( Note: There is a half-day seminar on using the Camera Tool plugin on January 15 in Sherman Oaks. The cost is $50 but ADG members get in for $25. See the site below for more details: )
Years ago Sketchup developed a plugin for the industry called the Film & Stage plugin which allowed you to view a model with a set aspect ratio and allowed you to control the focal length of the viewing window.
The plugin was never updated for newer versions and was eventually put aside once the company was acquired by Google. Many of us have moaned for years, begging for an update. I devised a way of setting the view window to get a correct view with specific focal lengths, but it was a tedious process and a painful one to try to demonstrate to others.
In March Sketchup released a completely retooled version of the plugin that was everything I had hoped for and more. The new plugin, now called Advanced Camera Tools allows you to view your model with virtually any camera now available with any aspect ratio and with any focal length you choose. There is even a method of adding new cameras.
Nearly every camera in use in the industry is included with the pre-sets as well as all the RED cameras.
Aidan Chopra, product evangelist for Sketchup told me that updating the plugin really hadn’t been on the company’s radar until they held their semi-annual Basecamp last year in Boulder. The event was attended by Local 800 member Brad Rubin who pitched an update to them at that time. While it still didn’t make it onto their hotlist, the idea was intriguing to one of their software engineers, Brian Brown. The company offers to let their employees use 20% of their time working on side projects and Brian decided to use his time reworking the old Film & Stage plugin. So, we really have Brian and Brad to thank for making these tools available again.
While the plugin is as intuitive to use as Sketchup, there are things about the plugin that work differently when you are working inside it as opposed to the normal Sketchup tools.
The plugin is free, but works only with Sketchup Pro versions.
You can get it here: http://sketchup.google.com/intl/en/download/plugins.html
With a little effort you can quickly save multiple camera views and know that they are fully editable without having to create entirely new views if the lens or camera information changes.