THE MARK ROBERTS MOTION CONTROL BLOG

Believe in Blue – New Police Commercial shot with Talos and Titan

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PROJECT OVERVIEW

Brain Candy Films were tasked by creative agency Tinker Taylor to create an epic film for the police to be shown in cinemas nationwide. The filmmakers decided to put the viewer right in the heart of the action, giving them a first hand insight into the demanding and diverse role of modern-day policing. They wanted to give the audience a unique view into the extraordinary job that police officers do and they chose a rather extraordinary way to do it.

The film shows four frozen moments in time. Each moment is seen as a single, continuous shot that allows the viewer to take in every glorious detail, taking you on a journey through a singular, explosive moment. This approach allowed the filmmakers to put the viewer right in the middle of the action, highlighting the cohesive efforts of the police and all the officers involved at one crucial moment in time. They achieved this effect with the help of motion control


Police Officer with Titan Rig behindMETHOD

Motion control was used in three of the scenes to move through the frozen action in a smooth, fluid path, making it possible to drip feed information to the viewer and allowing each scene to slowly unravel until the big picture comes into focus. The films use cinematic visuals to grab the audience’s attention but they feel grounded in realism with meticulous production design. Everything from the props, to the costumes and the lighting gives the feeling that you’re witnessing a real moment in time. Careful and precise art-direction and seamless CGI effects give complete authenticity to the scenes.

One of Brain Candy’s main aims with the film was to capture a much in camera as possible and rely on CGI as little as possible. The level of precision that motion control provides meant that they could fill the frame with real details and just use CGI to supplement what was already there, with a few exceptions! CGI was superbly handled by Manchester based Flipbook Studios and the fact that they were able to do multiple passes meant that they had clean plates, which dramatically reduced the VFX workload.


Talos Rig on Braincandy Film Production setEQUIPMENT USED

Three of the four scenes were shot on Alexa using motion control rigs supplied by Mark Roberts Motion Control, with the fourth scene being shot on steadicam with the RED Dragon. Cinematographer James Stoneley chose to use a combination of the Talos and Titan motion control rigs on the shoot, as each of the scenes had its own unique challenges. The reason the filmmakers chose to use motion control is that it allowed the camera to follow a perfectly orchestrated, pre-determined path through the action. They were able to cover huge areas, change camera level & repeat the move perfectly – making tweaks every pass until happy.


Titan Rig on Braincandy Film shoot The mighty Titan was used in two of the four scenes, the Raid and the Riot, where the filmmakers needed the full 9 metre extension to cover a lot of ground. The Titan is unrivalled in its size and this made it possible to convey a sense of scale in the scenarios that was imperative to create the sense of a cohesive effort between the police and the community. For example, in the Raid scene the camera booms out of the back of a van, passes along a street, around a corner, down an alleyway and up passed a team of armed police officers on a fire escape, before descending back to ground level to land on a person being arrested. All in one shot. There is simply no other tool that would have been able to achieve this.

James Stoneley, cinematographer and Creative Director at Brain Candy Films, commented on a particularly tricky scene:

"I have worked with the Talos before so it was an obvious choice for the House scene. The scene was shot on set but space was still a consideration because of how we chose to film it. In order to make it feel like we’re really stuck in the corridor with the officers in the midst of the commotion, we wanted the camera to physically be inside the walls of the set and we also wanted to be able to look back at the end of the scene and see the corridor walls. This meant building a set with a “floating” wall that could be swung in and out of the set, allowing the Talos and camera to pass through the corridor where the wall ends up. This took some careful choreography from our stage hands!"


The four individual films are playing in cinemas across the country in over 800 feature presentations.

Brain Candy’s website – braincandyfilms.com

MRMC Celebrates its 50th Anniversary!

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This year MRMC celebrates its 50th anniversary, and its rate of developing world-class revolutionary products shows no sign of abating.

MRMC had its humble beginnings 50 years ago, in 1966, when Australian-born engineer, inventor and part-time racing driver Mark Roberts decided to set up a company to service and upgrade old animation rostrum tables.

Mark Roberts Motor RacingThese were found throughout the TV and film industries at the time, used for everything from cell animation, to film titles and news clips. In the early days, before digital computers, he developed analogue computers to automate the movements of the tables. Eventually, he developed larger and larger tables, then gradually the camera (traditionally just pointing down at the table) was automatically moved, and finally clients requested just moving cameras without a table. Hence started the film motion control industry!

In 1977, with the release of Star Wars, the techniques of using motion control for special effects came to the world’s attention, and from then on Mark Roberts Film Services as it was then known created ever better, larger, faster bespoke motion control rigs – including floor and ceiling mounted ones, as well as portable ones.

Milo Motion Control RigMark Roberts’ rigs were used on hundreds of films and commercials, but it was the decision to start making “standard” motion control rig models, not just bespoke ones, that catapulted motion control use to a whole new level. It started in 1992 with the Cyclops, the biggest, fastest and most stable studio based rig; it was then followed with the Milo in 1994 – the best portable/location motion control system to this day – for which MRMC won an Academy Award for changing the way Hollywood works. Since then the development has continued with all that you currently see on the MRMC website – from underwater systems to robotics that can move nearly faster than the eye can see, and much more that never gets a mention but is just as extraordinary.

