Archives 2022

Happy Factory – (Belated) – Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Yeah, sorry … we ALMOST missed this one!

Busy … busy … busy! Almost forgot what day it was! Unfortunately, due to backed-up delivery dates and an over-abundance of product demand, we all had to work straight through the Thanksgiving week – and yes, even on Thanksgiving Day!

No worries – Freddy The Foreman – the kind-hearted Leader that he is – allowed us listen to a radio broadcast of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – and that really helped!

Oh, and even though our BOSS has left the country (traveling to parts unknown … or maybe he was just looking for ‘parts‘ that we can’t seem to find around here …you know, ‘foreign parts’ … imports … well, anyway, he surprised us all by having a load of Vegan Turkey Sandwiches heck, almost enough to feed everyone – delivered to the Factory Floor at lunch time on Thursday! Wow! What a guy! What a treat – he always rewards us for our hard labor …

You know, we can still see those Vegan Turkey Sandwiches come rolling down the line – some already bitten by certain eager workers, up the line, who were too busy to stop, grab and enjoy a whole one!

And, this year’s awesome treat certainly qualified as a fitting reward for us all having to come in and work the Holiday Week … Yeah, who cares that he failed to include any of the fixings and garnish … like maybe, at the very least, potato salad or macaroni salad – or, bread … or water … and napkins …

Well, no matter – sometimes a good, well-made Vegan Sandwich is just enough, you know what we’re sayin’ over here?

Well, enough of this chit-chatting- it’s back to work for this crew! Here’s hoping that all of you, out there in Internet Visitor’s Land, hand a safe and peaceful Holiday … like we did – the Factory Floor is one of the safest places to be … when free food is in the air!

Happy Factory Thanksgiving Week to all of you!

P.S. We’ll be here if you need us!

Mmmmmm ... Vegan Turkey Sandwiches for All!
Mmmmmm … Vegan Turkey Sandwiches for All! Happy Factory Thanksgiving 2022

There’s Nothing To Be Afraid Of!

Factory Halloween

Just another fun-filled, action-packed HALLOWEEN ROMP at The Factory!

Well, okay … since everyone came in wearing costumes … and NO ONE is working ANYWHERE on the Factory Floor … well … ah … um … er … OK … MAYBYE there might be a little something to be afraid of …

Heck, rumor has it that even THE BOSS (and we aren’t talkin’ Springsteen, here) has run off and left the country!

Oh well, don’t worry about production deadlines and shipping logistics … it’ll all be over soon … and everyone will be back on the clock … and on ‘the line’ … and working for YOU!

Happy Halloween 2022 from THE FACTORY!

Virtual Production Is Changing How Movies (and Careers) Are Made

Virtual Production is changing how movies (and careers) are made!

Yeah, we know it to be true, here, on The Factory Floor …

You don’t have to look hard to see how virtual production is taking the film, TV, and streaming industries by storm.

And like all new developments, the demand for qualified talent is high, while the availability of skilled people is low. This situation is compounded by roles that are constantly being refined and redefined.

So let’s take a look at what’s driving this incredible demand, and where opportunities can be found for newcomers and veterans alike. Starting with how we got here…

We found a pretty cool article to share with you … now, we can’t really tell you whether or not some of these productions (or all of them?) are using various models of Factory Optic bespoke products and inventions … well, that is, a lot of it is top secret highly sensitive stuff that we aren’t supposed to discuss in public forums or on our website – so, really … we can’t say anything – one way or another …

… without getting into some kind of proprietary information leak trouble.

… and other bad things.

Plus … it’s almost lunchtime here at The Factory – and, rather than keep writing, WE’D rather go eat … while YOU read on … Deal?

So, maybe you should just read the article because we know that you’ll enjoy it … because we did … READ IT HERE

More Humor from the Factory Floor …

Freddy The  Foreman was making his daily rounds inspecting how all of the workers were doing their jobs.

Upon entering the Shipping Departmenthe spied an ambitious worker moving at a very fast pace …

“Well”, he said to this particularly studious worker, “I see you are doing a very diligent job stamping all of the boxes ‘THIS SIDE UP‘.”

“Yes,” the worker enthusiastically replied, eager to please (and get that promised raise) , “and just to be extra sure, I’m stamping the bottoms also!”

The Shipping Department
The Factory Shipping Department: “Bottom’s Up!”

Hurry … Get one today!

