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Old December 21st, 2009, 01:32 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: arlington, texas
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Redrock mattebox, follow focus v2, and micro arm review

I got my Christmas present early this year! I'm going to copy and paste what I wrote on vimeo, but you can also watch the video on vimeo here:

Christmas came early this year! I ordered the micromattebox Deluxe bundle, microfollowfocus 19mm bundle, and the long microarm. Unlike what other have said, I ordered on December 17th and had the package on December 19th! No lead time or anything!

Heck no I don't read instructions! It was just like opening presents on christmas day when I was 6 years old. I get so excited that I just toss those instructions to the side until later when I know I haven't done something right.

Follow Focus v2 compared to v1: v2 has improved 10x IMO! In v1 the adjuster arm can be susceptible to bending if dropped or smashed. v2 has a newly designed arm that seems bullet proof! There is no way it could bend, it's designed very well. The old rod clamp on v1 was built well but not as functional as the new one. The quick release rod clamp is worth the cost of the follow focus alone! Being able to pop off the follow focus and put it back on without sliding any other piece off (matte box) makes it a very convenient option. It's spring loaded too! The marking disc is very nice and "3D". It can be taken off easily, but it also "locks" or "snaps" into place keeping it from coming off easily. The marking indicator is still the same as v1 and a little thin and you cannot rotate it. The gearbox is one sided, but the play is minimal if any. It's rare that I ever need to actually move the drive gear to the opposite side... I find myself actually swapping the follow focus to the other side of the rails more so than that because of tight spaces. Not really a negative for me. The adjusting knob on the bottom of the follow focus is very grippable and allows for super easy arm adjustments depending on what size lens you are using unlike some other follow focuses. I already had the redrock lens gears which work very well and really easy to adjust and mount too. The thumb screws make them a cinch to mount or adjust.

microFollowFocus 19mm adapter clamp: This has the exact same quick release design as the 15mm version which comes standard with the redrock follow focus. A lot of talk on the forums say that the follow focus will not work with the RPP's because it sits to high... well the good news is you can actually take the 15mm rod clamp off of the follow focus and the 19mm to 15mm adapter on top of the 19mm rod clamp... then you can take the upper part of the follow focus and the 19mm rod clamp and reassemble it to be the same height as the standard microFollowFocus! Pretty sweet! I will make a video showcasing this feature later since I think Red One user should know!

For the price, design, and build of the v2 microfollow focus I think it's worth every penny. The only weaknesses I see are the one sided gear box and the marking indicator, but for the price and all of the other features this thing has, they definitely out weigh the cons.

microMatteBox Deluxe: Right out of the plastic I could tell this thing was built well. Metal filter stages and flags... the box itself is plastic which is pretty standard with Arri matte boxes as well. All of the hardware is metal. The tightening knobs on the swing away arm are great! They are pretty thick plastic and don't seem like they could break off easily at all. The smaller blue thumb screw tighteners where the flags attach are some what small, but still usable. There is a 16:9 matte that pops in and out. The matte is made of plastic like other mattes. The filter stages can be rotated 360 degrees and locked down at any point. The filter stages can also be raised or lowered depending on what you need. When rotating, the stages "click" into place every 90 degrees of rotation. It's a good idea for matte boxes with filter stages that can go up and down to always keep your hand below the filter stages so they don't fall through. The side flags are made of metal and very nice, however the way the side flags mount I would recommend using some pliers to tighten the thumb screws down to prevent the flags from slipping. The top flag is all metal and very nice and shouldn't fall off just by hand tightening the thumb screws. The matte box is also set up to be able to add a bottom flag too or move your top flag to the bottom! The lens donuts are made of neoprene and should last quite a while. I have had a wetsuit for over 15 years and it gets used every year and it's still in decent shape, so that should say something about neoprene. You get 4 different size donuts for different diameter lenses. Usually on high end matte boxes you are using high end lenses which have been geared and have the same diameter fronts on every lens... the donuts help those on a budget to make it light tight for different diameter lenses. I do recommend buying screw on lens shades with the same diameter for each lens you own so you don't have to swap donuts out so your process will be more efficient. The swing away is metal and does exactly what it's supposed to do... swing away the matte box for easy lens changing. You can also adjust the matte box up and down for differences in cameras and lenses.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the price, quality, and features the microMatteBox has to offer compared to an Arri MB20. I expected to get a lot LESS matte box for what I paid, but it turned out the opposite! Obviously the Arri matte box is in a different league (about $3k more and you don't get flags) and has been around forever, but don't let that scare you in purchasing/renting the redrock matte box.

The micro arm: It's a great addition to the rig, especially if you are going to be mounting a monitor or an external recording device. You can lock it down and it has a thumb screw on the end you plan on mounting something to. It works, I don't think this needs much explanation.

Packaging: The packaging all of the units were shipped in were above and beyond what I would have expected. As you can tell in the video, they make sure your stuff is taken care of and won't get damaged if it's dropped by UPS or FedEx!

Overall I think for the price, feature set, robustness of the redrock equipment I have had over the years (including the M2 from year one, cheese plate, microhandle, follow focus v1, whips, etc...) I don't regret the purchase one bit. I moved from using video cameras to the 5D Mark II and I can still use all of my old redrock stuff (except the M2 obviously)! That says a lot about how modular the redrock gear is. There are other companies out there that provide similar modular systems, but the price of the redrock keeps me coming back for more. Redrock could very well charge much much more than they do, but thank you for not :)
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Old December 21st, 2009, 01:41 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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I hope I put this in the right section...
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