Given the ubiquity of today's touch-based apps, it seems fairly logical a forward-thinking manufacturer would devise a way to augment -- but not automate -- the role of First Assistant Camera. Meet Cinema Control Labs' Andra Motion Focus system. Andra puts the heavy lifting and guesswork into the hands of today's technology without taking away the crucial dimension of creative camera control. Check our interview below for more details.
At this point, there are many wireless follow focus systems on the market, with some even in the reach of the no-budget filmmaker. Andra, however, carves out its own space entirely. By offering a very technical set of variables (and many of them, where you need them) for manipulation, it seeks not to unemploy the 1st AC, but empower them. As Sam points out in the video, there may be circumstances in which a camera assistant is essentially asked to do the impossible: maintain critical focus, at a wide open aperture, on a longer lens, perhaps on a large sensor camera, in the moment, and with little time to prep. Maybe even across multiple takes with little blocking to speak of. Probably with a cherry on top.
A good AC is by no means deficient under such conditions. They are, however, overly -- and maybe even unfairly -- taxed. What the Andra seeks to provide is not a fix-it-all for someone sleep-walking through the job, but something that aids the professional in especially tight conditions. Andra's price may very well be justified in circumstances which provide few, if any, second chances (and if any, at great cost). That type of creative aid, I think, is certainly not a harmful thing to the hardworking individuals keeping the story in focus.
Link: Andra Homepage
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