View Full Version : FF5 to test in Orange County
11-06-2007, 07:19 PM
Anyone with a Red + Red zoom, or any larger diameter cine glass, willing to meet up to test the FF5? I've also got a MB20, 2060, and a bunch of other toys, if there is anything specific you want to test out.
11-07-2007, 03:02 PM
What exactly do you want to test? The FF5 is not the best solution here, stick w/ FF4.
The FF5 is better suited for video lenses.
11-07-2007, 03:32 PM
Now that I read my post I see it wasn't all that clear. I have an FF5 which I would like to test with the Red package and the Red short zoom, as well as any other large diameter cine zooms & primes. I see, from your posts, that the arm may be too long for Ultra and Master primes. However, I'd like to test first hand as I've got the new, very large, Arri cine gear which is supposed to eliminate the clearance and gear ratio issues.
I understand the FF5 is not the optimum model for use with PL cine optics, it just happens to be something we already own, and was originally purchased for use on 2/3" HD gear.
This FF5 has gone out on jobs with a F900, Pro35, and Superspeeds. The first job was a nightmare as the large gear wasn't available at the time (wrong gear ratio, too many rotations). With the large gear it has worked reasonably well, with Superspeeds at least.
So, if anyone in the area wants to test out the FF5 & MB20 (model 1), possibly we will both benefit. I'm in Costa Mesa, but LA is no problem.
T. Glen Phelps
11-07-2007, 11:50 PM
I asked ARRI in Burbank about the limitations of using an FF-5HD with cine lenses. I was referred to Jim Elias at ARRI in Germany. Jim, I was told, was the designer of the FF-5. The following is the email correspondence between Jim and I:
I was referred to you by the ARRI office in Burbank, CA. I am trying
to understand the limitations of using the FF-5HD Follow Focus with cine
lenses. I have heard rumors that the FF-5HD may not work with some cine
lenses. I understand that it has a longer gear arm and a different
transmission ratio that the FF-4 but it seems to me that these could be
compensated for by using the appropriate gear. I need to know if the FF-5HD
is suitable for use with ARRI Ultra Primes, Master Primes and Cooke S-4/i
lenses. Also, if so, which gear should I use with these lenses to
approximate the performance (gear ratio) of the FF-4.
Dear Mr. Phelps,
There are two main issues when using the FF-5 with cine lenses:
Firstly, the main bridge housing of the FF-4 is relieved in the rear to
allow space for a film-camera mirror shutter housing. The FF-5 does not
have this relief. This was to allow internal space for the FF-5
lightweight-support snap-on mechanics; the FF-4 has snap-on studio rod
bridges, but has a standard slide-on interface where lightweight support
rods are concerned. As such, the FF-5 may need to sit farther forward than
the FF-4, which can be disadvantageous when working with short-body lenses
such as the Ultra Primes in conjunction with a matte box. So the FF-5 has a
more elegant mounting system, but the FF-4 is better adapted to tight
spacing on a 35mm film camera. If the camera in question has no mirror
shutter housing, the issue is of course irrelevant.
Regarding the longer arm and larger gear, we do make a 64-tooth driver
(order no. K2.65102.0) with which the FF-5 will be about as "fast" as the
FF-4 with its standard 35-tooth driver. The main problem that occurs here
is that the longer arm, especially in conjunction with the larger gear, is
often difficult or impossible to place under the lens -- which is where most
assistants want to place it so that they have free line-of-sight to the lens
markings. With the FF-5 and a large-barrel cine lens, the gear mesh often
has to be on the side of the lens, which then blocks line-of-sight to the
That said, I have heard relatively often concerning users who prefer the
FF-5 for cine lenses, probably due to the lower gearing allowing for more
precise small adjustments.
With best regards,
Thank You very much for the quick reply. I appreciate your thorough
response. I think you answered most of my questions and it sounds as
though the FF-5 will work fine for my intended use.
I also have a 43 tooth/.8 pitch driver gear which I understand will
work fine for small barrel lenses. From what you are telling me, it
sounds like I will aslo want the 64-tooth driver gear for use with
larger lenses. Is this correct?
I think you probably will. It all depends on the application. When I was
working as a focus puller, I did a lot of close-up dialogue and thus was
working a relatively short area of the scale. This meant that keeping the
gear ratio low was advantageous regardless of the physical lens size. But
for fast racks you may need the bigger gear even for smaller lenses.
I also did a quick fit test with my FF-5 on a RED with the 18-50CF Zoom and it worked fine. This was not a full up test by any means but there were no physical fit problems.
11-08-2007, 11:06 AM
These are the very problems I encountered.
1. The FF5 sat too far forward to use an Arri clip-on matte box. Could not attach a matte box.
2. The arm is long and hits the lens too high, which totally blocks the view of the lens...in some cases it wouldnt even reach the focus gear because of the angle.
3. placing gear under lens is impossible.
BTW- my lenses are Ultra Primes
11-10-2007, 05:30 PM
Glen, Digital FX,
Thanks for the information, extremely helpful. I'm working to create a list of lens which are not compatible, so when I request a package for a job I'll know when I can use my co's gear vs sub-renting bits.
On the FF5, with the 64 tooth gear mounted on the front side of the arm, which prevents the arm from swinging under the lens. Closest position to the MB20 bellows is 3/4 inch. Yes, it is unfortunate, arm to the side vs under the lens, blocks a view of the lens marks. See image 1.
Maximum gear position swung away from optical center is approx 2 & 3/4 inch. Or, 3 & 7/8" using the longer FF knob. See image 2.
Next phase for me is to order the 19mm adapter for the FF5, then do some tests to see what lens will work with the gear arm swung under. I eyeballed on the max arm position. See image 3.
11-10-2007, 05:36 PM
One more photo. Gear diameter comparison, smaller gear for FF4, big one FF5.