FLAIR

Flair
Flair Screengrab

Overview

Mark Roberts Motion Control provides a complete package that can control anything from a single motor to multi-axis complex studio and portable motion control robots, with interfacing to a very wide range of equipment and sensors.

Flair’s hardware is an Ethernet based distributed control system, allowing motor control boards to be conveniently located near motors or wherever required, greatly simplifying any wiring.

Flair can control up to 128 axes of motion, as well as trigger events, control lights, and have a huge variety of human and computer input devices, from joysticks and handwheels, to VR headsets and real-time motion capture.

The software can run on any Windows platform including Windows 10 and can run from something as small as a tablet or laptop to a full PC workstation.

Moves can be created using keyframes, recorded from real-time inputs, or imported from CGI software such as Maya or MotionBuilder. Everything can be visualised in 2D or 3D graphs and is easily edited. While the positions, speeds and accelerations of each axis of motion can be individually edited or controlled, Flair has much more advanced facilities for simplifying complex move creation. Flair has built-in mathematical models of every type of complex robot or mechanics available, allowing the use of “Target Tracking”, found in no other software, that greatly simplifies getting the perfect move. It also allows the focus to be automated while maintaining extreme accuracy.

Target Tracking

Target Tracking

Where the object of interest called the target has its own 3D path, these paths can be plotted through waypoints or keyframes, and then viewed and manipulated through a customised graphics screen. This frees the operator or director from having to think of a move as a series of complex series of independent motors, and allow him to concentrate on the real path of his camera, and the path of the target. Additionally the speed of the camera along its path and the speed of the target along its path can be controlled independently to alter the visual effects of the shot without in any way affecting the path shape.

Truly Synchronised

Truly Synchronised and Frame-accurate

Flair’s hardware will keep careful track of the camera exposure, and will match it throughout the move even if it varies significantly. This way you can do matched shots with almost any camera, even if shot at different speeds. The system also provides input triggers or can read time-code to start the move and output triggers that can be operated at any point in the move to an accuracy of 1/800 of a second.

User Configurable

The whole system is very flexible and highly configurable to allow the exact set-up that is correct for your system. Whether you are controlling 1 motion or 100, the system allows every detail to be set.

Interfacing to 3D

Interfacing to 3D Computer Graphics Systems

Move data can be imported or exported from Flair, including axis positions for every frame, and XYZ positions of both the camera and the target. This data can be transferred when required or streamed continuously in real-time, for live on-set compositing or virtual studios, or even Flair’s special real-time scaling feature, where the motion of a manual crane or dolly can be mimicked instantly while simultaneously scaling the motion up or down.

3D displays clearly show the motions being controlled even when the hardware is not connected, allowing moves and motions to be simulated anywhere.

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Diagram

How Flair Integrates

Flair allows connectivity to a wide range of devices, protocols and software for literally any application.

Together with its open Interface, Flair motion control software opens the door to controlling or being controlled by any third party device.

Manual controllers from joysticks and gamepads, to pan bars and VR devices like oculus rift. Controlling lighting and motors, to triggering moves and tracking devices. Move imports and exports and interfacing to popular computer graphics packages like Maya and Motionbuilder as well as virtual studios.

And new interfaces are constantly being added so if you have specific requirement it’s probably already there but if it’s not we can add it.

Click to enarge diagram.

Software Screengrab

Software Features

Intuitive graphical user interface, which can be controlled over ethernet.

Full motion editing of keyframed, imported or recorded moves. Any motion can be easily scaled and displayed in human readable formats, such as degrees, or meters or feet.

3D Graphics for full scene previsualisation and real-time interfacing to Maya & MotionBuilder, as well as any other 3rd party renderers, virtual studios or augmented reality.

Fully compatible with any USB HID (Human Interface Device), such as Joysticks, Spacemouse, and custom interfaces and keyboards, even VR devices such as Oculus Rift, and webcams.

Software Screengrab

Lens parameters stored to automate focus and calibrate zooms in focal lengths with great accuracy. Lens meta-data can be recorded and exported. Built in lens mathematics and wizards so lenses can be easily calibrated in any user-desired units, including feet, centimetres, inches, and so on.

Control of iris and shutter angles on camera allowing speed ramps.

Mimic allows recording of motion including manually pushing a rig or turning a motor by hand and then playing back the motion.

Algorithmic and lookup table controlled axes, so the motion of one axis depends on the motion of another in a linear or non-linear manner.

Full stop frame animation features built in including moving step/go-motion, variable speed, intermixing with live action and timelapse photography.

Software Screengrab

Huge animation and animatronic software facilities, for stop frame animation, time-lapse photography, and every kind of possible filming feature requested in the last 25 years!

3D Stereoscopic Filming facilities.

Programmable input and output triggers, as well as 512 channel DMX lighting control and recordable and programmable analog inputs and outputs.

Control of up to 128 motion actuators of any type.

Frame accurate repeatable at all times with variable speeds from 0.01 FPS to 1000FPS and more.

Formats: Maya, FBX, Kuper, Flair, .txt., XYZ, Axes, including real-time over serial or ethernet.

Continuous limits checking of position, speed and accelerations, with recommended maximum move speeds.

Full motor tuning including Analog DC, Brushless, and CAN Bus controlled motors.

Full 3D mathematical (inverse-kinematics) & graphical models of any type of motion system including Technocranes, Milos, Motion bases (aka Gimbals, Stewart platforms and Hexapods), Fischer/Magnum/Panther/Peewee dollies, and many others.

Open API to Flair via Ethernet allowing control from 3rd party software or creating new user interfaces.

Full LTC/SMPTE time-code support.

2D fully editable graphics showing position, speed and acceleration.

Interface to Canon & Fujinon analog and digital lenses. Compatible with Cooke /i lens data. Interface to Cmotion & Preston wireless lens controls, including recording and playback.

World-wide remote support via internet, including full error logging and upgrade facilities. 24/7 telephone and email support.

Continuous development by a team of responsive, dedicated and enthusiastic in-house programmers.

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Hardware Features

IP based architecture, using standard networking products, allowing the use of fibre, copper or wi-fi.

Real-time architecture ensure perfect timing.

Works on everything from touchscreen tablets, to laptops, desktops and rackmount PCs.

Actuators can be of any kind, including steppers (step & direction), AC/DC servo motors, RC Servo, PWM, EtherCAT, CANopen/CAN bus, Analog.

HD-SDI, Genlock, & Tri-level sync, Time-code interfacing and metadata recording.

Full error checking, emergency stop integration and hardware.

Incremental and Absolute encoder interfaces for positional measurement.

Homing, zeroing, calibration and limit sensor inputs.

Full interface to KUKA and STAUBLI robots with more coming.

Multiple serial and ethernet channels for comms, interfacing or meta-data transfer.

Huge range of input devices, including handwheels, joysticks, motion capture devices, waldos, iPhone, iPads and other mobile devices.

Digital inputs and outputs, programmable down to 1/800th of a second.

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CONTACT

Head Office (UK)

Telephone

+44 (0)1342 838000

Fax

+44 (0)1342 838001

Rental

+44 (0)1342 838015

Rental — Out of hours

+44 (0)7835 840459

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

(610) 220-3862

Email

usinfo@mrmoco.com

Contact

Tom Landsmann

Philadelphia, PA