it made the selection process among the available systems even harder.

Entering: RedRock microRemote

Talking to other MoVi M10 owners I kept getting recommendations for the RedRock MicroRemote for various reasons, and decided to give it a try with the MoVi. If you want to save yourself reading the rather elaborate long text below, I can thoroughly recommend it.

Now Redrock weren’t on my radar for this type of system at all in the beginning. I knew them as rig manufacturers mainly, so it didn’t quite cross my mind that their remote focusing system could be worth my time. As it turned out, I was very wrong.

I got the microRemote wireless bundle to test, with the addition of the “Universal Fingerwheel”, which is further explained below.

IMG 5894 640x480 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

Real-life review conditions – the set-up

All the team members at cinema5D are always striving after using equipment under real-life circumstances as much as possible – in this case, I put the microRemote through its paces during a huge client project that was shot over the course of this past summer (and which I will be able to talk about and share with you in early 2015) on the MoVi M5 with the Sony A7s and Zeiss CP.2 lenses. It really was a tough gig in many respects, with long continuous takes testing the MoVi M5’s and the Redrock microRemote’s durability. They both performed flawlessly, and the inverted mode of the M5 made it so much easier to operate compared to the “normal” way of holding a gimbal, where you have to hold your hands up in order to be at eye level with the camera.

Due to the nature of the shoots, it was essential to build a small and lightweight rig that could be moved quickly and operated for long periods of time. To keep it as small and lightweight as possible, I ended up using it even without an additional monitor on the rig itself, solely trusting the A7s’s build-in monitor at the back – which due to the inverted mode of the MoVi, was right in front of my eyes.

The Sony A7s is a very small camera and putting a Zeiss CP.2 on it meant that the lens would be higher than the camera itself. Normal base plates were not feasible for that reason. After testing many options, I went with the Zacuto DSLR baseplate, which is height adjustable, and enabled me to use very short and lightweight rods to mount the Redrock microRemote torque motor and a Vocas clamp-on matte box on. I used a Chrosziel lens support to stabilize the lens as Sony’s E-Mount (much like Canon’s EF mount) isn’t really made to feel the force of a decent torque motor, causing the lens to move in the mount otherwise the motor is moving quickly. The additional lens support did the trick though and made this a non-issue.

IMG 8549 640x360 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

Torque Motor

Having used other follow focus motors on the M10 and M5 before, I was pleased to see that the Redrock motor is definitely a lot smaller than most of its higher-end counterparts. I had very little space in between the rods and the rather wide CP.2 lens, but the motor’s height adjustment slider on the mount made it relatively straightforward to adjust. If I had to point at one thing that could be enhanced I would point out the rather large thumb screw that almost touches the lens when adjusting. This is just a small thing and not really a problem as it is lift-and-lock repositionable, but I can see how this potentially could become a problem on some other very small setups – this thumb screw should be easy to shrink for Redrock though, in a future version of the device (or even as a replacement for the current one).

IMG 5897 640x734 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

Considering the low price point of the entire system, I was worried that the motor could possibly be not strong enough for some lenses – especially the Zeiss CP.2’s, some of which have a little more resistance on the focus barrel than higher-end cinema lenses. However, my worry was unfounded -quite the contrary actually, the microRemote torque motor turned out to be very strong. The factory setting of the motor has it ramping up – it starts a bit slower and builds up quickly. I had this reset to a more immediate reaction time because my shoot required some rather quick refocusing from macro to infinity in some occasion, and Redrock’s support team gave me quick feedback on how to adjust the setting very easily, and it worked like a breeze.

The motor comes with one 0.8 gear ring that fits most cinema lenses, but I would recommend ordering a second gear ring with your order as a replacement as they can wear out over time when used a lot.

Since I have received the review unit, Redrock has shrunk the motor for gimbal users – see photo below! I haven’t tried the new one but it makes a lot of sense to get the cable out this way, especially for balancing purposes.

Basestation Unit

The Basestation unit is the heart of the system and manages interaction between tethered / wireless connections and the motor. Again, its size is really what really impressed me. If you look at the competition you can clearly see that most other systems are much larger in comparison to the microRemote Basestation, again making them harder to mount on gimbals (I tried to use a Bartech on an M10 several times – no fun at all). The antenna is very short but my worries that this would adversely affect reach of the unit were unfounded – we tried focusing over distances of more than 200 feet (60 meters) over the course of the project and there were no noticeable delay or lag issues whatsoever. Redrock says it’s tested to work well of up to 300 feet distance – though I have to say my ACs rarely felt the need to move further away than 20-30 feet from the camera with their remote in practice.

This basestation is a fully digital system with 16 wireless channels which allows you to move to a different channel if there is interference on any one. I only used it with the Redrock Torque motor but it supposedly works with all digital motors – again great for versatility. A 1/4” mounting hole at the back of the unit made it very easy for us to mount on the MoVi M5’s handles without getting in my way of handling the gimbal.

