Reviews: Tilta Nucleus-M Wireless Follow Focus

So this is the second gear review I’ll be posting but the first post entirely dedicated to a review.

This past two weekends I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Tilta Nucleus-M Wireless Follow Focus on a job so I thought I’d give it a review.

The unit is easy enough to set up but in prep we had an issue with the motor switching it’s direction when turning the focus wheel even slightly which was very odd but doing a factory reset on the handset and re-syncing the devices solved the issue.

Tilta Nucleus-M Wireless Follow Focus set up on an Alexa Mini LF
Tilta Nucleus-M Wireless Follow Focus set up on an Alexa Mini LF

The unit aims to keep things compact by having the transmitter built into the motor, this makes the motor itself quite chunky and at times made it awkward to mount depending on what kind of lens we were using. When switching from zoom lens’s back to primes it meant that we had to re-rig the eye piece to accommodate the bulky motor. This issue was partly because we had decided to mount the motor from the top but could have been avoided if we were able to switch the gear to the other side of the motor which you can do on most units but it is not an options with this device. You can remove the 15/19mm clamp front the motor and position it four different ways but cut switching the side the gear was on is an option I missed. The re-rigging didn’t take much time and it didn’t leave us under pressure but it was a little annoying.

The menu system was not intuitive and changing settings required a bit of research, for example changing the motor channel was not an option in the menu, you triple tap the arrow buttons up or down on the motor to the left and right of the display to change the channel. But the motor was light for its size and not having a separate transmitter would be handy for gimbals

Tilta Nucleus-M motor set up on an Alexa mini LF
Tilta Nucleus-M motor set up on an Alexa mini LF

The handset is small and light but by no means feels cheap, the build is certainly solid and I was quite impressed with the action on the wheel which feels really nice. Being on the end of a 290mm lens wide open trying to follow a sports person playing a match is no easy feat but I can honestly say there were no issues with the units performance from a focus point of view. It was responsive, smooth and reliable.

Alexa mini LF fitted with 290 zoom lens, teredek blot 300 and Tilta Nucleus-M
Alexa mini LF fitted with 290 zoom lens, teredek blot 300 and Tilta Nucleus-M

I did not have the opportunity to get to use the zoom or iris functions in this instance but I did like where the zoom button was placed. It falls exactly where your thumb rests when using the unit and felt solid. The iris wheel I’m not sure about it seemed to be in an awkward spot and a little flimsy but I did not use it.

Overall the system reminded me of Sony cameras, practically very good but with an over complicated menu system.

For under a grand you can’t really argue with it, a single motor unit can run you €662 while a full kit comes to around €1200 and for the price it is an excellent piece of kit. Given the choice (and no financial limit) I wouldn’t choose it over a WCU-4 or a Preston but if the money was coming out of my pocket it would definitely be on my short list.

New Studio Space for the North East

So there is going to be a new studio space for film production in Drogheda soon and a while ago I went down to see it.

Rippin Studios is in Donore Industrial Estate and run by Seán Ó Cearrúlláin of SkyHigh Productions. This space is being marketed as a creative workspace at an affordable rate.

Once finished this will be the permanent home of Sky High productions but they plan to provide facilities for a sound stage, podcast studio, video village, editing and vfx, live streaming, a general workspace, set building, dressing rooms and Shower / WC facilities for anyone looking. Studio rentals can include camera, lighting, grip and post equipment provided in house. So essentially they are looking to provide a full production service, a one stop shop for location and equipment.

Seán Ó Cearrúlláin working in Rippin Studios
Seán Ó Cearrúlláin working in Rippin Studios

Their advertised rates are: long term – negotiable, daily €200 and week nights 6pm – 4am €20 per hour. (prices do not include metered electricity)

35 minutes from Dublin and 60 minutes from Belfast the space is easily accessible from the M1. The entrance is in an industrial estate with space for you to back a large camera trust right up to, or into the main studio area

Rippin Studios, Drogheda - Main studio area
Rippin Studios, Drogheda – Main studio area

Still in the construction stage the main studio space includes a 40 square meter area for building sets, setting up green screens or what ever your needs might be. The area is a good size for single room set builds with plenty of head space for a second floor.

The studio space leads on to a production / office area with a small kitchenette. This area will also have a storage area for equipment.

Rippin Studios production / office area under construction
Rippin Studios production / office area under construction

Upstairs it will have Sky high productions permanent offices that people will not have access to and across from them a 20 square foot office space and an editing area that can seat up to eight people. They have plans for a viewing / waiting room as well.

Rippin Studios Office Space
Rippin Studios Office Space

The project is an ambitious one and I wish the lads all the best with it, they are always looking to promote and help Irish film makers and I really hope they pull off everything they are planning. It’s always good to have spaces like this available.

For more info on the studio or to get in touch with them their email address is rippinstudiosmeath@gmail.com