2021 in the rear view mirror
A Year In Review
It has been an unusual year. While the pandemic has continued to make its effects felt around the world, the industry returned to almost full production once more and, as a result, it’s been a successful one for us. There may only have been a scattering of in-person trade shows, for instance, but MRMC has evolved and launched new products that have helped companies adapt to the challenges of remote production with smaller teams on the ground. We have also placed a new emphasis on preparing for a future of more sustainable practices and helping our customers reduce their carbon footprints.
THE STARS OF 2021
The year started with an update that helped media companies meet the challenges of Covid-secure production and the release of the latest version of our Polymotion Chat. This uses a specially-developed computer vision engine to track subjects using PTZ cameras or robotic pan/tilt heads. In a time when studios are adapting to socially distanced production, it enables single operators to manage multiple cameras. We also introduced Polymotion Chat PRO, which brought this technology into the reach of a whole new range of users, allowing the corporate, live events, education, and House of Worship sectors cost-effective access to world-leading camera automation.
We were also very happy to introduce a new member of our award-winning Bolt family, the Bolt Mini Model Mover. This is an extremely versatile lightweight 6-axis high-speed arm capable of full manipulation of products with repeat pass precision, timing, and triggering capabilities. It starts at only £49k ($68k) too, making it our entry-level system for a whole new class of companies to start working with high-speed robotics.
PARTNERSHIPS & COLLABORATIONS
One of the highlights of the year for us was our acquisition of PTZ specialist Agile Remote Camera Products. Agile makes the extremely well-regarded ruggedised ARC360 range, which is based around the Sony Exmor sensor, and we’re continuing to make the units while we add the technology to our own range of cameras. PTZ cameras are definitely a technology of our times and, with demand for the intelligent automation of camera systems growing rapidly, we’re excited to be bringing new innovation to the market. Watch this space.
It’s not all about the hardware, either. Elsewhere, we partnered with Panasonic to offer an exclusive version of our Polymotion Chat Pro software for the automated control of Panasonic integrated PTZ cameras, PTZ heads, and Box cameras. Polymotion Chat Pro Panasonic Edition is an easily deployable software solution that allows an operator to automate tracking and filming from up to three cameras via a single PC.
We also formed a new collaboration with The Slow Mo Guys that demonstrated just what a combination of our robotics and their experience with slow motion could do. Pairing a Bolt High-Speed Cinebot with a Phantom VEO camera and the Slow Mo Guys’ legendary expertise and creative vision leads to some fabulous visuals, as the footage and BTS video here will show you.
THE RETURN OF LARGE SCALE LIVE SPORTS
Along with everyone, we were very excited about the full return of live sports and some of the biggest events on the planet. We’re proud to have played a role in making sure that sports productions could scale to deal with full fixture lists once more while still dealing with restrictions and remote staff.
At the Tokyo Olympics we had 22 Robotic Pods available for use by third party clients over various different events, and provided 10 AFC robotic pan tilt heads for the tennis matches at both the Olympics and Paralympics.
Meanwhile, in Germany, we brought automated tracking to the Bundesliga with Polymotion Player, our fully automated artificial intelligence robotic camera. The STAR Cam is a fully automated robotic camera that enables broadcasters to automatically track and follow any individual str player though the course of a game. The content can be used for purposes such as in-game analysis, social media feeds and during the post-match broadcast.
AN AWARD-WINNING END TO THE YEAR
Finally, we ended the year on a high with no less than three award wins. While NAB itself might not have taken place, we were delighted to learn that both Bolt Jr+ and Polymotion Chat won awards for Best New Technologies in the ‘Camera, support, control & accessories’ category at the 2021 NAB Show Product of the Year Awards.
And if that wasn’t enough, we also won another award at the AV Magazine 2021 awards, Polymotion Chat Pro winning for Best Support Technology of the Year. All awards are special, but given that these three come after the most challenging period for the industry in recent times they feel even more so.
We hope that 2022 will be a slightly easier year for the industry and that we can get back to meeting customers, friends, and colleagues at industry events once more.