Hello sharping community,
I'm going to start working with the Alexa Mini LF on a regular basis on different projects.
I would like to ask you a question:
In your experience/opinion, which measuring device is the best overall to shoot LF: Cmotion Cfinder III, ARRI UDM or Focusbug Cine RT System?
If you use any other, which one is?
In my opinion, shooting in LF changes drastically the way we focus pullers face a shoot and our margin of error is even thinner than before. While the new format settles, we need to make our life easier using external measuring devices. We all know the classic methods: Cinetape and Arri UDM, which use ultrasonic technology.
A couple of years ago, few companies started to develop cinetape like gear using laser instead of ultrasound. For the new format, maybe we have to start using laser which enables new features, very handy for certain challenging shots. Also, the laser has a faster reading rate than ultrasonic ones.
It would be great to know what you guys recommend, use and what's your opinion about it.
Looking forward to hear your insights about this topic!
So, i have used the UDM for 6 years, and was Always very happy about it. For me its just an extra tool, just like my monitor.
But with LF coming, i have allready sized-up my monitor to a 7" and at the end of last year i switched to the Cine RT and sold the UDM.
My reason to switch was that the Cine RT has the focus BUG. I have a readout on my handunit with the horns but i can also 'bug' 4 actors and have a readout on my Cine RT handunit. Its just a very nice tool, to see where all the actors are. (obviously its has some limitations, but thats another discussion). I have also mounted my horns to a motor and use my thumbwheel on the handunit to adjust the horns during the shot. . .
For me, the CFinder is not versitile enough for run-and-gun shoots like we have here. But, its is a good tool when you have time and can actually do the settings. Maybe more for commercials with loads of time.
so, advice….i would give the Cine RT a try. And i think you will love it.
Thank you for your support and your answers. It helps me to go for the RT Focusbug system.
Now, I see it can be ordered a bunch of different cables but not all of them are needed for a configuration with an Alexa Mini+WCU-4+L-Cube.
RT owners and recent purchasers, which cables have you bought and what kind of configuration do you normally use or think it's best to make the best use of the Cine RT focusbug?
Thanks in advance!
Hey Guille, Fabio here. To tell you the truth, I totally agree with Rozemarijn. I actually had two experiences very close in time so I think I can really compare the UDM and the cineRT. In the first part of the year I was on a netflix tvshow, shot with Sony Venice. The show was 100% studio, with sometimes tight spaces, but usually the situation was pretty controlled. Plus, since we had been in the same studio for the whole shoot, after two or tree weeks I knew the size of the rooms and corridors almost by heart. I had a ARRI UDM and it worked very nicely, teaming up with my cPro: read out on the handunit, precise and relatively fast. Also, since we never moved from the studio, the cameras slept in a safe room so we didn't need to build them everyday. So I was positive about the position of the horns and I almost never moved them, which made me sure about the precision of the read out.
After that I jumped on another tv show which was way more run&gun, all exteriors, always on real locations (a LOT of locations), steadicam, vintage anamorphics and fairly open iris. In this case I had the cineRT and that literally saved my life on several occasions. Long story short, I like both systems but the cineRT is way more versatile, which IMO these days is the best feature any accessory can have. So, given that both system work good enough (I think cinetape is better than UDM and worst than cineRT) my vote goes definitely to the cineRT.
Hope it helped!
Hey Guille! I purchased a whole lot of cable to be ready to shot with any possible camera, but maybe they are not SO necessary. If I would go back in time I would buy:
2x Y cable base sensor to serial
1x LEMO 2 pin to dtap
1x LEMO 2 pin to RS.
I own a cPro, so my usual configuration is to integrate the base sensor in the lBus Daisy chain through an Lcube. So cPro motor>iris motor>Lcube>cineRT
I use the d-tap cable to power the high bright display or the cineRT hand unit when they go low battery and I’m on set, which to tell you the truth doesn’t happen very often (with a full charge the high bright can go one whole day, while the hand unit has a bigger battery draw but I don’t have it on all the time, I basically switch it on when I need to change settings and then off again).
