Teradek Ctrl.5 Wireless Lens Control Hand Unit and CTRL.OS Announced

Creative Solutions announced the latest addition to their RT lineup—the Ctrl.5 hand unit. Teradek is calling it an “infinitely-customizable control platform.” The handset features a 5″ 2,000 nit screen that runs their new CTRL.OS operating system. It even shows a feed from your Teradek Bolt wireless transmitter.

Teradek acquired the RT system several years ago. They incrementally updated each of the parts of the system, culminating in today’s big reveal of the Ctrl.5 hand unit. I have used the RT system for the better part of a decade, and I’ve appreciated its intergration with RED cameras, specifically.

Teradek Ctrl.5. Image credit: Teradek
Teradek Ctrl.5. Image credit: Teradek

Creative Solutions operates Teradek, SmallHD, and Wooden Camera. You can immediately see how the strengths of the three brands integrate into a single unit. The 5″ monitor has a display and OS from SmallHD. The wireless unit talks to Teradek Bolt 6 transmitters and receives a video signal. The mounting points feature Wooden Camera/SmallHD anti-twist connections.

Teradek Ctrl.5 wireless lens control hand unit

Of course, a hand unit is for pulling focus. So it features a large hand knob on the right side. This knob boasts nine levels of tension. You can change the scale of the witness marks on the screen rather than having to change rings on the focus wheel. The focus wheel does look compatible with pre-marked rings.

The Ctrl.5 sports a rocker, a slider, and a “speed control” wheel. Each of these controls can be customized for any axis you choose. For instance, it is common to use the rocker for zoom and the slider for iris. The unit sports 11 custom buttons, so you can operate it with or without the touch screen.

When combined with Teradek’s TOF.1 rangefinder, you will have options for autofocus. (Teradek also lists compatibility for CineRT FocusBug, CineTape, or Moon Smart Focus.) This is handy for getting focus on your subject and hitting “autofocus” for the slate.

Teradek RT Ctrl 5
Teradek RT Ctrl 5. Image Credit: Teradek

The Teradek RT Ctrl.5 will also keep a database of your lenses with distance measurements.

Teradek Ctrl.5. Image credit: Teradek
Teradek Ctrl.5. Image credit: Teradek

Camera control

Teradek hand units normally communicate with a receiver mounted on your camera, like the MDR.X and the MDR.S. Teradek mentions camera control through the hand unit, including Arri, RED, and Sony. However, Teradek’s receivers do not communicate fully with RED DSMC3 cameras, just DSMC2. The picture shows the unit communicating with a RED Komodo, and the WiFi logo is activated. Since the Ctrl.5 has WiFi, the unit must be using its built-in WiFi 6 to communicate with REDs.

What gets really interesting is that there is a video feed on the camera page. This appears to be a very similar integration as in the RED Control app. If that is the case, a user should consider this to be a preview, not a substitute for a zero-lag focus-pulling monitor. Bluetooth is also built-in.

Teradek Ctrl.5
Image Credit: Teradek

Teradek Bolt 6 integration

The Ctrl.5 displays the same information as the Bolt Manager app. This enables the user to pair devices and check signal strength without reaching for their phone.

Teradek Ctrl.5 Bolt Manager - Ctrl.5 hand unit and CTRL.OS
Image Credit: Teradek

On the back of the unit, you’ll find a 5-pin USB locking connector. This connector connects to SmallHD monitors and displays distance, aperture, and range finder information. The battery plate supports both Sony NP-F and Canon L-Series batteries. There is also a 4-pin AUX connector.

Teradek Ctrl.5 rear - Ctrl.5 hand unit and CTRL.OS
Teradek Ctrl.5 rear. Image credit: Teradek

Teradek Ctrl.5 impressions

Teradek was overdue for a hand unit that could compete with Arri’s Hi-5 hand unit. The Ctrl.5 appears to have the features to make it a “nerve center” for the camera department on a film set. The real test will be in the execution. Will it be relatively bug-free? Will all the “pages” of the OS be executed with the same level of finesse? How will it handle busy WiFi areas?

Price and availability

Teradek has not announced the price nor a launch date. They have only stated that it is coming soon. The Teradek Ctrl.3 sells for $2,999 / €2,704.78, and this device has significantly more functionality.

For more information, visit Teradek’s website and sign up for updates.

What do you think about using an advanced handset like the Ctrl.5? Let us know in the comments below!

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