Camera Assistant Tip: Remote Follow Focus Systems
In this excerpt from our Prepping Remote Follow Focus course, 1st AC Derek Edwards explains the value of working with handsets like the Arri WCU-4 in real-world scenarios.
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ARRI WCU-4 FEATURES:
The ARRI WCU-4 empowers the camera department and makes your job easier. One such scenario where the WCU-4 handset was essential was on the movie Into the Blue.
During the underwater cinematography, Derek obviously had to be able to change the frame rate, shutter, and settings. Without the handset, he would have to pull the camera out of the water and then out of the housing. By then, it would’ve been 30 minutes, and then he would still need to ensure the underwater housing still kept the water out.
According to Derek, the handset saved his life. If you go into the WCU-4 functions, you can see how it controls the brain on the camera.
When Derek taps the Camera button, it provides details about the camera.
ACCESS CAMERA SETTINGS:
- Tap Camera Button
- Press Camera Setup
In the Camera Setup, you will find settings like Frame Rate, Shutter Angle, Exposure Index, White Balance, and ND Filter.
Picking back up from the previous scenario, say the DP looked over at Derek and said, “Hey, go 48 frames!”
All Derek had to do was tap the Camera button, press Setup, navigate to Frame Rate, and hit Select. Then, he chose his desired frame rate, which in this case was 48 fps.
You changed your frame rate, now what do you do?
Change your shutter! So, back out to the menu, select Shutter, and Derek in this instance chooses a 90-degree shutter because he already knows what shutter his DP loves. Same thing goes if Derek needs to add some NDs.
In any scenario where you cannot easily access the camera, the handset will absolutely save you. Derek always includes the handset in his toolkit so he’s not running to the camera every 20 minutes to change settings.
By the time the DP starts talking on his comms and says to change the settings to 56 Kelvin, Derek can quickly do so with the handset. He’s not looking for the DIT or anyone else to figure it out. He has the brains of the camera in his hands and can work as efficiently as humanly possible.
There have been times Derek was on top of a mountain with a camera 80 feet in the air. In today’s world, there’s no time to bring the camera down to change the settings. Time is precious.
Remember what Derek always says, “If you never hear the camera department over walkie or out of anyone’s mouth, you’ve done a great job.”