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Old April 17th, 2006, 11:45 AM   #1
2nd Unit TV
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 509
"2nd Unit" Controllers and Heads

I had a large number of people wondering what controllers we ended up selecting for "2nd Unit" for the HD100s and in fact I got another request from Vision Quest this morning so I'll answer his question and then post this to the DVInfo board as well.

After looking at all of the available modules both more and less expensive than the ones we selected, we chose the Fujinon manual focus rear hand controller CFH3 with the focus lens-mount module FMM8 and flex cable CFC990 because their tolerances were better than the others. Focus is not an area for slop so close tolerances are critical here. We selected, however, the Varizoom Lens Controller, VZPROF, because it was a good controller with start/stop record cababilities and varigated speed control on handle the. nSelections worked well on the set in Tunica as you'll soon see at 2nd Unit as soon as we have tiome to start posting the results there. 2nd Unit is about affordable production and these two selections provedto be both affordable and rock solid performance wise.

The one area that really fell apart, though, was in head selection. We had myriad heads on set with a 6-camera shoot and with rear controllers, the fluidity really comes into play. Some shooters like to have micro control so they wrap one hand, usually the right, under the base of the camera at the head junction where the side of the palm and the little finger come into contact with the head and the rest of the hand grabs the camera in essence joining the two. Then they place the other hand, left this time, over the top of the camera body and lens with the index and middle finger controling the zoom. In this way, small, medium and large muscle control guides the camera and lens easilly and setadilly with a minimum of start and stop jerks. This personal preference is fine for tracking sports if you like this sort of shooting but for the vast majority of our shooters, rear controls on the head handles is the way to go but the start/stop jerks are extremely noticable without benefit of a good...no great head. In this area, the Bogens simply didn't work except with the hands around the camera technique. For set ups using rear controls, the Cartoni and Vinton Vision or better are really a must because the rear sets with the lever action really magnifies the start/stop motions. And it's noticable in the footage shot for 2nd Unit. We'll be commenting on this is the upcoming episodes of 2nd Unit when we start posting the video to the site at www.DVx-2ndUnit.com.
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