Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Cine Tape Measure System

30th October 2006

Is there somebody who has experience working with the cine tape. Is it sufficient accurate? I've heard that ultra sonic measuring is a problem with the angle of measurement. A laser is a dot and you see what you're measuring. But ultrasonic?

What if the subject is moving sideways into the frame? Or other actor or object is coming into the frame?


Jan Vervaecke
Focus Puller / Belgium

Mine is extremely accurate...but you have to learn to use it... by just having it mounted all of the time...and comparing it's read out to what's happening...while doing your usual method of taping, etc.

If the person is sideways to it reading his shoulder? If you tip it will read the head and not the shoulder, etc.

You can set it to ignore close up objects, French flags, etc... but it only works out to about 3 feet. Flags, microphones can be a problem.

The additional (very expensive) remote add-on allows you to accurately limit fore and background range, i.e. you can make it work for instance from 4 to 8 feet.

It only works out to about 28 or so feet (switchable to meters of course) not a life saviour for really long lens applications. Panavision makes a long distance "version" with an on-board monitor indicator of where it's aimed at. You see the read out and the lens focus scale and basically just keep the numbers lined up...if I recall correctly.

The CineTape is great for dolly moves...longish lens shots of heads moving around rooms. I got mine because we were living on Slide 'n Glides, and we were ALWAYS moving...or else we would be on a jib arm, etc.

Mako, Makofoto, EverSharp Through Technology, Glendale, CA

Note that the ARRICAM and the 435 Xtreme can read the distance measurement info from the Cine Tape Measure and

1/. display it on a Lens Data Display or video assist image, and/or

2/. use it to pull focus.

This second option is called "focus tracking", and it is only activated as long as you push the focus tracking button on the WHA-3 (wired) or on the LDD-FP (wireless).


Marc Shipman-Mueller, ARRI Product Manager Film Cameras & Lenses
Telephone: +49 30 811 952 23, FAX: +49 30 811 952 25

>>Mine is extremely accurate ... but you have to learn to use it ... by just >>having it mounted all of the time ... and comparing it's read out to >>what's happening ... while doing your usual method of taping, etc.

Same experience here. I got mine for XXX-mass, but have used it every working day since. It is a great help!

But what really drives me mad is that again, it seems to work against u too.

I prefer pulling focus without too much of a Fuzz about it. When I’m ready, we shoot. Often when I'm not ready too, but when it's good it's good; so no need for focus rehearsals and pinning down actors, limiting their play when it's not particularly necessary.

But as I mentioned, that cuts on two sides; when you rely too much on it you'll see that just before shooting, or worse even, between takes someone will put a little flag, scrim or microphone in the path of your cinetape; ruining your whole plan of attack for that particular shot.

Stupid remarks like : hey, now we don't have to rehearse any more & anyone can pull focus like that are common. But then on the other hand they don't wanna pay for it... How does that work?

Same thing I noticed with the disto as opposed to the tape measure. I sometimes pull my tape measure across the set just to make a point. I was ready ages ago; but people should be aware that pulling focus is a tricky business sometimes; I always try to measure during setups, sometimes rehearsals too, with the laser, the steel tape (fatmax) and now CineTape;

After a while people do get used to this way of working and really, actors love it. Much more free play for them. also we can attack much more challenging shots... Shooting the rehearsal is common practice now. It does keep u sharp, who wants to pull from one mark to another on command any way?

How do u fellow CineTape owners/users do that?

Any thoughts on mounting positions. With all the accessories mounted on some cameras it becomes hard to find a good spot for the CineTape between all the cables, LCD monitors, led panels and noga arms.

Specially quickly recalibrating on the go when u just put it in another position is tricky I find; I've been thinking of a sliding rail on top of my mb19, but then again there's a led panel sometimes and the position to the film plane changes too often I guess.


Bart Van Otterdijk
Focus puller

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