Zacuto USA - Z-Drive and Tornado

by JamesNYCOctober 3. 2013 11:53

The Z-Drive and Tornado are finally here! In 2011, Zacuto product designers set out to create a new device: a mechanical follow focus handgrip for shoulder mounted camera rigs. The first prototype was announced at NAB 2012 and was then overhauled into the sleeker more streamlined model that debuted at NAB 2013. After more than two years of Z-blood, Z-sweat and Z-tears, we are finally ready to announce the release of these amazing new products.

The Z-Drive is a unique direct drive universal follow focus that can be used in an infinite number of positions. It can be used on the operator side in a frontal downward position for shoulder mounted use. It can be used in a angled backward position for use with a whip if you are standing behind the tripod or dolly. It can be used at any angle up, down or in between on the operator or assistant side.

It attaches to a single 15mm diameter rod and curves away from the operator at a 60 degree angle creating space and distance from the lens for comfortable use when the camera is on your shoulder.  This is the perfect follow focus for a Recoil kit set up (where the camera is directly over your shoulder. Watch the Recoil concept video below as it brings focus control further forward where you need it, as well as down and out to the side.

NAB 2013 - Zacuto Recoil Rig from Zacuto on Vimeo.

The Z-Drive comes with a 1 ¾” diameter .8 pitch gear to connect to your lens gear. If your lenses are not pitched to .8 or are not pitched at all (most DSLR and basic video camera lenses are not) you can add the Zacuto ZipGear Universal to your lens so the teeth match our gear correctly for smooth lens rotation. The Z-Drive has a dry erase marking disc to create distance points for repeatable focus pulls. The Z-drive can act as a stand alone follow focus or be combined with the Tornado hand grip to make an incredibly stable focus and stabilizing device.

We recommend using the Z-Drive with our Tornado grip when working handheld. The Tornado grip connects to the Z-Drive follow focus via a standard whip port. The unique 60 degree curved shape of the Z-Drive and the comfortable horn shape of the Tornado grip make a mechanical follow focus handgrip perfect for single operator shoulder mounted work.


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