FAQ

Does this system work 100% of the time?

No tool works, or is appropriate, for every situation. The Andra Motion Focus system is a new tool that will expand your creative and practical horizons. The more you work with the system, the more you discover its capabilities. Focus pulling scenarios that were once difficult, without lengthy rehearsals and multiple takes, can now be done with ease. However, for those times when you want to pull focus the way you’ve always done, our Arc Elite remote hand unit is designed to give you all the familiar, and responsive, manual controls you’ve come to expect from a high end wireless system.

Does it work only with DSLRs or can it work on high-end video cameras such as a Sony F65?

Our system works perfectly with any camera as long as you are using a geared lens with hard stops and you are able to mount a follow focus motor such as a Heden M21.

Can I just plug it into my existing FIZ system.

Our system is also a full featured FIZ system and will replace your existing system.

Can it be used for all types of lenses?

Our system is currently only compatible with geared lenses that have hard stops and works with inexpensive lenses such as Rokinon through to high-end lenses such as Carl Zeiss and Cooke.

Can this system be used with a 1000mm lens?

Our system works well with long lenses, (e.g. 200mm) but isn’t convenient for very long lenses where subjects to be filmed are at great distances.

Can the system be used with macro lenses and close distances?

Yes. Macro lenses will be supported.

Can you get sharp focus in both bright and dark scenes? How does it perform in extreme lighting situations?

Our system works in all lighting conditions. In fact it is oblivious to lighting and can focus even if it is pitch black.

A lot of focus pulling is intuitive as the actors move – can you make a change in a split second / flick of a switch?

Full manual control is always at your fingertips, but our system tracks actors and fixed objects relative to a moving camera, so focus pulls and focus switching can be achieved by the tap of a button, slide of your thumb or by using the Arc Elite hand unit.

Can Andra be used to make the shot more organic, or does it feel automated?

Our system has many adjustable parameters and has been designed to give you full creative control over focus without having to worry about distances. The results can look as organic or robotic as you wish. Speed of pulls, composition and any other nuance of focus control is still achieved using the touchscreen interface or the Arc Elite hand unit.

How is the system powered and how much power does the Motor Controller draw.

Our system is an advanced low power device. It uses significantly less power than a camera, and can run off a d-tap power supply. There is no need to add extra batteries to your kit.

Does it replace a Cinetape / Preston combo?

Yes. Our system would do everything plus more.

What range does the system have?

The range of the system is scalable depending on the usage and should be thought of as area coverage rather than range. The Standard Package uses two ambits on a grid pole which gives a 24ft x 16ft area of coverage. This means that subjects can get up to 24 feet from the camera. However, it is possible to use fixed nodes at longer distances, where depth of field is more forgiving, allowing performers to move in and out of the capture range. Our simplest setup, using a camera-mounted ambit with the DSLR Starter package, is best used for wide lenses and close up work. This setup has a range of approximately 8 feet.

How fast can the system track?

Our system’s tracking speed is very fast, with a delay of well below 55ms. However the limitation in speed comes mostly from the speed of the motor. We have a highly optimized motor control board, with a proprietary power system to deliver incredible motor response. We’re pretty sure it can track and respond to random movements more rapidly than a human.

What is the difference between packs, ambits and sensors and how are each used?

The ambits, (black cubes) are what create the performance area.  They are to be mounted on a grid pole (2 ambits, one on each end of the grid pole), or a grid pole grid (up to 8 ambits for a performance area of 40′ x 24′ – 12.19m x 7.32m), above the performers.  The more ambits you have, the larger the area.  Each ambit gives you a capture sphere of approximately 16 feet.  These spheres can be overlapped to increase area.  One single ambit can be hidden on set very easily, so long as it is not placed near large metal objects. The packs and sensors are what go directly on the performer.  The sensor is usually placed on the back of the neck or near a shoulder for eye focus. They are wired into the packs, which then communicate wirelessly with the Bridge (motion capture unit).  Up to three sensors can be plugged in to any one pack.

What goes on my camera?

This depends on what you wish to achieve and what system you are using.  In most situations your camera will of course need the Core (motor control unit) attached, which drives the motor itself.  The Core communicates wirelessly with the Bridge (motion capture unit), which can be housed at video village, or, if preferred, hardwired and mounted directly to the camera.  In addition to this, if your camera is moving you will need to mount a pack and single sensor to the camera. Another configuration is to mount a single ambit directly to the camera.  This is usually placed just below and in front of the camera.  This is useful for hand held run and gun situations when following a performer with wide angle lens where the range does not typically exceed 8 feet.  In this case a pack and sensor do not need to be mounted to the camera.

If I have a grid pole with two ambits, can I move it or not?  There are conflicting reports online.

The short answer is yes, you can move the grid pole, but the confusion comes in understanding the difference between non-sensor nodes and sensor nodes. A non-sensor node is a point in space which is defined using a calibration sensor. Once created this fixed point no longer needs a sensor, and any number of non-sensor nodes can be created.  A sensor node is a node offset from a sensor (a performer’s eyes, for example) and can move freely.  If all of your nodes are sensor nodes, (usually a performer and a camera) then you can move the grid pole during the shot.   With this method you can follow performers around over areas much larger than the approximately 24ft X 16ft area of the grid pole setup. HOWEVER, if the grid pole is moved during a shot, non-sensor nodes cannot be used.