I bought two bugs and I’m happy with that since I’ve never used more than one bug at the time, so one is the “master” and the other is just a back up, in case the first one gets low battery (which by the way literally never happened) or breaks.
if you need any further information I’ll be happy to help you, just comment the thread or drop me an email at email@example.com
besides the already mentioned options I wanted to throw in the SmartRanger2 by Qinematiq.
I saw it last year on IBC and although it didn't seem to impressive in the beginning it turned out to be a quite nice alternative to the UDM and CTM. It's developer, Martin Waitz is also involved in the cVision, and he provided me with a Demo Unit of the smartranger for one of my projects in Fall 2019.
In contrast to the competitors it has a built in display showing it's readout and giving you all the options to set it up. On the downside it's slightly bigger than the horns of the UDM. The weight is pretty much the same.
Besides the Ultrasonic Sensor wich worked as I expected it from UDM and CTM it has a integrated system to measure 2 Tags via RF up to 100m away. This feature is great for distances further away then 4m on long lens shots. The tags are bigger then the ones of the focus bug, but as they work with rf they don't have to be in line of sight and the can be even in a bag or covered by heavy fabric. We had great results with an actor coming from 80m towards the camera on 290mm ending in a medium shot. From 80m to 8m the RF Tags did most of the work, no glitches, no wrong values. Than I had it switching over to the Ultrasonic Sensor as a help for the last meters. I was quite impressed. But besides those shots, you can also put the tags in moving vehicles, set offsets and use them just to take focus marks without tape-measure or the help of your 2nd. (-;
Integration in cPro and WCU4 was flawless, although it gives you at the moment just one of the values (or a combined one). But that is said to be coming soon.
If you have a chance to try it somewhere or take a look at it I would highly recommend it. I couldn't use the CineRT Focusbug on set yet, so I can't really compare them, but compared to the UDM and CTM it was quite an improvement!
If you have questions don't hesitate asking!
I’m looking a on set opinión about the new Smart Ranger 2 by Chrosziel, I wrote to Chrosziel with technical questions, but I never received feedback.
They talk about two Can bus port with lemo 0B-4pin (like LBUS) on main unit of SR2, is this Can bus port compatible to LBUS? Can you read the info on your WCU4 or go to LCS port on Alexas for read it by metadata on monitor like UDM?
Can you choose which one measure you read? (US, RF1 or RF2).
If the answer is yes, I guess than I can use a Cmotion Cdistance on WCU4 for read that info.
Thank you very much by your support 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼
the Can Bus Port is compatible to the LBus Cables, it's the same Lemo Connector but it can't communicate through it. If you want to have a readout on your Handunit (or cdistance) you need to connect it through an LCube. You might be able to even power it through the LBus Daisy Chain, but as I was using a LCube I didn't try it.
On the SR2 you can choose which value is sent. It can be US, RF1, RF2 or a combined Value which uses US in the close Range and one of the Tags further away. In this case the Tag is the "Master" and the SR2 will ignore all US Values if the Tags is outside to "Handover Distance". The distance for the Handover can be adjusted, as well as a merging distance to avoid a sudden "jump" from to RF Value to the US value. According to Martin there should be a new LBus release coming at some point to support more values through the LCube, but I don't have any details about it.
Always happy to help, so if you have more questions don't hesitate! (-;
About the LBUS compatibly the builder of SR2, will release a LBUS port with metadata on SR2?
Actually is a problem of pinout or license? Do you know? Thank you!!
after shooting some projects with the LF believe me I had the same feeling than you. Its time for us to move on and find the right tool to have a bit more help. Specially in medium distances we need to know more precisely the subject distances.
There is a great tool and future proof coming and Im positive its where we are going in terms of focus assist and its called Cvision (probably you know). But for now and the kind of projects I do I needed a more run and gun system for now and I decided to go for Cine RT. It is a system that is very well thought and takes out the best of ultrasonic technology (kinda old tech). I love the way its develop and I think is the best option out there right now for non Preston owners.