There was a lot of interest in this Andra Motion Focus system at NAB (and we posted a video or two) but in case you missed it, here's a good overview from Matt Allard via Newsshooter.com
Introducing the Andra Motion Controlled Follow Focus System: Making the Impossible Possible?
From Matt Allard:
It is not often that we see truly revolutionary products on Newsshooter. I don’t like the term “game changer” but it is the phrase that sprung to mind when I first saw the details of Andra. I think the system is destined to be an instant hit.
The Andra Motion Focus system from Cinema Control Laboratories is as brilliant as it is unique. We have seen lots of follow focus and motion control systems but none have the capabilities of Andra.
When I first saw the video footage showcasing Andra my first thought was how are they doing this? So to explain the Andra system in a lot more detail I talked to Sam Fisher, CIO of Cinema Control Laboratories.
Q. How does the Andra system work?
A: The system is essentially a hybridization of a motion capture system and a remote focus pulling system. Using a portable and easy to set up magnetic mo-cap system we’re able to very accurately track subjects and cameras in real time and use that data to drive a lens control motor. The mo-cap side of the system uses very small sensors which can be mounted to the performer beneath clothing, just like a lavalier microphone. The user can then decide where they want the focal point, relative to that sensor, and the system does the rest. We are able to get very impressive accuracy which, most importantly allows you to get really crisp eye focus. We don’t just target the general area of a person, we get the focus right where you want it.
There are two ways to interface with the system. The basic approach to use an iPad, which opens up a whole new world of creative options. Another option is to use the hand unit (The Arc) which is similar to hand units currently on the market except that it has a touch screen interface and offers an incredible range of new features, like the ability to simply sequence between desired focal points by simply hitting a button or turning the dial back and forth.
Q. What was the inspiration for developing the system?
A: Among other things I have been teaching film at NSCAD University in Canada for ten years now. After watching my students struggle with focus for many years I decided there had to be a better way to deal with this technical challenge. I spent about a year in working in the lab on a proof of concept, and began working very closely with a one time NASA programmer, Mike MacDonald. We were able to really prove that the technology was finally here to allow a system like this to work, but there’s a long road between proof of concept and final product. That’s when we got together with technology research and development company, Sunsel Systems, which is helmed by Julian Taylor and Jeff Levy, and after climbing a veritable mountain of technology, we’re finally ready to show the world what we’ve been working on.
Continue reading Matt Allard's Article on News Shooter: “Introducing the Andra Motion Controlled Follow Focus System: Making the Impossible Possible?”
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(cover photo credit: snap from News Shooter)