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Camera Compatibility

When people say that you can use “Any” camera on their rig, then we tend to get a little suspicious .. Really? VistaVision? Imax ? How about three Strip Technicolor? Can you Sync to a Super Eight camera? Or even a Go-Pro?

Yet we make this claim for our rig. There are two issues for compatibility. Physical size and Shutter sync.

The KT head is rated at 90KG so most Imax and Vistavision cameras should be fine. Most film cameras with a motor can be persuaded to give a shutter pulse of some sort for sync.

Many digital cameras have problems providing a sync pulse especially when shooting off speed. For some Hi-Def cameras it's possible to take the 1080p output and strip the sync signals out of it, however many cameras have a buffer between the chip and the output which does not have a constant delay, thus making a down-converted output useless as a sync source. Some cameras are capable of genlocking to an external source and this can be fed in tandem to the camera and moco rig. Some such as the Canon 5D will do none of the above .. after abortive tests attempting to Sync the camera via it's PAL output I realised that the only way to sync it would be by eye.

The universal Sync rig can sync any digital camera that has a real time output. It's simply a box with a “Clock” that is running against a Reference (in our case a Cinematography electronics PSC) when the “Clock” hits 12 oclock then a sync pulse is sent to the moco rig. By viewing the picture you have to “Phase” the Reference until the dots on the clock are in the same position. Of course many digital cameras have rolling shutters so it's vitally important that the clock is in the same place in the frame for each pass. The best way to do this is to add a little extra part onto the moco move. This way we can claim to sync ANY camera at ANY speed to the moco rig.

Unversal Sync Rig Animation

These cameras will work with Sync "Out of the Box" Some require only a cable others (Alexa,F35,C300,Red Epic) require a conversion box of some kind.

Arriflex Alexa

Arriflex D21

Arriflex 435, 535, 235, 416, Arricam, Arri III, SR I II and III, BL35

Aaton XTR, (In theory the Aaton 35 will also work but we would not advise it)

Movicam Compact

Red Epic, Dragon

Sony F35, F65

Canon C300

These Digital Stills cameras will work in single frame mode "Out of the box" This technolgy is changing very quickly and usually the new models in the "Family" will work fine. However if it's not listed here then a test is required.

Canon 5D (Mk I, II, III), 50D (With the three pin plug)

Nikon D2H, D2X, D3 (with the ten pin plug)

Panasonic Lumix G-Series

Most other cameras will work but would need some testing beforehand.

The only things that will properly defeat using a camera for motion control are any sort of “Automatic” settings on the camera that can't be turned off .. However some cameras are better than others for motion control, Silenced film cameras will sync perfectly but some have rubber shock mounted movements that mean the image may be slightly different from pass to pass.

So we genuinely think we can accommodate any camera .. from a 1909 Moy Camera to the latest “awesome” digital camera, However if you need shutter sync for the three strip technicolour camera it may take a little bit of work, If you let me know you want shutter sync at the same time as you try to source the film then I can't see a problem.

We can also accomodate certain 3D rigs and multicamera rigs.

© Justin Pentecost, 2014.