ARRI decided to really go for broke with their new WLCS; it has performance options beyond that of their competition, yet they’ve dropped the price point below them. This is ARRI showing that they really want to play in this arena, and they really deliver.
The basic system includes a new two-channel controller (WCU-3), a new receiver unit (UMC-3A), and a pair of the new strongest-on-the-market lens motors (CLM-3). (Yes, a set of cables is included as well.) The idea is to use this kit to control focus and iris on a lens, but of course one could choose to attach it to a zoom as well. The system can be expanded to include a third-channel zoom controller as well, and a nice feature is that the zoom controller can function attached to or detached from the main controller. So it can be clamped to a tripod pan arm or handed to the DP to separately control the zoom.
The system is extremely easy to use – I figured out most of the functions in a few minutes by reading off the small built-in LCD panel and scrolling through the simple menu using a jog wheel on the unit’s base. All of the channels are simultaneously self-calibrating at the touch of the “CAL” button. Record / Stop control is executed via a big ARRI Green “RUN” button. Other functions are equally intuitive and there are many of them. The logic and robustness in design is classic ARRI. Inexpensive camcorder batteries are used to power the hand unit. The economy of lower cost products is all new for ARRI, but even here there is an ARRI difference.