Preston Cinema Systems has started shipping its new HU4, its next generation hand unit with integrated controls for operating its Light Ranger 2 focus assist systems.

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Preston Cinema Systems: The new Hand Unit 4 focus assist controller

It has also introduced two new Light Ranger 2 models: The LR2M, a low-profile successor to the original LR2, which covers mid-to-long focal length lenses with a 20° field of view; and the LR2W, a new wide-angle version of the LR2, covering a 50° field of view.

The Hand Unit 4 provides wireless hand control for focus, iris, and zoom channels, using 2.4GHz wireless communication with 60 channels. It includes a lens mapping feature that maps the focus distances of any lens to a set of five pre-printed marking rings and controls Light Ranger 2 plus camera functions remotely.

It has a 4.6-inch sunlight-readable touch panel display and handgrip-integrated controls for Light Ranger 2 operation. The lens library now stores up to 1024 lens records. The focus scale can be expanded or compressed by finger touch. Travel limits for focus, iris and zoom are set with the touch of a button and are displayed as brightly coloured bars overlaid on the lens scales. Non-linear iris scales are mapped to a linear scale. Focus knob drag is easily adjustable. Lens mapping translates the lens focus scale to any of five pre-printed focus rings making the focus throw for any lens the same. The integrated joystick can be selected to control either zoom or to track a subject for Light Ranger focus assist.

The Light Ranger 2-M focus assist overlays graphics onto a focus puller’s monitor and works with Preston’s Video Interface Unit to display distance and depth information for up to 16 horizontal measurement zones across the frame. It allows for seamless transition between manual and autofocus modes

The LR2M incorporates an infrared distance measuring system with 16 distinct measurement zones, allowing the focus puller to visualize the depth of an entire scene without looking away from the monitor.

Each of the 16 simultaneous distance measurements corresponds to a specific section of the image, and is represented with a green/white rectangle overlaid directly on top of the image at that location. The height of each bar corresponds to its distance in relation to the current knob setting of the HU4, giving immediate feedback to the focus puller. White rectangles above the horizontal line on the monitor indicate the subject is further away than the current knob setting of the HU4, while rectangles below that line indicate the subject is closer. When the subject is within the depth of field, the rectangle over that subject turns green. It is ideal for shots where the camera is moving, and works well in low light or where shallow depth-of-field makes critical focus a necessity. The Light Ranger 2-W is similar, but with a wider field of view.