Focusbug CINE RT Ultrasonic Rangefinder Tracking System – Focus Puller’s Best Friend

The Focusbug CINE RT is an ultrasonic rangefinder tracking system. It consists of a Base sensor, Handset control unit, High-bright LED display and ultrasonic Bug transmitter. All components communicate via 2.4 GHz low power RF bands with range up to 800’ (240m) line of sight. Thanks to its speed, the system can act as a reliable autofocus.

Focusbug CINE RT system. Image credit: cinema5D

Focusbug is a small company based in Canada. They developed an ultrasonic rangefinder tracking system called CINE RT. This system has been on the market for a while now, but Focusbug decided to expand to the Japanese market and they presented their system during Inter BEE 2019. Johnnie interviewed Laird Pierce from Focusbug during the show to know more about the CINE RT System.

Focusbug CINE RT System

The CINE RT System is a complete ultrasonic measuring ecosystem, designed and hand-built in Vancouver, Canada. It is comprised of four main components housed in CNC machined aluminum, Delrin and ABS with industry-standard connectors, spherical actuator buttons and low profile mounting hardware. When calibrated correctly, the system can function as a very reliable autofocus system – that can significantly help focus pullers nailing the focus in a complex and difficult shot.

Focusbug CINE RT system. Image credit: Focusbug

All components communicate on user-selectable 2.4 GHz low power RF bands for range of up to 800’ (240m) line of sight, while proprietary protocol settings allow several CINE RT systems to work in close proximity while avoiding crosstalk.

The first component is the low profile Ultrasonic base sensor which operates as both a rangefinder and receiver for tracking CINE RT Bug Transmitters while sending constant distance information to the Handset, High-Bright LED Display(s), Preston HU3 and Arri WCU-4 Handsets. The BASE mounts on the camera via several mounting options. It combines control systems, sensor array, RF systems and targeting laser in one compact unit.

The Handset control unit is a touchscreen hub to access live view display modes, operational tools, and user settings. It allows all adjustments to be made remotely without needing to be hands-on with the camera.  The Handset also doubles as a discrete tape measure allowing up to eight marks to be quickly collected, stored and edited without pulling a tape or sighting a laser.

The compact High-bright LED display relays distance data with 0.55″ (14mm) ultra-bright LED characters. Five levels of brightness provide visibility in all lighting conditions. They can be remotely chained to offer multiple readouts of the same source or to track two different targets simultaneously while in dual view.

The last component of the CINE RT system is the Ultrasonic bug transmitter. It is milled from rugged lightweight ABS, measures 1.6″ x 1.6″ x 0.4″ (4 x 4 x 1 cm) and weighs less than 0.7oz (20g). The “Bug” can be easily hidden and will transmit ultrasound through most fabrics with no RF emissions. They provide fast continuous distance information for focus pullers when placed on assistants, stand-ins or principal actors. The base sensor unit can track up to four Bug transmitters to distances of 120′ (36.5m) line of sight.

Price and Availability

The Focusbug CINE RT system is available now. The price for the “System package”, which includes the base sensor, hand unit, LED display, and one Bug transmitter, is around $8,800.

What do you think about the Focusbug CINE RT system? Do you use some kind of ultrasonic rangefinder tracking system? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.

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Richard Metzker

Great Job Laird !!! See you back in Vancouver

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