ARRI ZMU-4 Wired/Wireless Zoom Control

The full version of this article will be in Film and Digital Times April 2023 Issue 120 going online this Thursday, April 13, around 9:30 am EDT. Check the homepage, top left. The print edition will be distributed at NAB beginning Sunday April 16 and mailed as well. 

ARRI introduces their new ZMU-4 zoom controller. It works seamlessly in wired and wireless configurations. You will probably begin by attaching the ZMU-4 to a tripod handle and connect to the camera by cable. After marveling at the smooth moves and feathered end stops, you will hesitantly insert a radio module, disconnect the cable and see how it runs wirelessly. You may never go back. You’re a smooth operator, blissfully unencumbered by cables. 

This is the fourth incarnation of the ZMU. It is ergonomic, rugged and weather-resistant. Zoom motor control, camera start/stop and camera functions controls are combined in one device.

  • Slide in any ARRI ECS radio module to go wireless.
  • Set speed, feathering, start and end stops for the zoom move.
  • Status display can show lens data.
  • Provides wireless expansion for other devices, such as OCU-1.
  • Works seamlessly with ARRI Hi-5 hand unit.

Wired: the ZMU-4 can plug directly into the 4-pin LBUS connector of a cforce motor. Start/stop and camera control—even when not using a zoom lens—are achieved by connecting the ZMU-4’s 7-pin CAM port to the camera’s LBUS or Control port. 

Wireless: when you slide an RF-EMIP radio module into the ZMU-4, it easily joins a wireless network with multiple ARRI ECS devices, such as the Hi-5 and SXU-1. 

The ZMU-4 uses the same swappable radio modules—RF-EMIP, RF-2400 and upcoming RF-900 (long range)—as ARRI’s fifth-generation Hi-5 hand unit. These three optional modules offer untethered, unfettered choices of different frequencies for different territories and distances. The radio module slides into a recessed slot in the ZMU-4. You can go from wired to wireless quickly and easily.  

The ZMU-4 can do much of what ARRI’s RIA-1 (Radio Interface Adapter) can do, so you don’t need an extra box on a pre-ALEXA camera. It replaces the lens motor controller. In fact, the ZMU-4 allows almost any camera and lens from any manufacturer to work with the ARRI Hi-5 or WCU-4 hand units. 

The ZMU-4 can be paired with an ARRI OCU-1 (Operator Control Unit) or Master Grips. The combination of ZMU-4, OCU-1 and RA-8 Rosette Adapter could be used as a compact, handheld zoom and iris control unit for the camera assistant, DP or DIT.  

The ZMU-4 does not assume you are right-handed. You can operate with either hand. The display screen shows the exact focal length at any point in the zoom range, and the zoom speed. Three user buttons offer custom shortcuts. You can adjust the zoom speed buttons with your index finger. And, the ZMU-4 is backward-compatible with all existing ARRI ECS equipment.  

Use widely-available Sony NP-F550/570 batteries, although they may not run as long or display power levels as accurately as ARRI LBP-3500 batteries. Like the Hi-5, the ZMU-4 was designed to use ARRI LBP-3500 batteries for consistent power and a run-time of at least 15 hours with the RF-EMIP radio module. The ARRI batteries also allow the ZMU-4 to display remaining power as an accurate percentage.





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