ARRI’s most recent SUP (Software Upgrade Package) 2.0 dramatically improves the time it takes for cforce motors to respond to user inputs, making the lens motors twice as responsive. All cforce mini and cforce plus lens motors in the market are able to benefit from this free software update and the performance increase is not affected by the choice of hand unit. Any ARRI ECS configuration using the Hi-5, ZMU-4, SXU-1, or the legacy WCU-4 can take advantage from the motor’s halved latency and a pronounced enhancement of the 1st AC’s direct connection to the lens axis. Market feedback has already been positive: “Wow, that’s snappy! This feels like a completely new motor,” comments Jim McLean, 1st AC out of the United Kingdom.
The small and lightweight cforce mini motor, first introduced in 2014, has been considered the default motor for most productions, except for when exceptional torque or speed is required. Now, a cforce mini motor invigorated by the new SUP 2.0 firmware is able to cover even more use cases with ease. When working with a low-friction lens, the new motor firmware delivers a particularly improved performance when coupled with the larger 50t CLM-4 gear (K2.72108.0). This combination offers speeds 25% faster than with the default 40t gear but with a slight reduction in maximum torque.
The cforce plus motor, the lens motor of choice for high-torque applications, is now the fastest-accelerating motor in ARRI’s product lineup. In focus pulling situations where reaction time is critical, the cforce plus will help ensure marks are hit consistently.
The Software Update Package 2.0 also offers a new Encoder Mode for the cforce mini motor. This mode permits the lens axis held by a lens motor to be rotated manually while still allowing data from custom lens files to be recorded and displayed. Encoder Mode enables a cinematographer to adjust the iris value directly on any lens without removing the motor. The T-stop position can then be displayed in the status overlay on all monitors and hand units and streamed to virtual production systems. Encoder Mode is limited to the cforce mini motor, as the cforce plus has a higher internal resistance due to its greater torque capabilities.
Encoder Mode can also simplify virtual production workflows by offering an integrated solution for lens tracking. Focus pullers and virtual production technicians can utilize one set of cforce motors as both lens motors and encoders simultaneously, instead of needing to run parallel systems. The number of cables tethering cameras to virtual production hardware is also minimized; the Encoder Mode allows lens data to be streamed directly from cameras, such as the ALEXA 35, along with camera metadata and control parameters.
SUP 2.0 for cforce mini and cforce plus is available now as a free download from the ARRI website.