Made in the U.S.A. Factory Optic presents its latest simple and useful tool of the trade: QuickTC … the quickest, easiest way to check timecode. It’s a LOW COST, battery-powered tool that takes SMPTE timecode in on BNC and reads out timecode, user bits, framerate and signal voltage peak-to-peak. READ ON HERE

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From The Factory Floor: Another EMMY® For The Factory Reception Area …

That’s right, our Technical Team has done it again! Remember back in February when we posted a quick story about what we were working on at SUPER BOWL LVI? What? You forgot? Well, here it is again … SEE IT HERE … Now, months later, in August 2022, we’re pleased to share the latest with you: the innovation pictured (also known asBoatCam™) along with its expert behind-the-scenes technical team and onsite technicians, has won an EMMY®AWARD in the category of …

Emmy®Award,

Outstanding Technical Team Studio SUPER BOWL LVI Pregame Show, NBC”

Issued by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences · Jan 2022

… this one being the FIFTH EMMY®AWARD for SPORTS PRODUCTION that is now proudly on display in the Factory Front Office Reception Area – golden testimony to our technical contributions to award-wining television through the years.

BoatCam™ was used to capture ‘live’ scenic shots during the six hour Super Bowl LVI Pre-Game Show, followed by the Super Bowl LVI event and Half-Time Show, providing a unique perspective from the Lake at Sofi Stadium … both to the Stadium and to the Super Bowl LVI Studio Set. BoatCam™ also provided scenic shots going in-to and out-of commercial breaks for NBC’s XXIV Olympic Studio Show, for three nights.

Bon Voyage,BoatCam™… Happy Sails to you on all of your future adventures! Oh, and thanks for including The Factory in this Fifteen Minutes of Fame …

BoatCam™ Sets Sail for Super Bowl LVI

It’s Here! NEW from The Factory

That’s right … you heard it / read it correctly … we have

“Another Game-changer …”

Introducing the latest production tool from Factory Optic: QuickTC … and yes, you will definitely need one of these in your pocket, on your keychain, or in your tool kit!

QuickTC is a LOW COST, battery-powered tool that takes SMPTE timecode in on BNC and reads out timecode, user bits, framerate and signal voltage peak-to-peak. It’s the quickest, easiest way to check timecode … another simple and useful tool of the trade from Factory Optic.

… Oh, and did we mention that it is a LOW COST Solution?

You definitely need one of these in your pocket, on your keychain, or in your tool kit!

SELECT FEATURES

  • OLED pushbutton display 
  • Turns on with timecode
  • Auto turn-off by disconnecting timecode
  • LED that blinks at 1Hz with the :00 frame … Using two or more QuickTCs, you can visually confirm timing
  • LED to indicate battery charging
  • Internal rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery – allowed in airline carry-on and checked baggage
  • Quick battery recharge with USB-C
  • Low battery indication, letting you know when to charge
  • Lanyard / Loop / Strap

SELECTSPECS

Timecode: 

Framerate (23.98, 24, 25, 29.97 or 30) 

Drop frame/Non-drop frame

SMPTE ST 12-1:2014 

Timecode Input:

Connector: BNC

Impedance: 10k ohm

Power Input:

Connector: USB-C (Power Only)

Power: 5V (2W MAX)

Size: 

23mm x 24mm x 83mm

Important Links

(Try not to misplace them!)

The PRICE is RIGHT! Only $123.98 … That’s right – if you love Timecode, you’ll love that price! Hurry … get one before the Framerates go up!
WE KNOW YOU WANT ONE (OR TWO!)

MORE? REALLY? YOU WANT MORE THAN THIS? WELL …

And, after all this, if you haven’t decided to buy it yet (at that Timecode-Friendly price) well, maybe you need to read the official PRESS RELEASE (you know, the one that went to THE PRESS) … maybe THAT will convince you!

THE NEW SERVO32!

NEW from FACTORY OPTIC

SERVO32

GROUNDBREAKING TECHNOLOGY
that gives you the freedom to capture images the way they should be!

*Individual lens mapping and mix-n-match MDRs have just been released*

Now you have the ability to map up to 28 replicated lens motors with individual lens maps per motor. This allows you to use lenses with non-identical lens barrels and even lets you mix and match your lenses. You can shoot in confidence that all lenses are hitting the same mark as your hand-set.

SERVO32 now supports systems with any MDR. You can now build systems using any combination of MDR-2, MDR-3 and MDR-4s.  No more concern with sourcing all the same MDRs. 

SERVO32 is perfect for multi-camera, prime lens arrays that need a fish-eye (or two) in the set … More to come

Please stand by …

Factory Optic SERVO32 in action!

READ MORE ABOUT SERVO 32HERE

SOMETHING NEW … COMING SOON … FROM THE FACTORY

That’s right – very soon, we will be able to reveal to you our very latest production tool – created on demand. It is called QuickTC and, it’s all about ‘that timecode stuff …’ 

As always, there will be Fact Sheets, specs, and information on where to buy (all the usual) but for now, you will have to be satisfied with the gibberish below … tech talk from the Engineering Department … trying to be meaningful and relevant in the world of Tweeting … good thing there is a restricted word count rule at Twitter! Well, we are sure they will find a way to get around that one (!) … so, please enjoy the first glimpse of “QuickTC” as you read its first White Paper … even though it’s not white and it isn’t printed on paper … Stand by for everything you need to know (right now, anyway) about “QuickTC” …

What’s all this timecode stuff, anyhow?

