Archives September 2021


Taken from SONYCine – providing the cinematography community with information, inspiration, and news

Snehal Patel is a film and television professional with over two decades of experience creating content and adapting new technology. 

Snehal is also a FOFO … (Friend of Factory Optic) – he has known and worked with our boss for many years – and – very recently, he worked directly with our team in testing our new SYNCRO-LINK MARK ZERO. Snehal was impressed. And, he’s a guy who really understands the importance of capturing metadata correctly … listen:  


So how do we benefit from this on set?


For virtual production, you need this data in real-time because what ends up happening is if you have a wide angle lens and you’re doing a Bugs Bunny basketball movie, like Space Jam, you have animated characters standing next to live actors or basketball stars. This is a very common thing with virtual production. You have AR [augmented reality] objects or background objects, or you’re standing on a floor. Now, if you’re standing on a real floor in real life, if I put a wide angle 18mm lens on the camera, that floor bends. Actually, that floor appears to be lower at the apex, at the bottom than it is in real life, because of the curvature of the lens. The further you are away from the center of the lens, your corners will bend even more, as will your walls.

… let’s say you created a cartoon character standing next to you, or jumping around you, it won’t be standing on the ground. They’ll be floating maybe an inch off the ground. Their feet won’t appear to be touching the ground because we haven’t accounted for the distortion. Not only do you want to track the shading and distortion characteristics, but you need to apply them in real time, through the Unreal Engine, for example, in virtual production, otherwise you can’t line up your objects.

… let’s forget about shading and distortion data for a minute and instead look at some more simple things, like how this data is used for the TV show Mandalorian. You need to be able to have the exact focus and iris distance from the lens in real time going into your system in the Unreal Engine, where you’re creating backgrounds, so you automatically know exactly what the depth of field is, instead of best-guessing and then letting the DP decide what it should be. 

Some of the data sent by the lens

This is why lens metadata is important, because it’s not just for the backend. Believe me when I say that, for $300 million a picture, you could save millions of dollars if you have more data in visual effects, it’s just how it works. But even in virtual production, it’s necessary now to have even better data, better communication between camera lenses and the backend, the computer systems, to get a more accurate image upfront because that’s what it’s all about. In virtual production, it’s about skipping the backend.

We could go on, but maybe you’d like to just read the articles (produced by SONY CINEMA) yourself


Read the full article HERE


Read the full article HERE

Unfortunately, these interviews were given before Snehal hooked up with The Factory for the various MARK ZERO tests – had he given the the interview after that, he’d be gushing about SYNCRO-LINK (like everyone else) – but, you don’t need to trust us – call him / write him – he’ll tell you what he thinks of the product – and he’ll tell you in real time! 

With virtual productions using live action cameras for AR, Simulcam, VR and XR, he understands the need perfect sync between the virtual camera and the live action camera. Accurate metadata from the camera system needs to be streamed to the virtual system with minimal delay.

With many modern lenses now supporting direct metadata connections, it is easier than ever to stream high accuracy metadata in perfect sync with the image capture, without relying on the camera body or camera tracking system to transport the lens metadata. 

Using the same video genlock provided to the camera, the SYNCRO-LINK MARK-ZERO, synchronized to the camera shutter, gives you ZERO DELAY SHUTTER-SYNCED LIVE STREAMING  OF METADATA  OVER  ETHERNET … and that’s what Snehal is talking about! 

Enjoy the articles.

Excuse us, but – that was our PLUG for SYNCRO-LINK!

Busy times at The Factory!

Look out below! The Factory floor is crowded – just brimming and spilling over with new products and projects – more work than can be accomplished in a Lunar Month!

We have been trying to have a word with Fred (“Freddy The Foreman”) for over a month now, but he seems to successfully dodge our every attempt. One of our studious Art Department members (while actually deployed to work the Factory Floor back in July when things were REALLY tough) managed to pry a few words out of him … here’s what we got, for the record:

Studious Art Department Employee (SADE):

Hello, Freddy! Freddy? Ah, Freddy – can I have a word with you?

Freddy The Foreman (FTF):



OK … how about if I just talk – and you nod, OK?


