Saturday, May 22, 2010

The "secret weapons" for shooting the "House" season finale

It's well known by DSLR fans that the season finale of Fox's "House", which aired earlier this week in the U.S., was shot entirely with Canon 5DMkII DSLRs using Canon lenses. Canon's lenses are designed for still photography, not video, so it's incredibly difficult to pull focus with them without assistance. In a new article in Videography, Gale Tattersoll, the show's DP. revealed that they used Redrock Micro's new wireless microRemote follow focus (which uses an iPhone for its user interface) and microTape camera-mounted ultrasonic rangefinder to enable assistants to pull focus with the Canon lenses.

I haven't seen any published prices for the microRemote yet, but I have seen a proposed price of $500 for the microTape. Zeiss and Leica have both released prime lenses designed for DSLRs that have cinema-style barrel lengths, so that it's much easier to manually pull focus. However, the Zeiss lenses are much more expensive than the Canon equivalents; B&H sells each Zeiss CP.2 prime for $3,900 each, and the family of seven lenses, from 18mm to 85mm, sells for $27,300. The Leica lenses are even more expensive.

microRemote is likely to be a few thousand dollars, and will work with all the Canon lenses. You'll be able to get cinema-style functionality from virtually any Canon lens with a one-time investment in the microRemote and microTape, plus follow-focus gears for the individual lenses. Potential buyers need to see more reports of in-field experience with the microRemote and microTape (and Redrock Micro actually has to price and ship them,) but it's beginning to sound like they could literally save thousands of dollars for cinematographers by allowing them to use still lenses instead of cinema primes.
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