You may have seen it used for synchronizing audio with video. Perhaps you jammed it for multi-camera shoots. Or just set the camera to free-run from internal generation. Maybe you’ve seen it being fed into a multitude of devices on a virtual production? You may know timecode from the SMPTE ST 12-1:2014 spec, which tells us it’s a Manchester biphase encoded audio signal- yeah, who has time to read those things?

Timecode is ubiquitous whenever you have multiple devices that need to be synchronized on a time of capture basis. Different from genlock/sync, which only provides the timing pulse, timecode will provide you with time of day, or some random clock time that is coming from your master clock.

Time of day is possible, if your master clock is tied to GPS or maybe you have a way to connect to the NIST F1 atomic clock, thru things like NTP. In any case, timecode is a way to get you reference time, in hours, minutes, seconds and frames. Assuming you configure your timecode generator to match your video frame rate and your frame rate happens to be less than 30. If you are shooting more than 30 frames per second, well, you will get double stamped timecode on your captures or your system can recognize the higher frame rate and will recount it for you, for example turning 0-24 into 0-49 for 50 hz video.

We work with it all the time. The truth is, it’s a pain and a risk to use. A timecode clock generator can have lots of options (most don’t):

  • Frame rate (23.98, 24, 25, 29.97 or 30)
  • Time source
    • Time of Day
      • GPS
      • NTP
      • IEEE1588 PTP to your local grandmaster clock
      • Sundial?
    • Free Run
      • User sets it to their watch
      • Device sets time to be random (midnight) just after powering up
      • Device has a real time clock and maintains time with a drifty clock
  • Drop Frame or Non Drop Frame
  • Output signal voltage levels
    • An analog signal output of +4dBm to +8dBm at 600Ω drive impedance is SMPTE spec

After that, you might have equipment that allows you to fan-out the signal from your generator and more equipment that helps distribute the signal everywhere. You might be adding distribution amplifiers (D/As), range extenders, fiber optic systems, RF (ACL) and tin-can phonic communication system.

Now, did I mention that timecode is an analog signal?

Perhaps you are of the mindset that everything is analog. If you think digital is just clipped analog, you wouldn’t be wrong. But analog signals are suspect to lots of influence as it passes thru cables and devices.

  • Noise – it’s everywhere
  • Level change (who messed with the gain trim on the analog D/A?)
  • Reclocking – turning those nice low-pass filtered audio-friendly waveforms into hard edge square waves, with those nasty high frequency oscillations on the sharp edges

So, by the time you get a signal on the end of a cable, it can be distorted to the point where the device is not happy with the signal. Or worse, it works for a while, then stops, then works. Now you find yourself with one device that is not happy while the others seem to be OK.

Or maybe it’s coming in clean, but one or two frames late. Did someone embed the timecode into the audio feed, then run it through a frame shaker and de-embedded it? It could happen.

Generally, timecode is robust and fairly reliable, and it works, until it doesn’t. At which point you need to do some timecode debugging …

So … where do you begin?

Typically, you start at the source (timecode generator) and work your way to the device that is being fed timecode. Then what? Look at the cables, are they plugged in. Do you have a bad cable? You can’t tell by looking at it before just swapping it out? Does anyone on the show have an oscilloscope and know how to use it? Maybe the DIT or AC has a mobile oscilloscope that connects to their iPhone, just in case something like this pops up. They haven’t used it since they bought it, need to download the app, re-read the instructions. But they are super-excited to have the opportunity to try it out. And when it’s working, you might see a waveform but do you have any idea what is considered good or bad by looking at it? Chances are, you won’t recognize the problem. And you certainly can’t discern what in the heck the bits are telling you.

This is where “QuickTC” comes in. It’s a simple go/no go tester for timecode. It’s small enough to fit on your keychain. It is powered by a rechargeable battery which plugs into USB-C for charging. It is always ready to plug into your BNC and tell you what’s coming in. It will not only read-out the timecode, but it will also let you freeze it momentarily as you read it out. Additionally, it will provide a 1hz LED blink at :00 frames, allowing you to look across the stage and see all cameras blinking in perfect sync. It will tell you what the signal voltage levels are and the timecode format, including DROP FRAME.

It will even readout the userbits.

It pretty much does everything – except drive Uber … you’ll have to arrange for your own ride back to the airport … and stop along the way to grab something to eat … because “QuickTC” won’t buy your food for you either … but it’ll do just about everything else …

Coming Soon! … WATCH THIS SPACE … QuickTC … Coming Soon! … WATCH THIS SPACE … QuickTC … Coming Soon! … WATCH THIS SPACE!