IMG 5899 640x502 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

The whole system and the lenses are calibrated using the basestation. Some other much more expensive high-end systems come with super-advanced databases of cinema lenses which means the need for calibrating for lenses is massively reduced. However that’s something you cannot expect from a system like the microRemote which is targeted at the owner-operator rather than the professional 1st AC who moves from feature film to feature film day in and day out. The lack of such high-end functions however also means that they are able to build the unit as small as they do, which is something that is far more important for me personally.

But let’s get back to calibration: It’s very straightforward. If you use a cinema lens with hard stops like in our case with the Zeiss CP.2, you simply attach the motor to the lens when it’s roughly positioned in the middle of the lens barrel. You then press “auto” and the automatic calibration starts, moving the motor to either end of the lens barrel – done. That’s basically it – ready to rock and roll.

It’s essential that this process is as simple as it is as you end up changing lenses frequently on most shoots. Very neatly implemented.

If you work with photo lenses or if the automatic calibration doesn’t work for some reason, you can always manually calibrate and move the motor manually to the appropriate end and start positions using the handheld controller or the fingerwheel. I tried shooting with a photo lens without hard stops too and the manual calibration worked just fine. However, I wouldn’t recommend permanently using a photo lens with a motorized follow focus system like this one simply because the lenses are not made for this – there’s quite a bit of strain that is put on the lens barrel by the movement and I can see cheaply built photo lenses break over time because of the strength of the motor. This is hardly the fault of the system, rather that of the operator who uses these lenses with it – don’t say you haven’t been warned!

The Basestation has connectors for power, motor cable, and the optional fingerwheel. The all run into the station from the same side, and some of these cables are a bit stiff (yet very durable), which means you should think about where and how to place it especially on a gimbal. The length of the cables was ideal for us though – nothing is more annoying than having cables that are too long or short on a gimbal. I just wish they were a bit softer so you could wrap them around parts of the gimbal more easily – but I can see how this could adversely affect their durability.

Redrock told me that they now have new “flexCables” which are more flexible – so I think it’s worth looking into them if you order a unit (or if you already have one).

The accessory port on the basestation can be used to power other accessories like for example a wireless video transmitter if it’s not in use – nice addition, because on a gimbal it’s all about reducing batteries (and thereby weight).

The new 2.0 firmware of the microRemote added the ability to dial out any system backlash which is nice (apart from bug fixes and better stability).

Fingerwheel

The Fingerwheel controller is a nice optional add-on to the Redrock microRemote that I can recommend for any users who can’t rely on having a focus puller on set on every shoot. This device is a really big deal for solo operators, to put it this way.

IMG 5912 640x902 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

It’s a very small knob on a clamp that can be attached to grips on shoulder rigs or a gimbal, and it’s tethered via cable to the basestation to allow for manual focusing using only your thumb. I found it to be really practical to be used in conjunction with the remote controller – when you switch off the remote, the basestation immediately realizes that the Fingerwheel is attached and starts working. Then when you switch the remote back on it switches of the Fingerwheel again. Perfect especially on a gimbal, where you can’t fiddle around with switches all the time without actually putting it back onto its stand. Despite the relatively small knob on the Fingerwheel I found that focusing is quite precise after some practice, and the motor is extremely responsive. You can also use a longer cable to use the Fingerwheel on jibs and cranes.

Remote Controller

The remote controller is a chunky unit, but very well built and has a high-quality feel to it. It is quite big but I had no problem with it as I have rather large hands – but that is not true for anyone. I was told by Redrock that they are now also shipping a smaller and lighter hand unit especially geared towards gimbal users.

The advantage of the controller’s size is that focusing is very precise thanks to the large wheel controller. The marking disk is removable but there’s only one in the box, so you should order additional ones with the package. As mentioned in the Fingerwheel section above, the basestation realizes when the remote is switched on and off, disabling or enabling the attached Fingerwheel accordingly. There is some room for improvement with the battery compartment of the unit, which can only be opened using a screwdriver – considering the fact that you can run through a set of AA batteries within two days or so if you use the unit a lot, I wish it was a little bit easier to replace batteries. Small issue but that can easily be enhanced.

IMG 5907 640x817 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

The range of the microRemote and controller is 1 mile line of sight, according to Redrock. I didn’t verify nor test this, simply because it worked very well for us without any connection hickups in every practical circumstance. The farthest that the focus puller was away from the camera unit was about 50 meters and there were no performance problems at all.

Redrock have a small AC Field Runner Rig that can put the remote together with a monitor and wireless receiver – we haven’t had a chance to try this but I can see how much this makes sense considering the fact that my AC was watching over the client’s shoulder onto their monitor most of the time during our shoots.

field runner ac hands lg Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review IMG 8556 640x426 Redrock microRemote   wireless follow focus   Review

Conclusion

The Redrock microRemote for me is an ideal companion for owner/operators who use gimbals and other devices where you don’t always have immediate access to the camera. Price performance ratio is impressive and it certainly is a product that gets a lot of “love” and updates from the manufacturer – and considering how many enhancements it’s getting all the time, it’s clear that Redrock has recognized the needs of gimbal users especially. For example, the new smaller motor, the smaller remote, the flexCables, the Fingerwheel … and the list goes on. Any gimbal users will know that powering all the devices you have on the rig (monitor, remote follow focus, wireless HDMI, camera and gimbal themselves …) can be a big hassle with each one demanding their own battery. In comes another innovation from Redrock for that, simply called the “Powerpack”, promising to power all these devices. I haven’t had a chance to test it yet as it’s still quite new, but it surely looks promising and is just further proof that these guys have gimbal users in mind and that they have recognized the changed needs of filmmakers (which can’t be said about all remote follow focus manufacturers).

