Talking about range finders rangefinder By Clemens Hönig on 2/21/19, 8:27 AM • 1,302 views Which range finders are you mostly using? When are you using them? On specific shots, or all the time? Are you ever using an auto focus function (for example for shooting the slate?) Where are, in your opinion the pros and cons of each range finder system? In an ideal world, how should a range finder function, to make your live easier? What would be more important? Set-up time, functionality (like tracking functions), or price?
Rozemarijn On 2/21/19, 11:55 AM I'm a constant user of the Arri UDM. For me its an extra tool, just as the monitor is a tool, and my tape measure is a tool. Since its all about time, and time is money, we sometime don't rehearse. The UDM is a life-saver, especially with actors and children who wont hit their marker. At the prepping day I calibrate the horns compared to the sensor. Make lens files, and add the LCube for the read-out on the handunit. On set I aim the horns a little bit downwards so they hit the throat, in my opinion the best spot. The auto-focus is not for everyone. I sometimes use it, but only when we can rehearse. and I can really set the horns the right way. In most cases, a push in at the dolly or a steadycam shot. is when I use the auto function. For me, there are no cons to the system. As long as you use them as a tool, and dont rely on it all the time. But, I am dreaming of a system, which measures the whole picture, which i can see on a monitor, as some kind of overlay.
Aidan Gray On 2/26/19, 12:28 AM Rozemarijn - very interesting... Personally, I don't find the UDM/Cinetape to really be all that useful - I mean honestly, I will really only use it during rehearsals to grab quick marks, or to grab the slate with autofocus, but with the improvisational nature of what I'm doing these days (and Steadicam/dance floor dolly shots that change on the fly) I really don't find myself able to trust it... That said, on the last film I was just on we had Preston Light Rangers for our A and B cameras and they really were quite awesome. Like you said, it was something that you could physically see on your monitor that visually displayed the depth of field. I think the biggest downside of the system is that the FoV of the Lightranger2 unit is 6˚ vertical by 18˚ horizontal, so to make full use of that, you need to be on a 75mm lens or tighter (Super35). You can still use it on wider lenses, it just starts to measure less of the recorded image. This meant constantly adjusting the sensor block - we blew a few takes relying on the Light Ranger. Its also really quite large, bulky, & clumsy to use (like everything Preston) so there were many situations where we had to run without it due to Steadicam or remote head, etc etc... The updated sensor unit that Preston just announced (LightRanger-2W) is a 45˚ horizontal FoV and about half the size, which seems way more useful! It's a tad unfortunate that you'll probably need to own both to get the best use out of the system, but I guess such is life. Personally, I think this is the future... LIDAR systems, or a similar multi-sensor distance-measurement array, displaying the information with an easy-to-understand user interface. Preston is really close but there is still tons of room for improvement - hopefully from an Austrian company (:
bart van otterdijk On 4/3/19, 1:49 PM I own both the CineRT and the cinetape systems. Both have saved me on numerous occasions. My favourite is of course the new CineRT. Been using it for a few weeks now and I must say: 'I'm in love..' Yes, the bugs are nice and work ok but it's really only useful for certain shots. On most shots they're useless. My favourite features of the CineRT are the -on the fly- adjustment of the angle (normal, Wide and Wide) and the ability to lock out certain distance readings during the shot. For example your subject closest distance is 1,5m but there's an actor in over shoulder up to 1,1m. Then I'll lock out all readings under 1,25m. Works great! Much more useful and compact then the cinetape or UDM. And yes, it works with cMotion. CMotion was very helpful in providing them with the data to make up a custom CBus cable for me :-) Fabio On 3/8/19, 10:19 AM I totally agree with Rozemarijn, as almost everything in our craft is a tool and you have to squeeze the best out of it without totally rely on it, otherwise if it fails (and it will, trust me) you will be in trouble. I didn’t use it that often, but nowadays it became pretty popular in Spain so it’s something like a standard item on the camera list of medium/big productions. i mainly use it in rehearsals and as a double check during the take. What I really like of it is using it to train my eye to guess distances on the fly (and learn to understand when is measuring well or not). Also for really slow push in or tracking shot I find it very useful. i sometimes use the auto focus function to grab the slate, but I prefer to get there myself with the knob, so in the meanwhile I have the time to check that every camera parameter (nds, battery, card, color temperature, iris etc.) is right where it should be.
