This is a planet5D guest post from Bart Johnson – I met Bart at NAB at the Canon Press Dinner. And I want to thank Redrock Micro for creating a product that fits in the planet5D “astronomy” motif – the “Eclipse System”
Redrock Micro is well known for their camera cages, rig components, and their signature microRemote system for focus and camera control. This year at NAB 2016, Redrock unveiled their next generation of camera control products, the Eclipse System.
The new Eclipse System is a line of products that are modular and can be connected and configured together in order to control various camera and gimbal controls.
The system has controls for zoom, focus, iris, run/stop, gimbal control, automated focus measuring, and even a tilt control for a monitor. While the system can be utilized on any camera system on a tripod or other mount, it is definitely geared towards use on a three axis gimbal system like the DJI Ronin or Freely Movi.
The system will work perfectly on larger productions with a full crew, but it also created in order to enable a one-man operation. As an independent filmmaker, I often fall into this “one man band” category, and these new products have definitely caught my attention.
As I mentioned, the Eclipse System is an entirely new line consisting of various products that can interface with one another. Let’s take a look at what these new components are, and what they do.
First and foremost is the brand new Atlas motors ($1,095). Redrock has taken the functionality of the baseStation and Torque motor from their original microRemote system, and has combined the two into a single unit. The Atlas motors can be mounted onto your camera rig and used to control a zoom ring, focus ring, or iris ring either wirelessly or directly via a connected controller (we will get into the new controller in a minute). You can even mount three motors onto one camera system to control each of these functions on their own channel! The motors have a very sleek design with a beautiful LCD display on them. With two joysticks you can easily assign the motor to a function, calibrate it to the lens you are using, and get up and running in no time. There is even Wi-Fi built in, which will also allow you use a mobile app on your smartphone to control and configure the system. The motors can be daisy chained to share both signal and power, so no need to wire each individual motor to a power source. In fact, everything in the new Eclipse lineup can be daisy chained in this way!
The Atlas motors also have a high visibility LED on them that can indicate different system statuses by changing color, and can even turn red and act as a tally lamp when your camera is rolling (assuming you have the system handling the run/stop of your camera). There is even a small prism just above the motor’s gear that shines light onto your lens so that you can easily see the markings on your lens in darker environments. One final and interesting feature is that the motors have an S-Bus connector, meaning you can actually mount these motors onto an aerial platform and have complete lens control from your standard RC controller on the ground! Pretty cool stuff.
Onto the next new piece of the puzzle, the Halo Solo ($1,399). Last year at NAB 2015 Redrock introduced their Halo System. It is an accessory for their microRemote system that used lasers to actively track subjects in front of the lens and automatically maintain focus by using the microRemote system to adjust the lens focus. While this system is still coming, they have created a smaller version of it with the Halo Solo that is perfect for solo operators. The Halo Solo operates in a similar fashion to the original Halo, using a laser to detect subjects directly in front of the camera and relay the distance information to the Atlas motors so they can adjust focus accordingly.
The Halo Solo is easily mounted onto a gimbal rig, and allows the operator to focus on movement while the focus is taken care of automatically. There are even optional settings to adjust how quickly the focus shifts, how smoothly it transitions focus, and even an easy way to pause the system when focus tracking is not needed. There is an LP-E6 battery plate on the back of the Halo Solo, which will allow you to power not only this unit, but every other Eclipse device that may be daisy chained to it. There are plenty of powering options for this system, but the LP-E6 and power sharing means that you could setup a focus tracking rig with only the Halo Solo unit and an Atlas motor. Nothing else required!
The next new piece in the Eclipse lineup is called the Navigator Command Module ($595). This is a fingerwheel style controller that can be mounted to gimbal handgrips of various sizes and allows the operator to have a myriad of controls right at their, well, fingertips. There are two fingerwheels on the back, commonly used to control focus and iris. There are also three programmable preset buttons that will allow you to switch between which functions you would like to control. A joystick in the center can be used to control whatever channel you would like as well. Some of the functions you can control with the Navigator include focus, iris, zoom, run/stop, pause/start for Halo Solo, pause/start for Orbit, and it even features S-Bus connectivity so that you can control the pan/tilt/roll of your gimbal! All of these controls are right at the operator’s fingertips and allow a solo operator to control as much or as little of their system as they would like. Definitely a product I have my eye on.
Continuing their innovation when solving common problems of gimbal operation, Redrock has created their Orbit monitor positioning system ($1,899 with Navigator module). This is a monitor mount for use on your gimbal that has a unique “follow me” feature that automatically tilts your monitor in real time so that it is always facing you. When mounting a monitor on a gimbal, operators need to orient the monitor differently for low shots and high shots. This means that if an operator starts a shot low with the monitor tilted up, if they raise the gimbal to a high shot during a take, they can no longer see the monitor screen.
