The demands on today’s focus puller are ever-increasing. Extremely sharp, modern lenses, ultra-high resolution cameras and the expanding popularity of full-frame lensing and formats are challenging camera assistants everywhere. In addition, productions are increasingly shot with higher page counts per day, leading to less or no rehearsal, more shots with wide-open lens apertures and generally adding more stress to the focus puller.
Enter Preston Cinema Systems’ Light Ranger 2. It’s a device with LED sensors that tracks subjects’ distance; when coupled with a PCS HU3 handset and a MDR3 or MDR4 motor driver, it becomes a powerful tool for the focus puller. The tracking data is relayed to a video interface which overlays sixteen vertical white boxes of the sensor over a live camera signal. This enables the user to remain looking at a monitor instead of splitting their attention between hand unit marks and live-video.
In Manual mode, these bars move up and down indicating whether an object inside the white box is closer to or farther away from camera and how much the user needs to move the lens and at what speed. When an object is sharp, the box turns a reassuring green. In Basic mode, the individual bars give an individual distance read-out as if sixteen laser-tape measures were atop the camera. The most stunning feature of the Light Ranger 2 is Auto-Focus mode. With a button-tap on the HU3 the LR2 will display a user adjustable (size and position) red box representing the subject to be kept in focus. Pushing another button on the hand unit, the focus will ‘park’ on the object and stay focussed independent of any camera movement; very helpful when subjects wipe the frame.
The Light Ranger 2 is available to rent here at Rule Boston Camera. Contact Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com. Join us for an overview of the LR2 on Thursday, March 21st from 12n-1pm. No RSVP’s needed. Click here to view the event on our website and here to view the event on our Facebook page.
-Tim Coughlan, Senior Engineer