Hocus Announces Smart Roller for Steadicam, Freefly’s MōVI, More

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Wed, 05/20/2015 - 12:14 -- Nick Dager

Peter Hoare with the Hocus Smart RollerHocus Products has announced its new Axis1 thumb wheel focus control, the Smart Roller, for the MōVI, Steadicam, pan handles, moose bars and more. Shown recently at NAB 2015, it is now available for pre-order, shipping early July.

Hocus Products’ Peter Hoare says, “The new Smart Roller is a device aimed at the brushless gimbal market to allow single operator focus control through a compact finger roller mounted on the gimbal handle bar. The Roller plugs into the Axis1 receiver with a single ultraflex cable and will control camera run / stop in addition to other functions. It can also be used on Steadicam gimbals, tripod pan handles or shoulder mount handle bars and could be used to control zoom instead of focus.”

The Smart Roller features a high-resolution contactless magnetic encoder and micro controller to detect the roller rotation. The knob itself has no hard stops, which leaves many more options for control rather than a simple knob that is rolled with the finger. A haptic feedback (vibration) function adds a short sharp buzz to let the user know when the end of the lens range is reached.

There is also a button panel, which puts an array of roller and system settings at the operator's fingertips. All of these buttons can be operated without ever moving your hands off the rig. There is also an indicator light which mimics the status light on the Axis1 hand unit, to confirm camera run/stop status and other system statuses.  The roller includes a very versatile clamp, which can be used to position it in the optimum place for comfortable operation.

The Smart Roller has several buttons on the roller body, which are designed to be accessible and used by the same finger or thumb you use to operate the roller wheel. 

There’s a run button to start and stop the camera so you don't have to take your hands off the rig to start the camera recording before a take. The camera run is handled through the Axis1 receiver, so can run pretty much any camera, including Red Epic and Canon C300/500 cameras, as well as Sony F5/55 and Arri Alexa cameras. 

There are also buttons for Direction (of lens rotation), Speed (low gear/high gear) and Limit (to use a part of the lens range). 

Hoare added, “The Axis1 is the most advanced single channel remote focus system out there, at any price. Our motor control and drive electronics surpass all the competition.”
“Axis1 is designed specifically for the top movie production market where good design, reliability and ease of use are paramount. The system is built to be simple, straightforward, robust and easy to use– there are no silly features and nothing that you need to get the manual out for – rental companies and their customers love the simplicity.”

Although aimed at Hollywood and other higher end movie production markets it crosses also to Steadicam owner ops and Focus Pullers who want to own their own remote focus device, and increasingly now into the new brushless gimbal market.

“The new digital drive motor is the cornerstone of the Axis1. It is compatible with many other existing follow focus devices, supports auto end stops and auto torque calibration with our receiver so that there is always just sufficient power to rotate the lens without the risk of damage. The motor uses a unique drive train which leaves it with only two moving parts, resulting in almost silent, and very reliable operation”

The Axis1 has user updatable firmware via USB and is FCC certified for use in the USA.

Based in the UK, Hocus Products produces wireless remote focus solutions for all types of lenses, from DSLR, broadcast, right up to large 35mm prime and zoom lenses. Sales and service is handled directly or through dealers with service in North America being handled by its partner Hot Rod Cameras based in Hollywood, near Paramount Studios.

Hocus Products www.hocusproducts.com