In all, I can thoroughly recommend the microRemote if you have any gimbal or Steadicam stabilizer and use it with your own equipment on a regular basis. It provides a lot of bang for the buck and for me it’s the first remote focusing unit which is versatile enough for a lot of shooting needs, and cheap enough that you can buy it rather than rent it.

Don’t hesitate to comment if you have any questions.

The post Redrock microRemote – wireless follow focus – Review appeared first on cinema5D.

All credit is given to author cinema5D » NewsNino Leitner

    This is an early look for now, my unit has only just arrived!! I will be posting some ProRes samples in 4K from the A7S later this weekend. This is a device that’s set to unleash total magic from the Sony A7S in 4K. It also offers a way for Panasonic GH4 users to record 4K [...]

The post Atomos Shogun Review – Part 1 appeared first on EOSHD.

All credit is given to author EOSHDAndrew Reid (EOSHD)

Well hell has officially frozen over and Fuji have full manual control in video mode along with 24p. You can download the V3.0 firmware for the X-T1 and X-T1 Chrome edition here. It adds a lot of improvements. Video in 24p mode is a distinct improvement in quality over the previous 60p mode. It is [...]

The post Fuji X-T1 version 3.0 firmware now available – 24p video mode – and full frame with Speed Booster ULTRA appeared first on EOSHD.

All credit is given to author EOSHDAndrew Reid (EOSHD)

Correcting images and applying adjustments are where many photographers spend the majority of their image-processing time.

In this tutorial, as well as learning how to use the sliders to get the most bang for the buck, plus the keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate at maximum speed, you'll also cover:

  • How to synchronise editing settings between images
  • Learn which settings give you the best results, in the last time
  • Learn about clipping previews and quick fixes

Watch the Tutorial

Watch the Full Course

Lightroom at Light Speed is about getting the most out of Adobe Lightroom in the most efficient way possible.

If you made the switch and now want to get fast, this is the course for you! In this course you'll learn the tips, tricks, settings, and workflows to expedite your workflow. By the end of this course you'll have developed a rock-solid, repeatable, and, most of all, fast approach to post-production.

Although this course is targeted at high-volume shooters like wedding photographers and photojournalists, any photographer can benefit from learning to use Lightroom at Light Speed.

All credit is given to author Tuts+ Photo & VideoAndrew Childress

New Course: Lightroom at Light Speed

Our brand new video course, Lightroom at Light Speed, will help you get the most out of Adobe Lightroom. If you made the switch and now want to get fast, this is the course for you! 

Tuts+ instructor Andrew Childress will teach you the tips, tricks, settings, and workflows to expedite your workflow. By the end of this course you'll have developed a rock-solid, repeatable, and, most of all, speedy approach to culling, correcting, editing and outputting your pictures in Adobe Lightroom.

You can take our new Lightroom course straight away by subscribing to Tuts+. For just $15 a month, you get access to this course and hundreds of others, with new ones added every week.

All credit is given to author Tuts+ Photo & VideoAndrew Blackman

The light in Berlin is dreary during winter, so I took the NX1 off for a break in the Portuguese city of Lisbon last week. This place has the best weather in Europe and the best light. A magical place. It gave me a perfect chance to get under the skin of the NX1 – and see just what [...]

The post Let’s see what the Samsung NX1 is REALLY capable of – shooting 4K in sunny Lisbon appeared first on EOSHD.

All credit is given to author EOSHDAndrew Reid (EOSHD)

varavon wirecam cable cam

Varavon has been teasing their Wire Cam (cablecam) product for a few years now, but they state they will officially open sales starting next week. We’ll just have to wait to see. Here’s the latest video demo using the BirdyCam2 gimbal placed below the Wire Cam.

The Wire Cam can be used with any 3 axis gimbal stabilizer, or with your camera mounted directly (though it won’t be stabilized). You can already find a parts list, more video samples, and additional information at the Wire Cam product page (click here).
varavon-wirecam-kit
read more button Varavon Wire Cam – Remote Cable Cam

All credit is given to author CheesyCamEmm

varavon wirecam cable cam

Varavon has been teasing their Wire Cam (cablecam) product for a few years now, but they state they will officially open sales starting next week. We’ll just have to wait to see. Here’s the latest video demo using the BirdyCam2 gimbal placed below the Wire Cam.

The Wire Cam can be used with any 3 axis gimbal stabilizer, or with your camera mounted directly (though it won’t be stabilized). You can already find a parts list, more video samples, and additional information at the Wire Cam product page (click here).
varavon-wirecam-kit
read more button Varavon Wire Cam – Remote Cable Cam

All credit is given to author CheesyCamEmm