(nods silently)


Well, rumor has it – ah – here on The Factory Floor, of course – that there are quite a few Top Secret projects in the works down here – thus, all the busy commotion – can you tell us anything about these quote/unquote “Top Secret” projects?


No. I can’t. They’re all Top Secret


Well, yeah but I’m hearing – down here, of course, that SYNCRO-LINK sales are up – up – up – like we can’t keep up with the demand – can you confirm or deny that?




Now, is that No – they are NOT up … or, No, I can’t confirm that … or … or No, I can’t deny that?


Wasn’t I sayin’ it in English? What part of Top Secret don’t ya get, Son? Now, I’m givin’ ya two seconds ta get outta my way before I deck ya!


Yes, well, I know but, gee Freddy – we’re all family down here on The Factory Floor – I mean, we don’t keep secrets among family, do we?


Well, sir, I didn’t see you at my breakfast table at home this mornin’ passin’ me the biscuits and butter – I don’t reckon you’re any kin ‘o mine – so get the h@!! outta my way and let me pass – NOW!


Oh, sure, Freddy I see you have your hands full and, well, it does look quite heavy – say, Freddie – as you walk away can you say anything about that specialty camera system thingy that they’re making for The Big Time or something?

FTF (looking over his shoulder):

Oh … you mean the F-2-4-B-Aaaah, wait a darn minute here – I ain’t a-supposed-ta be talkin’ bout this stuff let alone spill the beans on the top secret name of the d@*! thing! Now just git! Git back upstairs to yer drawin’ board where ya belong – I don’t need yer kind down here pokin’ around askin’ a buncha nosey questions. Go on – GIT!

Well, folks – sorry, but that was about all we could get out of Freddy – this time. But, things change – he might lighten up a bit if the work load does. Lighten up, that is – although, the way it’s looking down there, I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. We’ll do our best to keep you informed … when we know something ourselves …

But, until then – from all of us, down on the Factory Floor – “Here’s Working For You!”

Crowded – but never ‘over-crowded’ and non-productive! Usually over-the-top … Happy Workers doing what they do best: Happily working on The Factory Floor!

A ‘Shout Out’ to SYNCRO-LINK!

XR LED Virtual Production with TEDxCambridge and STUDIO LAB

Dmitri Gunn and Ian Messina

Ian: “…they’re taking the lens data unit [SYNCRO-LINK] off the camera now …”

Dmitri: “Yes! Bring it over here … this is another ‘shout out’ to someone who is doing some really cool stuff … Patrick Campbell from Factory Optic – we were introduced to him through Tom Fletcher and Gary Adcock – Tom from Fujinon – with an opportunity to go ‘all in’ on XD lens encoding … but Patrick’s solution here, which Ian has in his hands, is the SYNCRO-LINK MARK ZERO – a real game changer – because it allows us to pull all of that lens encoding data right in to UNREAL Engine and DISGUISE and allows us to continue to utilize this facility and this team to create even more cool stuff for our next production cycle …”

Ian: “So, we can actually plug this [SYNCRO-LINK] right into the lens and what this is going to do is send REAL TIME information – so when we focus or zoom, it’s getting sent into here [SYNCRO-LINK] and this [SYNCRO-LINKL] is now taking that focus and zoom data – and it actually has a Lens Profile built for this specific lens – and, as they’re turning it, it’s giving us real time updates! OK, they’re focused at 3 feet … four feet … five feet … and it’s all happening LIVE and it’s actually synced with the shutter and it’s gen-locked which is also incredibly important – having your whole system gen-locked is HUGE! And this unit … honestly, the guys at FACTORY OPTIC really knocked this one out of the park because a lot of the stuff we’ve been using has been more mechanical – so you’d have more of just your standard focus system but, instead of it controlling the system, what it is actually doing is ‘reading it … and when you get those micro-jitters of movement, what happens without it is, you see   false data sent – so, if [the mechanical device used] would think you’re at it 3 feet but it’s actually three and a half feet – well, you Really can’t use that  – all of this stuff has to work perfectly to be completely accurate – and that is what SYNCRO-LINK has done for us – ‘Zero Delay’ – it’s a real game changer!”

Click on the image below to watch the full YouTube video:

SYNCRO-LINK is a real game-changer!”