For the past few years, motion control has proven a little too expensive for independent filmmakers. However, it's recently started to feel within our reach, at least when it comes to rental purposes, and one of the leading manufacturers making the technology more accessible is Kessler, designing sliders and motion controllers at its facility in Plymouth, Indiana.
Kessler's Second Shooter line has become very popular with live event and doc filmmakers, providing an additional shooter (in this case, a robot) for when you don't have the budget for a second set of hands. It allows you to set your B-camera up to make a repeating move and get an extra establisher on an interview that will up your production value even if you're flying solo.
Not one to rest on its laurels, Kessler has upped the functionality of the Second Shooter line by releasing a digital jog wheel for controlling focus. Previously, you needed to first keyframe all of your focus, iris and zoom parameters, but by releasing their own jog wheel, Kessler has added live focus functionality to the system that doesn't require third-party tools.
"You can have a second shooter recording as you adjust focus on your interview subject who has dramatically leaned forward."
What does this mean? Well, you can have a second shooter recording as you adjust focus on your interview subject who has dramatically leaned forward—or if the dancing crowd at the wedding you're shooting makes a sudden rush towards the camera. The unit even comes with threaded holes at the top for mounting a monitor on so you can keep an eye on your shot and its focus.
For the higher end of the industry, Kessler is rolling out the new Autocam 360°, an automated tool for product shots. While product photography might not be glamorous, it's a growing area of the industry. We enjoy shooting images of our review units quite a bit here at No Film School and are even starting to roll out animated gifs of objects when it feels appropriate. We've found that using a hand slider and a turntable doesn't always provide the most repeatable results.
With Kessler's new Autocam 360° system, cinematographers booking product videos will have more control and repeatability when crafting dynamic, complicated shots that show off the product in the best light and make the job as easy as possible on the post-production team.
"By combining multiple shots that dynamically move around the product, full 3D images can be created that give online shoppers a full image of the product quickly and efficiently."
Especially appreciated is the integration of DMX control into the system, which allows the Autocam to dynamically change lighting in sync with the camera move. As onboard DMX becomes standard—and more and more lighting units even out at low price points—being able to control that dynamically in sync with the camera move is an exciting feature that should make product videos easier to create. By combining multiple shots that dynamically move around the product, full 3D images can be created that give online shoppers a full image of the product quickly and efficiently.
Kessler Digital Jog Wheel
- Works with Second Shooter Plus or CineDrive
- Wifi FIZ motor control
- AC Power Supply
- Micro USB for firmware updates
- 41" of vertical travel, 34" front/back travel,
- Arcing camera moves over entirety of rotating object plate
- 213° of tilt range
- Live view camera tethering for control and viewing
- Precision to 4 hundredths of a degree of rotation or ½ thousandths of an inch linear motion