If you have spent any time operating a gimbal like the MoVI or DJI Ronin, then you’ll be familiar with the problem. If you position your monitor normally, then try to shoot from low to high (or vice versa), then it becomes very hard to see the monitor. You can adjust the monitor for either position, but not during a shot. Some operators add a second monitor to help, but even this is not an ideal solution as the viewing angles still aren’t perfect and it adds un-necessary bulk.
Redrock Micro hopes to solve all that with their new Orbit Monitor Positioning System (MPS). This is a motorised monitor mount with a thumb controller. Press a button on the controller and you can activate a ‘follow me’ mode that uses a sensor to automatically position the monitor in the right place for you to view it correctly. The sensor uses sonar and continuously measures the distance to the ground, with adjustable sensitivity and responsiveness. We first saw the Orbit at NAB earlier this year and you can see that report here.
You can also adjust the tilt of the monitor manually using the Thumb controller if you prefer. The system no longer requires the user to put the gimbal down to fine-tune the monitor angle, and gives you the ability to shoot with much greater confidence because you can see your framing properly at all times.
Shots which you might otherwise have avoided, where you raise the gimbal to your maximum arm height, should also be easier to get as a result of being able to see the screen. Orbit should also be handy for gimbal support vests (think Ready Rig) that extend your reach even higher.
Another neat feature is that the Orbit is not linked to a particular user. If you doing a hand-off shot from one user to another, the Orbit will continue to track with the new operator.
The system isn’t cheap, but for professional gimbal operators I can see that Orbit has obvious advantages. If it works as advertised then I can see it becoming a pretty standard piece of kit on bigger productions.
Redrock Micro are currently taking pre-orders, with expected delivery in the first quarter of 2017. A complete kit includes the Orbit, quick-release monitor plate system, new Satellite thumb controller (which also has camera run/stop), FollowMe sensor, and all cables for $1500 US.
For more details visit the Redrock Micro website.
Here are the specifications from the manufacturer:
Power: integrated Canon LP-E6 battery or external power 12-18v (with optional add-on cable)
Dimensions: 1.65″W x 4.2″5H x 2.1″D
Monitor compatibility specifications:
Monitor requires 1/4″-20 female tap on side
Max 7″ diagonal display size
Max 5″ height
Max 18oz weight
Tested and confirmed compatible monitors include:
SmallHD DP5 series
SmallHD DP7 Series (non-AC)