Orbit solves this problem and automatically tilts the monitor based on the height of the gimbal so that the monitor is always in view. You simply use the Navigator to position the monitor so it is facing you to start, and Orbit handles the rest. You can also, of course, turn off the automatic tilting and adjust the monitor position manually. Orbit is supposed to work with virtually all compact monitors, and seems to pair perfectly with a 5-inch monitor like the smallhd 502. The Orbit also can take an LP-E6 battery for power, meaning you can use just the Orbit and the Navigator if you are not looking for a complete focus control system.
So as you can see, Redrock Micro really held nothing back and brought an interesting new lineup of equipment to NAB 2016. All of these devices are made to work perfectly with one another, but can also be operated separately. The entire kit (cleverly named the Total Eclipse) is available for $4,995. But if you are only looking to purchase a few components of the system, they are also sold individually. Pre-orders are currently open, and they should begin shipping within the next two or three months. If you already have the Redrock Micro microRemote system, these components are completely compatible and can be integrated into your existing setup. Overall I would say that Redrock Micro has done a fantastic job designing this entire system and lineup of products, and I can see why they were awarded the Best of Show Award.
NAB 2016: Redrock Micro Eclipse System, Atlas Motors, Halo Solo, and Orbit Monitor Mount (4K)
Redrock Micro has released an entire new ecosystem of products called the Eclipse System. The system includes components such as the new Atlas motors, Halo Solo, Navigator finger controller, Orbit monitor mount, and even integration with aerial platforms.
Solo Camera Operators can now Do It All with Eclipse from Redrock Micro
Via Redrock Micro Press:
New automated focus tracking and rig optimizers give freedom and control so small crews and ‘jack of all trades' can work like big crews.
Dallas, TX and Hollywood, CA – Redrock Micro, the recognized leader in affordable professional cinema accessories, is now taking pre-orders for Eclipse. Eclipse is the new generation of equipment for small crews and solo operators to get the great shots that often requires larger crews and deeper expertise.
Achieving the shots of Big Crew Productions
“Whatever the crew size, everyone wants to create compelling stories and have high production values,” said James Hurd, Chief Revolutionist for Redrock Micro. “If you have limited people, things like keeping your subject focus or being able to frame accurately on tricky angles end up ruining shots or delaying production. The Eclipse product family solves these top camera operating challenges and more. The results is less focus on the gear and more on the shot.”
Unlocking the Small Crew Potential
The Eclipse products focus on solving common everyday issues for camera operators, and make shoots not only more productive but also more enjoyable:
- Hālo Solo – Automatically keep your subject in focus at all times while maintaining creative focus control
- Orbit monitor positioning system – Automatically positions your monitor to face you in real-time. Comfortably frame shots at any angle, especially when using gimbal stabilizers
- Atlas Motors – Precision control of focus, iris, and zoom with a system compact enough to keep on your camera all the time
- Navigator 7-in-1 Command Module – Control gimbal, camera, lens, and more from one hand without ever needing to set down your rig
The first ever drone-ready lens control motors
Eclipse products are also the first to fully incorporate s.bus for use in aerial cinematography. Operators can now make on-the-fly adjustments to camera and lens settings without landing the drone, with minimal added weight, and with the full range of their RC transmitter.
“Quadrocopter has been delivering aerial cinematography solutions for over 6 years,” said Karsten Carlson, COO for Quadrocopter LLC based in Montana. “We are really excited about Redrock’s new products. These simple, streamlined and light weight systems will make it easier to operate and get better footage, particularly adding camera and lens controls while in flight. We look forward to educating customers and offering integrated solutions that include Redrock.”
EclipseNet: The first complete view of your camera rig and accessories
All Eclipse products work on EclipseNet: a network of new technologies and communications that propel camera production into the future. Products connect and communicate to each other to share resources like power, show real-time status and alerts, and have configurable controls rather than hard-coded buttons. EclipseNet supports and translates between the most important protcols including WiFI, RF, Bluetooth, s.bus, PWM/PPM, and CAN.
Pricing and Availability
Pricing varies by product and configuration, and is designed to be affordable for personal ownership. Redrock Eclipse products are available for pre-order now from redrockmicro.com or from any of Redrock's worldwide authorized resellers, and are shipping summer 2016. Existing microRemote customers will receive priority shipping.
About Redrock Micro
Redrock Micro revolutionized independent film production in the early 2000s with the M2 cinema lens adapter, and reinvented digital filmmaking in 2008 with HDSLR cinema rigs and accessories. Today, Redrock Micro continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning digital cinema rigs and accessories, DSLR rigs, depth-of-field adapters, stabilization and support gear, sophisticated focus controllers, and advanced cinema accessories. More information is available at redrockmicro.com.
(cover photo credit: snap from source in post)