Exploring ZEISS eXtended Data With CP.3 Lenses – Perfect for VFX

At IBC 2017 we caught up with Sundeep Reddy from ZEISS to discuss the now-ready eXtended Data feature of the new CP.3 XD lenses. So what is eXtended Data, anyway?

We first caught sight of the new CP.3 line of prime lenses at this year’s NAB show, more precisely at a special event hosted by ZEISS. Aside the freshly-developed CP.3 lenses, there was more to discover: namely a feature called eXtended Data which would be part of a twin-line of CP.3 lenses, called CP.3 XD. These are the same lenses but add a inconspicuous Lemo connector to the barrel – and that’s where the magic happens. Beside of its premium mark-up of around $1,400 per lens, this tiny connector is capable of putting a grin on your VXF artist’s face.

eXtended Data

ZEISS eXtended Data

The XD versions of the CP.3 line of ZEISS lenses can provide you (and your DIT) with the following: A calibrated internal encoder gathers shading and distortion data for that exact lens. The provided data flows through the Lemo output of the lens through a Master Lockit device by Ambient, and then further on to your DIT station via Wi-Fi. Pomfort’s Silverstack or Livegrade Pro are there, awaiting to process the data in real time.

The whole process is based on Cooke’s signature /i data system, but this time around with the famous ZEISS, eh.. look.

eXtended DataAs a result, you’ll get a so-called ZLCF, or ZEISS lens correction file, which is not limited to the already mentioned Pomfort products. DaVinci Resolve is also capable of processing these. The distortion and shading data can then be used to speed up your Post and VFX workflow. Stiching together shots will be far more easy when all the lenses used are already matched up perfectly, for example.

With this workflow, the DIT or AC no longer needs to write down each parameter of a given shot. Data about the lens being used, focus distance (and changes), lens height and so on… All of this is securely transferred and stored.

Prices and Availability

In order to get this whole system up and running you’ll need a MasterLockit Box by Ambient attached to your camera. That alone is $1,250. Each CP.3 XD lens is around $1,400 more than one of the regular CP.3, which go for around $4,400 depending on focal length. And don’t forget to bring your high-end DIT laptop with Pomfort’s Livegrade Pro running ($499 / year). Bottom line: this is not cheap.

eXtended Data

It’s a good thing that ZEISS decided to run two lines of CP.3 lenses, I think. That way, you can decide whether you need the extra functionality of eXtended data or not. Either way, these are high-end lenses and therefore are priced accordingly – so expect these to be more of a rental item, at least if you want to have a full kit.

Links: ZEISS CP.3 | Ambient Master Lockit | Pomfort