Operation of the CineRangeFinder has been designed to be as easy as possible to learn and fast when on set.
We have tried to make the software and this guide as simple as possible to understand but if you are having trouble with something then please fee free to get in touch or try our new FaceBook CineRangeFinder user’s group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/322317914965685/
Placement on camera rig
The CineRangeFinder AIO and Sonar unit should be placed on top of the lens with a clear Line of Sight of the talent.
Each unit has a standard 1/4-20 thread mount either on the bottom or rear of the unit. This is ideal for use with MagicArms and any other mounting options you can come up with. MagicArms are advise as the best mounting method as you can hold the CineRangeFinder with one hand and adjust the MagicArm with the other.
The CineRangeFinder uses sonar to locate how far away the talent is from the camera. This is why it is important to have clear Line of Sight between the unit and the talent. You should place the CineRangeFinder on top of any accessories such as a mattebox or ringlight.
Alignment will typically be straight on with the lens. Certain shots where the latent is far to one side of the frame (eg any shot from the hit TV show Mr Robot…) you might want to pan the range finder left or right to help the sonar. You probably wont need to adjust the datum offset doing this but keep in mind the more you pan the further away from the datum line you go. This wont really affect the Imperial readout but might add 1cm to the metric readout.
Reading the display
The display is made up of two sets of dual 7 segment LED displays.
The first two digits are Feet and Meters while the second two digits are Inches and Center Meters.
Accessing the Menu system
Each CineRangeFinder AIO, Pro and Remote come with 3 square buttons either on the top or on the front of the case.
These three buttons are UP, DOWN and MENU and are located as followed.
To access the menu, press the MENU button once. After pressing this button, you will be presented with our 5 step menu.
This menu lets you offset the range finder from the camera’s datum line, this is where the camera’s sensor is located and is where you focus marks on your lens are set.
The datum line of the AIO is on the front face of the unit.
After placing the CineRangeFinder onto the camera rig, use a measuring tape from the CineRangeFinder’s datum line to the camera’s datum line.
In our example, our RangeFinder is 5 inches in front of the camera’s datum line so we press the UP button until we read 05 on the second set of digits.
If your CineRangeFinder is behind the camera’s datum line, you can press the DOWN button until you get to your negative number. Negative is denoted by a decimal dot before the second set of digits like so,
What if you are working in Metric and not Imperial? Same method but use Centermeters instead of inches. You will be able to switch to Metric in Menu 02.
Do note that the minimum ranging distance is 8 inches or 22cm from the CineRangeFinder’s datum line.
This menu allows you to switch between Imperial (default) and Metric readout.
Option 01 is Imperial, pressing UP sets it to option 02 which is Metric.
This menu allows you to set the LED brightness. We have 4 options to choose from. 04 is the brightest and 01 is the dimmest.
We plan on adding 00 to turn the AIO and Pro unit’s displays off if you have a Remote unit available.
This menu allows you to set the wireless channel the CineRangeFinder AIO or Pro unit transmits on as well as the Remote’s receiver channel.
In total there are 10 channels to choose from. These channels range in the 2400 ~ 2525MHz spectrum, aka 2.4GHz
The default channel is 05.
Note, there is a software bug when switching to channel 10 where the “10” digits are displayed on the first set of digits not the 2nd set.
This is the final menu option and allows you to reset the CineRangeFinder to stock settings.
By default this is set to 00. If you press UP on this menu, then press MENU. You will reset the unit.
Pressing MENU when it is set to 00 will exit you out of the menu system.
Things to note in day to day operation
The CineRangeFinder uses sonar to measure how far away the talent is from the camera rig. Sonar uses sound waves to bounce off of the object in front of it to work out distance. With any device that creates sonar, an audible click can be heard. We have found that this typically wont be picked up by shotgun mics and lapel mics, but in certain scenarios this clicking might be picked up by sound gear. We advise working with the sound team to work out if their equipment will pick up the clicks, and if so how to work around them prior to filming.
Certain environments and wardrobe will also affect the sonar reading. While the sonar is top of the range, these certain variables can cause errors in the distance reading resulting in incorrect readouts on the display. Sets with flat walls and nothing to absorb the sound waves might cause reflection back into the sonar and heavy, furry and padded clothing might absorb too much sonar for there to be a bounce back into the range finder.
Weather may also cause errors due to heat and moisture. Sonar manufacture spec “-40°C to +65°C operation” maximum operating temperature range, “0°C to +40°C” recommended range. We have tested the CineRangeFinder between 0°C and +40°C with no problems detected.
As with any wireless device, there is radio noise within certain frequencies. We choose 2.4GHz as it has decent wall penetration, ability to bounce around rooms/down corridors and go threw floors of a building. Because 2.4GHz is a well used frequency for computers, laptops and mobile devices, there is a lot of noise on this part of the spectrum. We felt that the benefits of 2.4GHz outweighed that of 5GHz because of the reasons stated above. To improve the wireless reach of the CineRangeFinder we have upgraded the wireless transceivers to a much higher power of +20dBm amplification and a higher noise floor of -106dBm compared to the original spec we set out to manufacture. This overcomes the problems found with 2.4GHz radio transmission but there may still be issues using this frequency. If you are having problems with the wireless functions, please try the different channels from 01 to 10. Note that we use the licence free range from 2400MHz to 2525MHz for our transceivers. Please check your countries rules on wireless within these ranges as well as powered output levels.
We plan on upgrading the firmware to allow you to change the powered output of the transceiver to meet EIRP regulations in countries with lower than 20DBm power levels.
We include with each CineRangeFinder a +2.5DBm male antenna. This might set you over the EIRP limits of your country. We advice you buy a smaller antenna if it does so. Larger antennas can be used but we recommend using an SMA extension cable and mounting it not on the CineRangeFinder as the SMA connector on the CineRangeFinder is not designed for heavy loads that might get knocked.
We have tested the range of the transceivers in many environments from a 200 year old brick built home to an office block and even underground in a cave system. While we don’t specify a transmission range, we have had high success with long range transmission through these locations. Outside transmission, especially when LOS can be upwards of 1,000 meters or more.