London Live & MRMC Robotic Camera Systems

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London Live in is a local TV channel based in London, England. The channel transmits local news, current affairs, sports, arts, events and entertainment and was launched on the 31st March 2014.

In September 2013, MRMC and London Live began discussions around ways to employ motion control robotics to realise a radically different approach to broadcast studio content acquisition and workflows.

Headed by Technical Director, Bryn Balcombe, the LL team saw an opportunity to challenge traditional assumptions of the look and format of TV news and current affairs programmes.

The perception of local TV is low budget technology often resulting in a cheap and static look. London Live set out to innovate and challenge this notion and without the budget of National TV studios, opted for a different look using full frame sensor cameras. With developments in DSLR camera technology allowing for high-quality HD video functionality in addition to a cinematic shallow depth of field look, the team began looking for a supplier that could integrate this technology in a studio environment.

To download the full case study click here

Check out the video below for an overview of how MRMC robotics work within the London Live Studio.

London Live Video Screen Shot

Royal Coverage @ CABSAT!

MRMC once again teamed up with Hitachi at CABSAT 2016.

MRMC’s AFC-100s robotic pan and tilt took to the telescopic mast of the Hitachi’s newly built 4K-capable OB-van.

Designed as a multi-functional production vehicle with DSNG capabilities, the AFC system fits perfectly with the rapid deployment concept of the vehicle. Showcased with MRMC’s AimTrack object tracking software, the potential for automated coverage of live news and events was greeted with great interest by CABSAT visitors.

On the first day of CABSAT, the Hitachi van had a royal visitor: Director-General of Dubai's Department of Information, his Highness Sheikh Hasher Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum. Here's a photo which made the cover of the official showtimes publication of the show, which also features our LFP.

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The Hitachi vehicle will be available for rental in the UAE through Gearhouse Broadcast Gulf.

For more information on the AFC click button below:

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Robotic Camera Systems for Broadcast

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The AFC pan and tilt head has established itself in the broadcast sector as a versatile performer offering new possibilities for sports and studio content producers.

With a small footprint and high payload capacity, the AFC head is the perfect choice for getting close to the action without compromising picture quality.  The art of fluid motion is perfectly realised through the very latest in precision motors and high-resolution gearing, together with control interfaces carefully designed to maximise the operator’s creative direction.

The AFC’s IP-based architecture brings a wide range of benefits to today’s broadcast workflows.  Whether extending operator control, target tracking or integrating with augmented reality graphics, the AFC fits seamlessly into networked production environments.

AFC-180: Speed & Performance Robotic Camera Systems photo  
The AFC-180 head offers exceptional speed and performance from a compact head. With pan speeds of up to 180° per second, the AFC-180 is ideal for getting trackside and following fast moving targets. Brushless servos provide smooth and quiet axis motion whilst high-bandwidth slip rings offer unlimited pan rotation. Paired with MRMC’s LFP joystick controller, the AFC-180 makes high-speed close-up shots an intuitive, safe and highly creative solution.

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AFC-100: A Range of Applications
The AFC-100 head is the ideal choice for a wide range of broadcast applications ranging from studio camera robotics to live events and sports production. Speeds of up to 100° per second can be achieved using powerful stepper motors.  A high payload capacity offers supports for full studio build-up kits including compact cameras and Teleprompters.

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High-Level of Integration
The AFC range offers a high level of integration features. Camera video, power and data are conveniently routed through the heads I/O panel providing simplified rigging and cable management. Using robust, weather-proofed connectors and sealed gaskets, the AFC heads are designed for the heavy demands that come with outside broadcast robotics.

Control: Live Event Robotic Cameras
For live televised sports and events having the right interface is essential for successfully combining remote control and natural looking motion. MRMC’s LFP joystick and pan bar control systems offer the best available translation of operator commands into smooth and precise camera shots.  MRMC’s controllers employ complex background algorithms exclusively engineered for live action. Features such as ‘ZRS’ (zoom related scaling) and ‘EXP’ (exponential joystick sensitivity), automatically respond to the operator’s intentions and make difficult zoom and pan transitions possible as single continuous shots.  The LFP’s simple and intuitive control surface empowers the operator to concentrate on the action, whilst powerful background software provides the level of immediacy and precision required for the most demanding shots. 

MRMC’s studio control software provides an ideal framework for today’s integrated studio environments. Multiple camera positions can be easily controlled from a single operator and pre-programmed moves and positions executable via a simple touch-screen interface.  MRMC’s studio software also supports integration with 3rd party virtual graphics and automation systems.

An open architecture design philosophy makes the AFC range attractive to system integrators who can employ or design their own control interface as part of a unified system (API available on request).

Accessories
MRMC provide a wide range of accessories including studio build-up kits, tracks, lift columns, lens motors, encoders and tracking systems.

To see videos and other information about our robotic camera systems click here

CONTACT

Head Office (UK)

Telephone

+44 (0)1342 838000

Fax

+44 (0)1342 838001

Rental

+44 (0)7757 330 545

Email

info@mrmoco.com

Address

Unit 3, South East Studios
Eastbourne Road
Blindley Heath
Surrey
RH7 6JP
United Kingdom

VAT: GB 200-0201-71

Head Office (USA)

Telephone

805-418-0463

Email

usinfo@mrmoco.com

Contact

Dan Brown

Cincinnati, Ohio