ARRI’s OCU-1 (Wireless FIZ)

Our New Gear section looks at ARRI’s OCU-1 for wireless FIZ controlby Tom Waugh

The ARRI OCi-1 for wireless FIZ control - PHOTO Sean Dooley
The ARRI OCU-1 for wireless FIZ control – PHOTO Sean Dooley

Wireless FIZ (Focus, Iris, Zoom) control is in use on the majority of sets now.

With the proliferation of gimbals, smaller cameras and latency free wireless HD video systems, this is the standard way of working. By going all wireless, it doesn’t matter whether the cinematographer or director want handheld, tripod, crane, car mount, gimbal… it doesn’t require a rebuild of the FIZ system, or running of cables.

Another benefit can be shooting in small rooms, or sensitive scenes, with one less person around the camera.

A unique problem of wireless FIZ is if the first assistant camera was busy while the operator was lining up a shot. The operator would have to disengage the FIZ motor from the lens gear to get manual control, requiring a motor recalibration afterwards. This is where ARRI’s OCU-1 comes in.

Based around the design of the Master Grips, the OCU-1 was released in Australia in December of last year and works with their cforce range of motors and accessories.

It’s a compact and solid build with smooth wheel, touch OLED screen, three user buttons, two LBUS in/out ports and swappable mounting points, made to survive use in rental houses and on long form productions.

In terms of use, I really enjoy how quick the override and release function is. Click one button to select focus, iris or zoom and then one click of another button to take control.

You can also assign a button to camera user; such as cycle NDs on Alexa Mini/AMIRA or run/stop on Red DSMC2. Then it’s only one click on the OCU-1 to release the channel back to the first assistant camera with the WCU-4. While the channel is controlled by the OCU-1, the WCU-4 can still alter other FIZ channels.

Another interesting use for the OCU-1 is single operators with Alexa Mini or Amira and Canon EF lenses. It can be plugged into the EXT port and used as a smooth focus and iris control, without the need for external motors.

Other systems may have additional thumbwheels or grips but none bring the same easy approach to solve the problem of how to override the remote FIZ control on set.

The OCU-1 is available through ARRI Australia.

Tom Waugh works for Ignite Digi and is Chairman of the ACS Technical Committee.

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