Latin America. ARRI's latest SUP 2.0 dramatically shortens the response time of cforce engines to user commands, making them doubly fast.
All cforce mini and cforce plus engines on the market are capable of taking advantage of this software update, and the performance boost will not be affected by which manual unit is chosen. Any ARRI ECS configuration using the Hi-5, ZMU-4, SXU-1 or the legendary WCU-4 will benefit from halved latency and a marked improvement in the direct connection of the 1st AC to the lens axis.
The market response has already been positive. "Wow, how agile! It feels like it's a brand new engine," says Jim McLean, 1st AC UK.
The small, lightweight cforce mini engine was first introduced in 2014 and most productions have regarded it as the default engine, except when exceptional speed and torque were needed. Now, a cforce mini engine, invigorated by the new SUP 2.0 firmware, is able to cover even more situations with ease. When operated with a low-friction lens, the new motor firmware offers especially improved performance when paired with the 50t CLM-4 sprocket (K2.72108.0), offering speeds 25% faster than the default 40t sprocket, but with a small reduction in maximum torque.
The cforce plus engine, the lens motor of choice for high-torque applications, is now the fastest accelerating motor on the ARRI production line. In focus control situations where reaction times are critical, cforce plus will help ensure that desired brands are consistently reached.
The software update package 2.0 also provides an Encoder Mode for the cforce mini engine. This mode allows a lens axis controlled by a motor to be rotated manually, while allowing data from custom lens files to continue to be recorded and projected. Encoder mode allows the cinematographer to adjust the iris value directly on any lens without removing the motor. The position of the T-stop can then be projected onto the status information on all monitors and handheld units, and transmitted to virtual production systems. The encoder mode is limited to the motor of the cforce mini, since the cforce plus has a higher internal resistance due to the superior capabilities of its torque.
Encoder mode can also simplify virtual production workflows by offering an integrated solution for lens tracking. Focus and technicians in virtual production can use a set of cforce engines as both lens engines and encoders, simultaneously, instead of needing parallel systems. The number of cables connecting the cameras to the virtual production hardware is also minimized: encoder mode allows lens data to be transmitted directly from cameras such as the ALEXA 35 along with camera metadata and control parameters.
The SUP 2.0 package for cforce mini and cforce plus is now available as a free download from the ARRI website.