Now that the 2014 NAB show in Las Vegas is over it’s time to do some coverage!
Starting this month I'll be doing a spotlight on what was good at the show.
Like most production tools, there are a lot of options to choose from, and wireless follow focus units are no different. The trick is to find something that is high quality, light weight, and budget friendly. Ikan Corp (ikancorp.com) has no unveiled a system that will challenge the bigger manufacturers’ models, the PD Movie Remote Air.
This year at NAB Ikan unveiled new monitors, new tripods, and new lights (all of which I was really interested in); but it was their wireless follow focus that impressed me the most. The PD Movie Remote Air (PD-MRA) comes in different model sizes with different ranges, motor numbers, and the ability to program on different channels. And a feature that Ikan has that others don’t is an OLED readout of you focus and zoom information.
The Ikan PD-MRA has a super smooth pull that can reach up to 300ft away from the camera; should even reach through solid walls. Both the motors and the hand unit are super light, which means using the system on a shoulder rig isn’t an issue. The motors aren’t brushless, which usually means lots of noise, but the PD-MRA is surprisingly quiet (great for locations).
Setting the PD-MRA up is easy and quick because the whole unit is self calibrating. By setting the focus to infinity (or zoom to its max length) and attaching the motors the unit is able to calibrate itself. And once the unit is calibrated it sends an output readout to the handle that tells you exactly where the motors currently lay.
Because the motors are so light it means you can mount them easily without having to worry about your operator. A lot of other wireless motors have to be mounted to bottom rails because of the weight distribution, but the PD-MRA can be mounted to top rails (essentially freeing up valuable space for handles on the rig.
The best part about the PR Movie Remote Air is that it’s cheap. A two motor system runs $2600, and a single motor system is only $1600. You can find more information about the PD-MRA (and all of the great Ikan gear) on their site, ikancorp.com or by following them on twitter (@ikancorp).
Jeremy Widen is a film and video professional now living in San Francisco. The creation of digital media is his passion. Movies, TV, animation, and gear feed Jeremy's hunger to stay creative. He graduated from the Art Institute of California- San Francisco with a B.Sc. in Digital Filmmaking and Video Production. While there he received a top of the line education and a tremendous amount of hands on training which resulted in his feeling comfortable in any role on set. Widen moved to Chicago to further his education; and is a graduate of Columbia College’s MFA program for Creative Production.