Rozemarijn On 3/12/19, 11:08 AM Last year i got to work a few days with a new system, the Focus Bug. Its was very very new and on the A-cam, i was the C-cam. have you seen/heard of it? For me, it might be my next item to buy, but is still so very expensive for a tool.... you can 'bug' the slate or actors, track them with the autofocus knob...
Philippe Piron On 2/23/20, 5:07 PM I discovered the Panatape long time ago, back in the 80's and was really surprised about that tool... years after (when the patent became "public"), I have been the very first CineTape user in Europe, and since then I never shot without it. I still have my very first one, did buy and rent up to 15 units top colleagues and even rental houses for years, not believing in this tool, and then they became popular. But I remember years where we had to battle with production managers to rent such a tool, they were quite expensive to rent back then, and production mgr. could not understand why we had suddenly to get that ... did we all suddenly became unable to focus (as they thought ?) They simply tended to forget our prep time on set became really tight, sometimes not even existing anymore while Directors were screaming to shoot this F... rehearsal because it's only data, damned god !!!! and if we get it, we don't need to shoot once more ;-) Then we also started to shoot the "actors on set" ... another scream: "let's go guys, we 'll see what happens, how they move and what they do" ... and the FP will just have to handle it (not even thinking about lighting, booming, operating ... all of us had to be good and not even daring missing it" When film was there, we had (plenty of) time to mark, measure, and prep the shot. Film used to be saved as much as we could (immediate action after the slate, and not a single second wasted !). When HD Cam and then Digital media came in, there were no more concerns about "wasting media" because it's just tape or HDD writing... and so we got forced to start shooting not even being ready .... many will understand what I was quoting, some (the newest FP's) might not understand .... old timers have things to share !!!! I do also own the horn extension tubes which are a very valuable too; (they cost $ 300, that's not cheap but so handy). These are reducing the beam from 60° to 30° angle, which is great for hallways, foregrounds, over-the-shoulder, etc ... When the WCU-4 and the C-Evolution came to us, I did occasionally tried the auto focus tracking, it worked fine for some ... I mostly used it for the slate jumping into frame like a ghost at any distances (when your 2nd AC is not that good, or when someone else on set does it because the 2nd AC is busy) But I remember I used it - and it saved my life - on an "impossible shot": squash players, and a handheld operator ... and get the focus sharp my friend ... I struggled just ONE take, and then I triggered the "focus tracking" ... they got what they deserved, but manual focus couldn't even be slightly better because it was simply going to fast !... we are not robots ! On my last feature, I even used the FOCUS TRACKING on an entire shot (3 minutes long, where the move was so difficult for the operator: on a jib arm, with a fluid head, multiple LCD screens to keep an eye on the frame, and a track, and 3x jib up/down and track back/in/back... all this around a bed, in a very tiny room, quite an impossible shot designed by the director who had a "bad dream" ... so complicated so that is we would miss the shot just for focus it would have been a nightmare to all of us (and especially young actors at the end of their shoot day, so no way we could have extra time ...) I decided to "let it go" auto tracking and I was stunned by the result ... it worked out fine ! After 4 takes we got the shot, we just had to make 4 because it was so difficult for the operator ... I was good since take #2 BUT I was using horn extensions, limiting the beam angle. Without them I couldn't have done it. I have also seen a system in the USA so that you can tweak the angle (H + V) of your horns while shooting. This was part of the kit when you used the Panatape !!!! Back in the 80's... and I even saw one guy in Canada using a motor on this Panatape system so he was tweaking the horns remotely (using his zoom control) to move side/side ... At Vantage Film they even manufactured and rent (always in their CT Kit) longer extension tubes, so that your beam angle is reduced to 15° only.
Ryan On 2/4/20, 6:18 PM It can if you put the bug on them. You can also go into dual view and see the read out for the bug and the horns at the same time. Another option If you have a lot of foreground crosses you can lock those foreground distances out and as the object comes closer to camera click that lock out button off and bring them in the close.