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  1. #1 The Internal Focus Motor Thread 
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    For al those looking to use the internal motors of Canon, Nikon or other AF lenses on the Red Epic through the Red mounts or other. This thread is to gather info about using remote or wireless follow focus systems through the Redlink or Red SDK development or other, as it progresses. I thought we could gather a group of people who are interested in using this set up and let developers and manufactures know that there is a market and what and ideal solution looks like. I personally use and love canon EF lenses for many full scale productions and from what I saw at the Red booth this year, I believe that the internal motor has many benefits over traditional external motor systems. The Red THC controller and Redlink worked exceptionally well to control focus and iris with no extra motors, wires, and minimal power draw from the camera. I did see an acceptable amount of stepiness (in EF, I believe Nikons don't exhibit this) but my hope is as this system is accepted the major lens manufacturers will provide even smoother motors in lenses to come.

    I would get the THC hand controller but I need something that will work in a one man hand held situation. I have high hopes for the Red 2 axis controller and other systems such as optitek.

    For me the perfect solution would be

    - not much bigger than the focus knob itself.
    - rosette and 1/4 20 mounting options
    - motion mount ND control (this would be really cool!)
    - aperture control
    - small industry standard swappable battery mounts. sony, canon, AA
    - p-tap or lemo power
    - hard wire and RF remote
    - 360 degree mapping to any selectable scale of the lens




    What do you guys think? What is your ideal internal motor focus solution?
    Last edited by Philip Lanyon; 04-27-2014 at 09:38 AM.
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  2. #2  
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    I'm super interested in this
    JAKE WILGANOWSKI
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  3. #3  
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    Definitely interested. It is one of the main reasons I am excited about the redlink
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member Jacek Zakowicz's Avatar
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    Philip thank you for starting this thread. I will monitor it as we are evaluating the SDK to integrate OptiTron with the Red system.
    Jacek Zakowicz, Optitek-dot-org, jacek2@optitek.org
    Professional Broadcast and Digital Cinema Equipment
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  5. #5  
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    I would be very interested in something similar to the red 2axis, but I would love to be able to mount it close to the lens, preferably in the region where a normal FF wheel is located.
    I do a lot of one man shooting in remote locations and this would be the best tool ever. I often need to travel as light as possible so I also want it small and light if possible
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  6. #6  
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    Little technical note regarding FOCUS and the RCP protocol opened to 3rd party (which is different than what the THC controller uses).

    At the moment we do not access the lens micro steps directly but can only ask the camera to ask the lens to go to a specific focus distance.

    One of the main problems I ran into when developing lens control in my OS X app foolcontrol is that the minimal step is 1 cm. So for 'macro' or close focus operation there is no way to smooth anything between say 33 and 35 cm.

    So of course you will be able to control focus using motorized lens and get pretty accurate focus, but for now this will NOT replace a good cine lens with 300+ degree rotation and a good AC (using a manual or motor FF system) and I will for a few more years (or maybe months if things change quickly) still consider it as a toy... a nice and useful toy but still a toy.

    Once my OS X app is finished, my plan is to port parts of it to iOS and use some cheap bluetooth controller to control focus/iris.
    But "bluetooth"->"iOS"->"wifi"->"REDLINK bridge"->"camera brain"->"lens" again might not be as fast and as accurate as a "good eye" -> "hand" -> focus barrel (or a no lag external motor system)
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Jacek Zakowicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joachim Hoge View Post
    I would be very interested in something similar to the red 2axis, but I would love to be able to mount it close to the lens, preferably in the region where a normal FF wheel is located.
    I do a lot of one man shooting in remote locations and this would be the best tool ever. I often need to travel as light as possible so I also want it small and light if possible
    something like this Joachim?
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  8. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikael Lubtchansky View Post
    Little technical note regarding FOCUS and the RCP protocol opened to 3rd party (which is different than what the THC controller uses).

    At the moment we do not access the lens micro steps directly but can only ask the camera to ask the lens to go to a specific focus distance.

