Preston Cinema is now shipping their new Light Ranger 2 and they are now working on some major productions. One big surprise is how great the range is. Initial specs put the far distance at around 40-60 feet. Actual practice is astoundingly several hundred feet. And the close distance is several millimeters in front of the lens.
Several updates were shown at Cine Gear.
Video display graphics are even more intuitive. Howard Preston said, “we’ve cleaned up the old school impediment of visual clutter.”
The graphic overlay can be customized to ignore objects outside one’s area of interest.
An integral black filter is now standard and reduces reflections that might annoy a sensitive actor.
Near and far focus distance limits are set using the HU3 focus knob in the usual way: turn the focus knob to the first limit, press the set button while turning the knob to the second limit. Release the set button and the adjacent LED turns on, reminding you that limits have been set.
In the LR2 Manual mode, the rectangles that overlay the picture in the monitor only appear over subjects within the focus distance limits. This eliminates clutter from background or foreground objects, and the focus puller can concentrate on the subjects of interest.
In the LR2 Autofocus mode, the lens will only focus on subjects within the focus limits set on the HU3.
In Autofocus mode, pressing the HU3 Enter button freezes the focus motor at its current position.
LR2 now supports 2x anamorphic for Alexa in 4:3 and Open Gate modes.
Preston Cinema Systems’ newly patented Light Ranger 2 (LR2) intuitively guides focus-pulling in the correct direction, near or far. You confirm this by viewing on almost any monitor, which gets a graphical overlay from the LR2. There are a number of modes: manual, autofocus, or basic distance measuring.
The Sensor Unit sits above the lens, but can be placed anywhere that’s convenient. A quick setting calibrates the offset. A beam of infrared light from the Light Ranger 2 bounces off the objects in the scene, and is captured by the detector array behind the unit’s lens. It’s safe infrared light. The camera cannot see it. There are no lasers, no ultrasonic signals, no transponders attached to actors.
Light Ranger 2 works with the Preston Wireless FIZ system HU3 hand unit and MDR3 motor driver. Plug the Serial port into your MDR3, power it up, aim, calibrate, and shoot.
You still control focus the way you always did. The Light Ranger 2 divides the video monitor into 16 zones, like a bar graph. Rectangles above the horizontal line show areas behind your established distance. Rectangles below are in front. This graphically shows which way to turn the knob of your wireless FIZ hand unit. Areas that are in focus are shown in green, and take the lens depth of field into account.
In Manual focus mode, distances are represented by 16 rectangles. The height of the rectangle above or below the center line tells you whether the subject is in front of, behind, or within the lens depth of field. Subjects within the DOF are identified with green rectangles, otherwise the rectangles are white.
In Autofocus mode, a red rectangle shows where the distance measurement is taking place. The width of the rectangle is controlled by the north-south axis ⋅ of the HU3 navigation key. The horizontal position of the rectangle is controlled by the √ east-west axis of the navigation key.
New MDR3 Updates
The MDR3 now provides lens metadata corresponding to focus, iris, and zoom lens calibrations. The lens metadata can be recorded onto a USB stick, or accessed through the Serial port of the MDR3. A Windows app converts the XML data to either imperial or metric units in CSV format. The free app will be available on the Preston Cinema Downloads webpage.