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CGI Virtual Camera Handwheels – The Motion Box – MOBO

CGI Virtual Camera Handwheels – The Motion Box – MOBO

The use of handwheels (or Panbars) combined with a virtual camera in a CGI world has been growing in leaps and bounds. Initially used on purely CG Animation projects like “Polar Express”, a number of live-action feature films and projects have since been using the handwheels as a way to allow the cameraman, DoP or director to immerse themselves in the 3D world to get the exact shot they want. The concept is very simple, a CGI scene (for a live-action or animation film) has been created by a 3D artist, but it is down to the cameraman to decide where the “virtual” camera should be in the shot, and what the camera motion should be. So why not give him exactly what he is used to, a set of handwheels that connect to the CG computer and he can control the camera just like he would on a live set. Such a system has been used now on major feature films like The Aviator, Monster House, and Beowulf as well as a number of still confidential projects.

The MSA-20 handwheels, sometimes referred to as The Motion Box (MOBO) when used in this manner, consists of handwheel electronics made by Mark Roberts Motion Control which have special software to allow them to export the data in realtime to the CG computer. It then shows the cameraman a pre-visualization of his camera move on a monitor, just as he would see on a monitor on set. Camera Control Inc. in LA have successfully supplied this system to their clients with rave reviews.
For more information about the MSA-20 handwheels, please feel free to contact us.

The MOBO system using the MSA-20
The MOBO system using the MSA-20

MSA-20 Handwheels used as a Motion Box (MOBO) for realtime output

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