May 28, 2010

ET's Neutron star shines for 3D

Element Technica has launched a compact new 3D rig that would be ideal for Steadicam use or in confined spaces.

The Neutron 3D rig is designed for use with lightweight camera heads, such as the SI-2K Mini (pictured handheld above) or the Iconix and has already won almost 50 orders, worldwide. "Applications range from broadcast with hand held to Steadicam set ups for cinema," said Joey Romero, director of sales and marketing.

The unit measures about 30x21x17cm and should weigh about 6.8kg. Its interocular distance will range from about 0-9cm in beam-splitter mode (pictured right) and 9-18cm in side-by side. Prices start at $49,000, which includes the motors and Technica Hand Controller. Deliveries should start late June 2010.

Users will be able to assemble and align each rig in less than 30 minutes, and convert between side-by-side and beam-splitter mode (both over/thru and under/thru modes) in less than 10 minutes.

A pre-production model has been used for a Playboy production, pick up shots on The Mortician 3D (movie) and is currently flying on a Steadicam on an aircraft carrier for the US Navy.

Element Technica also developed a slightly smaller beam-splitter rig, Dark Country, limited to the SI-2K Mini, but that was not for sale. "It's only in use for those that have a Quasar, but need an interim solution for hand held," explained Romero.

Between the Neutron and the larger Quasar 3D rig will be a mid-size model (for such cameras as Sony's EX3), the Pulsar, which should start shipping in July.

The Neutron and the Pulsar share the same alignment module, but the motion module on the Pulsar will be widened by 2.5cm to allow for greater interocular distances with larger cameras

"The alignment module on the Neutron and Pulsar share the same familiar alignment process [as the Quasar]. A three stage gimbal that separates Z-height, pitch and roll. Each having no effect on the other as changes are made. The motion module will operate the same way as the Quasar does, but using a similar yet scaled down version. All systems will be fully motorized and all will use our THC," he said.

Other differences between the Neutron and Pulsar are the size of the dovetail (the Neutron uses ET's Micron standard - a scaled down version of the Arri standard -  whereas the Pulsar will use the Arri standard), the size of the bridge plate, the size of the mirror box (to accommodate larger cinema lenses) and additional structure plates for the Pulsar in order to accommodate heavier camera/lens packages.

Element Technica is also developing an underwater housing is for the Neutron (it already makes one for a single Red One camera).

It has now delivered some 60 of its Quasar models, with a further 18 rigs going to the World Cup.

By David Fox

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