    On of the main problems I ran into when developing lens control in my OS X app foolcontrol is that the minimal step is 1 cm. So for 'macro' or close focus operation there is no way to smooth anything between say 33 and 35 cm.

    So of course you will be able to control focus using motorized lens and get pretty accurate focus, but for now this will NOT replace a good cine lens with 300+ degree rotation and a good AC (using a manual or motor FF system) and I will for a few more years (or maybe months if things change quickly) still consider it as a toy... a nice and useful toy but still a toy.

    Once my OS X app is finished, my plan is to port parts of it to iOS and use some cheap bluetooth controller to control focus/iris.
    But "bluetooth"->"iOS"->"wifi"->"REDLINK bridge"->"camera brain"->"lens" again might not be as fast and as accurate as a "good eye" -> "hand" -> focus barrel (or a no lag external motor system)
    Thanks Mikael, great info. So how is the THC controller different? I understand it uses RF so it would be a more robust and reliable signal. Is the protocol the THC uses also asking he camera to focus, and limited to 1cm steps? Does the THC access the micro steps directly? From what I saw at the booth It was mapped 360 degrees to the controller, and remarkably smooth, but I didn't get a chance to focus it closer than about 4'. Do you or anyone at Red know if the RF protocol of the THC is also open to third party development?

    The benefits of using a system like this are many

    -no wires
    -no skipping gears
    -hard stops
    -faster lens changes
    -way less power draw, equating to less weight and more shooting time
    -no silly clamp on gears
    -full metadata focus and iris recording
    -lightweight for handheld stabilizers and UAVs
    -affordability
    -faster lens changes
    -pre software image stabilization

    The only cons I see are the steps (obviously a huge con) and access to different types of glass for different looks. Say for instance you wanted a super speed look or a Cooke look, we are limited in selection right now. But there is no reason that we can't ask the even the best lens manufactures to create internal, smooth motors and a variety of glass. I may be thinking way ahead but as unique auto focus systems develop I believe there will be more pressure on larger cinema glass manufacturers to consider creating electronic lenses.

    As for right now if there is any way to get out of the "toy" realm with the current selection from Canon or Nikon or other. i think its worth pursuing,

    From what i have seen so far all the pieces of the puzzle are there, we just need someone to step up and knock this system out of the park. I believe it could change the way we do things. Then again, this idea has been around for many years, though Birger, Red mote pro, Optitek but I still struggle to find an ideal solution for the Epic. I look forward to the Optitron 2 and the 2 axis THC I just hope the current selection of lenses aren't truly crippled beyond normal cinema use. Time will tell.
    Last edited by Philip Lanyon; 04-19-2014 at 08:53 AM.
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  9. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacek Zakowicz View Post
    something like this Joachim?
    Looking good Jacek!
    Philip Lanyon, Cinematographer

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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Mikael Lubtchansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip Lanyon View Post
    Thanks Mikael, great info. So how is the THC controller different? I understand it uses RF so it would be a more robust and reliable signal. Is the protocol the THC uses also asking he camera to focus, and limited to 1cm steps? Does the THC access the micro steps directly? From what I saw at the booth It was mapped 360 degrees to the controller, and remarkably smooth, but I didn't get a chance to focus it closer than about 4'. Do you or anyone at Red know if the RF protocol of the THC is also open to third party development?
    Sorry Philip I do not have this info... I just know the THC doesn't use wifi but RF signal so it may also bypass the RCP protocol altogether to control the lens's micro steps directly.

    Monotorized lenses and electronic mounts clearly IS the future and I can hardly wait for an Angenieux electronic mount with motorized FIZ that we can control without any extra cable or motor... but we may need to wait just a little bit more for this.

    What RED was showing in the booth with 2/3 axis THC controlling a Canon 85mm 1.2 using REDLink was pretty amazing and clearly a glimpse of what's coming next in terms of modern FF systems.
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