The P+S TECHNIK LensChecker proved to be a valuable tool for the fast workflow of the 2nd unit on Sony’s new Charlie’s Angels feature film. The 2nd unit camera crew led by DoP Klemens Becker (Bourne Franchise, Gladiator, Blood Diamond) had the chance to test one of the first devices on set in Hamburg.
Shooting action-sequences with all safety precautions taken, the physical impacts on the crash boxes and handheld cameras may cause various image projection and calibration problems. Shim compression and off-center forces on the lens mount can result in serious focus issues.
This was the case when shooting one stunt in Hamburg where the focus scale got offset by a significant margin. In order to troubleshoot the problem, 1st AC Jan Grunwald and 2nd AC Adrian Dumitrescu used the LensChecker to isolate the focus problem.
The fast setup and battery power option of the LensChecker turned out to be of great advantage, saving time as the focus marks were checked directly on set.
After aligning and calibrating the LensChecker with the built-in stand and laser, the chart showed that the lens was fine and the problem was most probably originating from the camera mount. This turned out to be true after the mount was thoroughly inspected on the following day. The lens, though, could be used on the very next shot.
The interchangeable mount was also very useful for checking special effects spherical lenses because the switch from PV to PL mount is quick and very precise.
These are just a few examples of how the P+S TECHNIK LensChecker can be used to ease the workflow and troubleshooting on increasingly demanding sets. It also comes in handy for testing newly received lenses while shooting (without using a spare body), checking for sensor coverage on various cameras as well as center tracking for zoom lenses.
All in all, the P+S TECHNIK LensChecker is a formidable tool for prep, research, and troubleshooting.
Review by DoP Klemens Becker