I think it’s fair to say Jack O’Gara is making the most of the final year of his degree. After buying and using a wireless follow focus unit, he gained some onset experience using rangefinders but realised he wouldn’t be able to afford one himself. Rather than sit around and mope about it, he decided to create his own version, and the CineRangeFinder was born.
The project is at a working prototype stage, and consists of a single box that sits on top of the camera that houses both a small sonar emitter and a distance readout. Apparently it’s most effective at close distances – between one and fifteen feet – a consequence of using sonar to gauge the distances. It mounts via a simple 1/4″ 20 thread and accepts power (1W!) via a Lemo connector.
Controls and expansion
Three buttons on top of the unit gives you to access a menu system that allows you to change the datum line offset, switch between imperial and metric readout, dim the displays, change wifi channels and factory reset the device.
A wireless companion is planned for a later date to allow you to mount a display away from the finder itself.
A well-advanced project
O’Gara has already developed the software that runs the unit and has circuitboards printed for the first run of prototypes: the R&D phase of the project has already been completed. The Indiegogo campaign will fund the production run of the CineRangeFinder and backers will receive a unit in return for their support.
Early Bird rewards are all sold out, but there’s still a month to go on the main campaign, with an estimated ship date of June this year. That sounds quite optimistic, and the crowdfunding scene is littered with projects that over promise and under-deliver. However £200 is a far cry from the thousands of dollars technology like this might ordinarily cost and the demonstration videos seem to show a working, viable product.
If a CineRangeFinder sounds like it might be useful to you, check out the project’s Indiegogo page here – it’s currently raised just over £4,000 of a ‘flexible’ £10,000 goal (this means the campaign will receive all the funds pledged even if they don’t make it all the way to their goal). There is always an element of risk when backing crowdfunded projects like this one, so do think carefully about how confident you are in the project (and how much you want to bet on its success!).
Having said that, the CineRangeFinder does look like an interesting project at a fantastic price point, and we wish O’Gara the best of luck with his campaign.