UPDATE Oct 8th 2013.
I have a full Recoil rig coming in by next week, and yes the Z-Drive and Tornado will be included. I’m also getting the Axis EVF system for my Zacuto EVF Pro, and the Rrip Relocator with a short rail to bring it lower, or closer to the same length as the Tornado. The rail mount grip Relocator I believe would be to close to the lens and could make the rig off balanced This should give the rig some really nice stability and I never have to take my hands of the the grips because they control pretty much everything during shooting. Full review coming in a few weeks after I put it through it’s paces. Looking forward to the Recoil rig concept. I think this style is a long time coming and when you add the Tornado and C100,C300 Grip Relocator you have a powerful handheld rig. At least I hope so. Check back for more on the review.
The big problem with a follow focus on a small camera like a DSLR or Canon Cinema EOS C100 and C300 is it gets super cluttered and tight when you add in a EVF. If the camera is in front of you then it gets unstable. Put the camera over your shoulder and you cant reach the lens.
This new Zacuto Z-Drive and Tornado combo solves both of these problems at the same time. Stability and space. The Z-Drive is a universal direct drive follow focus. It’s designed with the idea that the photog is pulling focus not another person. It has a universal joint and no internal gears so it can’t develop play. Add the Tornado and you now can put the camera directly over your shoulder with much better access to the follow focus and it adds a stability point as well since the Tornado doubles as a grip.
The Z-Drive curves away from the operator at a 60 degree angle creating space and distance from the lens for comfortable use when the camera is on your shoulder. And the idea here is to get the camera over your shoulder so you don’t have to add weights. Counter weights are a huge issue with rigs that no one likes.
Here is more info from Zacuto about the Z-Drive.
The Z-Drive The Zacuto Z-Drive is a unique, universal direct drive follow focus, designed with single operator shoulder mounted rigs in mind. Because it has a universal joint and no internal gears it can’t develop play. It attaches to a single 15mm diameter rod and curves away from the operator at a 60 degree angle creating space and distance from the lens for comfortable use when the camera is on your shoulder. This is the perfect follow focus for a Recoil kit set up (where the camera is directly over your shoulder) as it brings focus control further forward as well as down for comfortable operation. The Z-Drive can operate in four modes and is extremely adjustable for all size lenses. It can operate on the camera assistant or operators side of the rig positioned forward toward the lens or backward towards the tripod/dolly etc.. This makes for easy operation with a standard follow focus whip used on a tripod.
The Z-Drive slides onto a single 15mm diameter rod (on the left or right of your camera) and tightens in place next to your lens with a Zacuto quick-release ratcheting red lever. It comes with a fixed 1 ¾” diameter .8 pitch gear to connect to your lens. If your lenses are not pitched to .8 or are not pitched at all (most DSLR and basic video camera lenses are not) you can add our Zipgear Universal to your lens so the teeth match our gear correctly for smooth rotation. The ZipGears can be cut to fit the circumference of your lens and tightened with an Allen key. These ZipGear straps are pitched to .8 and are 13.5” long.
The Z-Drive has a slender marking disc to create distance marks for repeatable focus pulls and a standard whip port. We recommend using the Z-Drive with our Tornado grip when working handheld. The Tornado attaches to the Z-Drive whip port and works in tandem with the Z-Drive to create a unique mechanical follow focus handgrip perfect for single operator shoulder mounted work.
I like this idea a lot and hope to try it out soon.
The next piece to solving the balance issue and having a way to get to the follow focus is The Tornado.
With the 60 degree curved shape of the Z-Drive the Tornado not only acts as a grip for stability but also rotates the follow focus. It attaches to the follow focus via the whip port. The curve in the Z-Drive brings focusing forward so you can reach it comfortably and the Tornado attachment completes the setup. Very cool!
More info on the Tornado from Zacuto
The Tornado grip and Z-Drive combine to create a unique mechanical follow focus handgrip perfect for single operator shoulder mounted work. This is particularly useful in Zacuto Recoil style setups where the camera is directly over your shoulder.
Slide the Tornado grip into the Z-Drive whip port by pushing down on the round plunger and pushing the Tornado into the port. Once you release this plunger it will be securely attached. Grab the horn handle with your bottom three fingers, placing your forefinger and thumb on the scalloped focus wheel. Turn your whole hand to focus. For lenses with a large focus rotation, release your thumb and forefinger, ratchet your wrist back and grab the scalloped wheel once again for more range.
This unique Zacuto twist on the traditional follow focus and whip set up is perfectly engineered for use with a Recoil kit.
Check out the video to see how it works. It took two years for Zacuto to develop and release the Z-Drive and from the looks of it I think this is the most innovative product to date from Zacuto.
This combo looks really good combined with an over the shoulder rig. You wont need to use very much counter weight if at all. I would imagine if you wanted to try a small whip instead of the Tornado that would save you a few bucks but then you don’t get that extra grip for stability.
- Z-Drive $550.00
- Tornado $275.00
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