Element Technica, leading designer and manufacturer of 3D rigs designed to mount digital camera and lens pairs stereoscopically, announced that its Technica 3D Neutron rig, mounted with Silicon Imaging SI-3D camera system, can now be enclosed in the purpose-built Neutron BORG 3D underwater housing system from HydroFlex.
The Neutron 3D rig’s small form-factor is particularly desirable for underwater use because it makes a compact underwater housing possible. Previously, underwater 3D camera crews had to wrestle behemoth underwater systems enclosing large rigs and cameras. The small Neutron rig and tiny Silicon Imaging SI-2K cameras allowed HydroFlex to design an anodized aluminum cube-shaped housing that measures 15″ wide, 17″ long, and 16″ tall.
Renowned for his underwater work, Pete Romano, ASC currently is using the first production model of the Neutron BORG 3D system on a major feature. “It is easy to move in the water and follow the action,” said Romano. “It is balanced well for handheld use and I couldn’t be happier.”
By enclosing the Element Technica Neutron rig in beam-splitter configuration, the system can provide stereoscopic imaging from just in front of the camera viewing port to objects a long distance away from the camera position. The Neutron BORG system utilizes Element Technica’s integrated lens control. By fitting the SI-2K Mini cameras with Zeiss 16mm cine lenses, the system can take advantage of those lenses’ f/1.3 apertures and close focusing capabilities. The system also accepts Schneider 4.8mm, 8mm and 12mm, Kowa, (5mm, 8.5mm and 12mm) and Linos (12mm, 16mm and 25mm) C-mount lenses.
“Because of its size, camera quality and lens compatibility, the Neutron 3D rig and Silicon Imaging SI-3D camera combination made an excellent choice for a small housing,” said HydroFlex operations manager Matt Brown. The smaller the rig and cameras, the smaller HydroFlex can build the housing, which is particularly important since the housing must weigh slightly more than the volume of water it displaces in order to maintain a slightly negative buoyancy beneath the surface. The Neutron BORG housing weighs 114 lbs. out of the water, and 3 lbs. underwater.
The Neutron BORG underwater 3D camera system can be configured as a free-swimming, un-tethered housing with operator viewing on the Cinedeck, with full lens and stereographic control underwater. Alternatively, video and full remote control of the rig’s focus, iris and stereoscopic properties can be cabled to the surface and operated from there. “The SI-3D system integrates two synchronized SI-2K Mini cameras with a single stereo control and recording interface, simple enough to operate underwater,” said Ari Presler, CEO of Silicon Imaging.
The HydroFlex Neutron BORG housing is designed to remain watertight to a depth of 60 feet, and incorporates watertight connections for lens focus and iris, interaxial and convergence. When utilizing the Cinedeck for internal recording, the SD video can be run to the surface with an underwater coax cable. Alternatively, the Cinedeck can be bypassed to run full HD from both cameras to the surface via underwater Ethernet cables. “The Neutron 3D rig is a real game-changer,” said Stephen Pizzo, Element Technica co-founder. “Its small size and lightweight construction allows applications like the HydroFlex Neutron BORG 3D underwater camera system that simply weren’t possible previously.
The system is available for rental from HydroFlex.