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Any cheaper alternatives to the Cinematography Electronics Cine Tape Measure?


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#1 Adam Paul

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 12:18 PM

Is there anything that will do the job for cheaper?
How many of you use something like that?
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#2 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 06:58 PM

I bought a fatmax laser disto meter from OSH (orchard supply hardward) here in california. My meter works great, reliable up to 1/8th'' and it was $100.

I've seen and demo'ed the more expensive hilti versions ($450-350) and they do have many more options. To get you started, try the fatmax.

Great idea is to take 2'' white gaff, or paper tape and put it on the tripod as perpendicular to the film plane as possible and now you can walk out to the marks and point the laser back at the white tape. It's safer then aiming at the actors faces.
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#3 Adam Paul

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 07:07 PM

Thanks for the tip. But it isn't really the same basic function of the Cinematography Electronics Cine Tape Measure which gives you real time instant readouts of distances, so when the camera moves closer or away to the actor or the actor moves closer or away from the camera it gives you the distance. (http://www.cinematog...ex_gallery.html)
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#4 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 07:09 PM

sorry about that, I thought you were referring to something else.

I've know that tool to be a double edged sword, since the guys who can afford to be using one should be good enough to not need one anymore.
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#5 Adam Paul

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 07:15 PM

sorry about that, I thought you were referring to something else.

I've know that tool to be a double edged sword, since the guys who can afford to be using one should be good enough to not need one anymore.


Yeah I know. That's why I was wondering if there was anything considerably cheaper.
Maybe using your idea in reverse and mounting the fatmax laser disto meter on the film plane so one could get instant measures when the camera or actor moves. Although it would have to be mounted low enough not to hit actors faces. Maybe chest or stomach level. Could work :)

About being good enough for not needing the Cinematography Electronics Cine Tape Measure, I can still see situations where even the best of the ACs could gain from it like action and steadycam.
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#6 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 07:19 PM

I see what you are saying, but I personally think that it shows insecurity; depending on how you handle yourself it can make your job look very unimportant.

The thing with the Electronic tape measure is that it can be synced to the shutter, so when the shutter is closed the laser goes on. When the shutter is open, the laser is off. You get the same persistence of vision with film playback, and this scares most people when they "see" a laser on an actors body during a picture take.
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#7 Adam Paul

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 07:31 PM

I see what you are saying, but I personally think that it shows insecurity; depending on how you handle yourself it can make your job look very unimportant.

The thing with the Electronic tape measure is that it can be synced to the shutter, so when the shutter is closed the laser goes on. When the shutter is open, the laser is off. You get the same persistence of vision with film playback, and this scares most people when they "see" a laser on an actors body during a picture take.



Yes, a laser dot on a actor is a problem. It would have to be off frame. It would mostly work on medium to close ups.
Didn't know you could sync the Leica/Fatmax laser measurers with the shutter speed. How does that work? With any camera or?
It sure helps. But on a digital shot like with a RED I guess another solution would have to be worked if the laser dot cant be off frame.
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#8 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 07:35 PM

Adam:
The syncing of the laser is with the electronic tape measure that you posted, and the other professional variants; hence the high cost of rental. You can still find adapters for the RED and most other camera's.

The Hilti, and the Fatmax cannot be synced to a camera.

Remember that is the DOF is shallow enough, aiming the laser at anywhere else but the eyes won't help you. Practice will.
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#9 Adam Paul

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 07:41 PM

Yeah, sure. Practice beats all. But until then. ;)
I don't understand why the Cine Tape product would need to be synced. It's not laser but ultrasound and so invisible.

You're right. In a extreme shallow DOF nothing but the eyes would help. But in dolly shots etc, where T2.8 or even T4 are not unsual it would still help.

Edited by Adam Paul, 21 September 2008 - 07:41 PM.

