Redrock Micro announced Hālo at NAB 2015, a system for video production that the company very bravely claims to ‘Solve the challenge of accurate focus control’. They describe it as a dynamic mapping and tracking of subjects, with an interface for manually selecting or automatically tracking subjects for focus. This reminds us of the Andra Focussing System from last year's NAB which set-up a magnetic field where everything was also mapped. Hālo has the hand unit above and the tracker pictured below.
When we last talked to Andra they were to still to come to market after 'a number of offers'. We wonder whether one of those was from Red Rock Micro.
The Hālo 'Explorer' unit attaches to the camera to map the area in front in a 180˚ arc.
Incorporating the same technology cars use for collision detection and avoidance, the Hālo Explorer creates a real-time scene map, combining pinpoint accuracy with up to 180 degrees of view. Artificial intelligence precisely identifies all your subjects (people and objects) and tracks their distance and location in real-time. The user interface shows birds-eye view of all subjects, and enables anyone to tap-to-focus, or drag to follow focus with visual audible and haptic feedback. Hālo becomes the technician, handling the intricacies of focus so operators can concentrate on the creative performance.
"We often refer to this as our Avatar product", says James Hurd, Chief Revolutionary at Redrock Micro. "We had to wait five years for technology to catch up so we could deliver a something that solves focus and does it cost-effectively". The quote references Director James Camerons famous quip that he waited 10 years for technology to evolve before he was able to shoot the groundbreaking feature film Avatar.
"Production never has time for long setups, extra gear, or constant tweaking. The Hālo Explorer is small and lightweight, and lives on your camera. There is virtually no setup or configuration, just power on, and you're ready to go. Hālo also performs in a wide range of situations: total darkness or bright light (even heavy backlight), with or without human faces. Hālo components can be moved between the camera and your remote AC, wherever it makes the most sense.
"Productions at any level can benefit from Hālo. High-end productions can use Hālo for precise reference and focus assist. Solo operators can use Hālo for completely autonomous focus tracking. Any amount of assistance or automation is your choice. Whatever your camera and lens, and whatever your level of expertise for focus control, Hālo is incredibly effective, easy to use and understand, and profoundly affordable."
Hālo is expected to be released later in 2015. Pricing has not been finalised but is targeted for in the $2000-$5,000 range depending on options.