Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2 – Precise Distance Measurement for up to 3 Subjects

Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2 - Precise Distance Measurement for up to 3 Subjects

Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2 is a distance measurement device capable to measure the distance of up to 3 subjects, even in dynamic scenes when camera and/or subjects are moving. It uses ultrasonic measuring and two mobile radio reflectors –  tags.

Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2

To achieve certain shots, DPs sometimes put focus pullers in very difficult situations. With increasing focal length and low aperture numbers, the depth of field gets very thin. It is then real challenging to keep for instance a moving subject in focus. The Smart Ranger 2 from Qinematiq can be a great help (not only) for such situations.

Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2

Smart Ranger 2 is a dual distance measurement tool. It automatically measures the distance of up to 3 subjects, even in a dynamic scene – when the camera and/or subjects are moving. The resulting distance values are always available on its screen for the focus puller.

Smart Ranger 2 is based on two different technologies. First, as a traditional ultrasonic measuring instrument, it measures the distance to a subject in front of the camera by an ultrasonic signal. Second, the smart instrument is also a base unit for two mobile radio reflectors – so-called tags. The tag can be fixed to a subject or positioned in the working area, while the base unit is mounted on the camera. Distance measurement between subject and film plane is performed automatically and independently.

Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2 – Base Unit and Tags.

Smart Ranger 2 allows the simultaneous measuring based on an ultrasonic signal and a measured distance of up to two radio tags. All three measurement results are shown at a small display at the base unit. Switching between tag measurement and ultrasonic measurement is always possible. Using tags also enables distance measurement through obstructions between camera and subject, like glass panes, walls of leaves or clothes, behind a corner, etc.

The base unit and tag are connected via a highly robust but harmless radio connection, which works well both indoor and outdoor. The transmission power of the system is much smaller than those of a mobile phone, wireless lens control system or wireless video link. Smart Ranger 2 works parallel to these radio systems. They are not impacted or disturbed, and do in turn neither impact nor disturb the distance measurement.

Smart Ranger 2 Base Unit Specifications. Source: Chrosziel

The base unit has a Lemo 6p serial interface that can be used for connecting a lens control system (LCS). This makes it possible to display the distance value on the LCS hand unit. This option is available for all lens control systems supporting the ultrasonic measurement systems cinetape or Arri UDM, for example systems by Arri, cmotion, Preston or Chrosziel.

Smart Ranger 2 Radio Tag Specifications. Source: Chrosziel

What I find interesting is the possibility of automatic focusing. When connected to the Chrosziel MagNum follow focus system, the distance values will be displayed on its screen. Via the assignable user keys on the MagNum hand-unit, the autofocus function can be activated. The measuring device then takes over the focus motor based on its built-in lens tables.

Chrosziel MagNum Wireless Follow Focus Kit

The base unit features a compact body with a 2.4″ TFT display on the side. It can be powered directly from the camera’s battery via D-tap. Additionally, 2 Lemo 4p CAN bus interfaces are available to link the system. On a special display unit, the distance values are even easier to read. The display unit is available as an additional device. The “Betz lens motor” can be directly connected to this interface.

Smart Ranger 2 Versus Image+

Both Smart Ranger 2 and Image+ are distance measurement devices for film sets. Their areas of applications are different. For more information about the Qinematiq Image+ system, make sure to check our video article from IBC 2017.

Smart Ranger 2 provides automatic distance measurement between the base (anchor) unit and a reflector (tag). It works without manual operation or manual adjustment. Prior to the shooting, the operator determines the reference markers by placing the tag in space or fixing them to a subject.

Image+, on the other hand, creates a 3D image of a scene that contains an unlimited number of distance values. There is no need to have markers on set. Before or during the actual shooting, the operator can decide which area is to be focused. Via auto-tracking function, the subject is followed automatically. The measurements carried out by Image+ are performed in real time and the resulting 3D image can be used for further processing (post-production, computer graphics, etc.).

Price and Availability

The Smart Ranger 2 will be first presented at Cine Gear Expo in LA next week. Chrosziel is taking care of distribution and so the Smart Ranger 2 will be available in Chrosziel Kit. The kit includes one base unit, two radio tags, D-tap power cable, battery charger, and Chrosziel custom made case. The list price for the whole kit is $7,115 in the US and €6,350 (plus VAT) in Europe.

What do you think about the Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2? How do you measure distances on set? Could this ease your workflow? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.

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syed m jawad
syed m jawad
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May 24th, 2019

Over Priced!! Highway robbery!

Dan Brockett
Dan Brockett
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May 25th, 2019
Reply to  syed m jawad

To the markets this product is intended for, the cost is almost inconsequential. Obviously not intended for indie, no/low budget filmmakers, more for rental houses and high end owners operators. Aimed at episodic high end television and features. The real questions are, in the real world, does it work well and does the value equation work when considering this against systems currently in use?

The question I have is with the tags, what if talent has the tag in their pocket or inside their wardrobe in a bulky or billowing costume where the tag ends up forward or behind the focal plane of their eyes? That could potentially be a factor when what we care about in most shallow DOF shots is seeing their eyes in focus. It might be difficult to place the tag on the exact same focal plane as their eyes? With shallow enough DOF, this could be a factor. Can an offset be programmed in?

I’ll definitely be adding this to my list of things to check out at CineGear.

Dennis Kühnel
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May 23rd, 2019

At that price point this system can’t keep up with the Cine RT Focus bug.

Gleb Volkov
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May 23rd, 2019
Reply to  Dennis Kühnel

The Cine RT is like $3K more, though, and it doesn’t offer AF.

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