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#10 Tony Coan

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 08:06 PM

panavision makes another version, called that panatape. Like other pana products im pretty sure you cannot buy it, however i feel like it seems to be used by quite a few ac's as a backup, not something to always judge your marks off of, as it can be tricked.
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#11 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 11:09 PM

It can definitely be tricked if it is using sound waves. I think I noticed on the website that the target area is about 1".
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#12 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 11:56 PM

Found this in a search, it's called SinoMeter:
http://www.amazon.co...e...962&sr=8-10

I'm not sure if it shows realtime measurements, or if there's a delay in its readout.
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#13 Mike Simpson

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 03:07 AM

Thats the best thing about ACing. The irony. As you get better you starting working bigger budget stuff, and get access to the tools that make the job easier.
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#14 Geraint Owen

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 03:28 PM

Hello, sorry but I'm new to all of this. I don't know much about were to get a cheap cine tape measure from, but you can buy a cheap lazer pointer which are handy for steadicam and especially handheld work. Mount the pointer at the film plane and angle it towards the actors mark on the floor or any other refrence point. Measure the distance, then adjust accordingly. Very handy for handheld work as you can keep a refrence of were the operater is Also putting a bit of tape in front of the mark 1' and then 2' behind can give you a good refrence. The lazer pointer is very handy for handheld work at night. Personally getting on well with the operater is better than any electronic tape measure, it may cost you a few beers or a packet of cigarretes but well worth it.
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#15 Adam Paul

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 03:45 PM

Found this in a search, it's called SinoMeter:
http://www.amazon.co...e...962&sr=8-10

I'm not sure if it shows realtime measurements, or if there's a delay in its readout.



Hi, thanks for this. I've been researching about this and other si9milar devices. Some of them don't read realtime and you have to press the button to update the display, while others if you hold the button down they will update realtime. This would imply supergluing the button down. So once you turn it on it's reading continuously. One advantage about some of these units is that they measure with the ultrasound waves and also have a receiver to help in longer measures. The receiver bounces the signal back to the unit to give it an accurate measure. Now this is great because the actor to be followed can carry the little receiver in his pocket so thing that cross in front of him won't affect the meaure, which happens quite often with the original Cinematography Electronics Cine Tape Measure. I heard even things like mic booms can throw it off. With a receiver in the actors pocket that shouldn't be a problem. I'm tempted to give this a try.
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#16 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 04:04 PM

Be careful gentlemen...I spoke with a follow spot operator about something similar; using Mac 2000's with a radio transmitter that the main actor/speaker put in their clothing, this way the light could automatically follow them...

This would eliminate the need for a human follow spot operator, and for rock an roll shows, there can be 4 or more (im sure up to 20) operators on a show.

We don't want technology to give producers the impression that our jobs are replaceable, do we?
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#17 Paul Bruening

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 04:47 PM

Does this already exist? What about taping a transmitter to the chest of the performers. Then put a bi-angular reader system on the camera (fold-out arms). If the actor's heads didn't bend out of the vertical line, precise focus could be pulled by a circuit board and servo motor. Shift focus moments could be preprogrammed and hit by the camera operator.

I guess I'm not making a lot of AC friends, at this point.
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#18 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 08:22 PM

My point exactly... We do not want to replace each other do we? There are many responsibilities of a 1st AC outside of focus, but come on! There needs to be some kind of human interaction with focus, otherwise you'd get prosumer auto focus.
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#19 Dan Diaconu M

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 11:08 PM

My point exactly... We do not want to replace each other do we?

Mine too. If we didn't need each other, we would be still naked eating roots/fruits/nuts harming each other. But since one doesn't know it all and can't do it all, we rely on each other's skills, aptitudes, etc (united we stand, devided we fall kinda thing) to survive. nuff.

There needs to be some kind of human interaction with focus, otherwise you'd get prosumer auto focus.

If that prosumer AF could also decide when and how foast to roll focus from CU to BG or follow the dialogue.....hehehe...
wouldn't that be lo-ver-ly..... :P
But meanwhile, one of this:
http://www.care2.com.../772214171.html
will show you focus like this:
http://www.care2.com.../878629211.html
All you have to do is decide when and from what to what to roll focus.
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#20 Adam Paul

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 08:35 PM

Well I get what you're saying Jamie. But the Cine Tape is hardly anything close to that. It's only there to take a bit of the guessing game out. But the decision and artistry is still up to the focus puller.
By the way, I just ordered one of these cheap measurers. I hope the super glue trick will work.
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