Preston 8-Channel Motor Driver


Preston Cinema Systems introduced a new 8-Channel Motor Driver at Cine Gear Expo 2011 to simplify the tangle of cables and boxes typical on 3D rigs. It’s called MDR3D (Motor Driver Receiver 3D).

When shooting stereo 3D on a rig with two cameras and two lenses, you wind up with lots of motors–typically: 2 zooms, 2 focus, 2 iris, interaxial (distance between lenses) and angle (camera convergence). Up to now, you would use up to 3 or 4 Preston Motor Driver Boxes (photos below).

Paradise FX Rig with 4 Preston Motor Drivers. Photo © Tim Calver, Watershot

Preston Hand Units on Dolphin Tale. Photo © Tim Calver, Watershot






Preston’s new 8-channel MDR3D combines things in a compact and efficient receiver/controller box to handle a stereo pair of lenses as well as the interaxial and convergence angle motors of a 3D rig. A new generation motor driver with lower power consumption provides cooler operation. Accuracy of stereo lens matching has also been greatly improved.

Preston MDR3D

  • A single radio channel is used for the rig and lens hand units.
  • The connector layout is logically and well labeled.
  • Lens tweak software allows up to 10 points to be entered for focus, iris, and zoom matching.
  • Time code input for lens metadata files.
  • USB port for storing lens metadata and installing software updates.
  • Analog input for accepting signals from broadcast style controls as well as Microforce zoom controls.
  • Two serial input connectors for camera control and accessories such as Cinematography Electronics Cine Tape Measure.
  • G4 wireless technology rejects interference.
  • Two digital displays and control switches for wireless channel selection.
  • Threaded holes for mounting.


  • Weight 580g (1lb 5 oz)
  • Housing Dimensions: 127 x 107 x 45(mm), 4.3 x 4.8 x 1.8 (inches)
  • Power: 12 – 28 VDC.
  • Max continuous motor current output: >1.5A per motor.
  • Three steps of torque limit for each motor channel.
  • Motor stall and overcurrent protection on all channels.

A typical, complete 3D system includes

  • 1 x MDR3D
  • 2 x HU3 hand units
  • 1 x Microforce zoom control
  • 6 x Digital Lens Motors (DM1X, DM2, DM4)
  • 2 x Rig motors (if not supplied by the rig manufacturer) for convergence and interaxial.
  • Set of cables, motor brackets, and accessories.

Preston Cinema Systems MDR3D Product Number: 4104

Team Preston: Dan Cho, Mirko Kovacevic, Howard Preston, Leticia Delatorre

Mirko Kovacevic of Preston Cinema Systems with MDR3D

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