By technical editor Matt Allard:
At NAB in Las Vegas Peter Hoare from Hocus Products talked to Rodney Charters ASC about a new remote focus controller designed specifically with gimbal and Steadicam operation in mind.
The new Hocus Products Smart Roller allows single operator focus control through a compact finger roller mounted on the gimbal handle bar. The Smart Roller is designed to work with the existing Axis1 remote follow focus system.
The Smart Roller plugs into the Axis1 receiver with one single ultraflex cable and can control camera run stop. The roller can also be used on Steadicam gimbals, tripod pan handles or shoulder mount handle bars and could be used to control zoom instead of focus if necessary.
The Smart Roller also includes a versatile clamp which can be used to position the roller on your rig in multiple locations. The clamp uses a rubber belt so it can be secured to not only bars but any shape without the need for tools.
This roller features a very high resolution contactless magnetic encoder and micro controller to detect the roller rotation, meaning the knob itself has no hard stops. Interestingly Hocus Products have also added a haptic feedback (vibration) function to the roller which gives a short sharp buzz to let the user know when they have reached the end of the lens.
The Smart Roller has a button panel which puts an array of roller and system settings at the operator’s finger tips. All of these buttons can be operated without ever moving your hands off the rig. You can control both the speed and the direction of the focus operation. There is also an indicator light which mimics the status light on the Axis1 hand unit, to confirm camera run/stop status and other system statuses.
The Smart Roller is available for pre-order for £499.00 and will start shipping in July. The Axis1 system retails for £3,650.00. For more information head over to the Hocus Products website.