MRMC’s 40th Birthday Celebrations
This year sees the celebration of forty years of innovation from Mark Roberts Motion Control. The history of our company started with Mark Roberts, our founder and chairman, who was born in Western Australia in the early 30’s. After his education in civil engineering he moved to the UK where upon he had several careers including a stint as an engineer for an American based company Oxberry who produced animation stands and optical printers and a storeman at Lotus, during their pioneering days, where as you can see here he even took the wheel himself on several occasions.
In May 1966 Mark set up Mark Roberts Film Services.
Mark in his racing days.
The company ‘Mark Roberts Film Services’ had several contracts with companies in London to service their special effects equipment at night and weekends. Mark spent the rest of his time working on designing and manufacture. In 1972 he produced one of the firstRostrum cameras controlled by an analogue computer and 1975 saw the first digital computer version. Cameramen, including the great Ken Morse, found these systems enabled accurate work to be completed quickly. Ken still works continuously in his Soho studio, still with the Mark Roberts MRC animation stand, nearly thirty years on!
A couple of the early popular motion control computers
With the release of the film ‘Star Wars’ in 1977 there was a demand for motion control in the industry. The company therefore embarked upon the design and manufacture of innovative 3D machines. Having been asked to build a full motion control system to bring freedom of camera movement to the cameraman, to replace the simple up and down and table movement that was only available with the current systems. Mark Roberts Film Services floor mounted, overhead rigs and customised Panther dollies were to set new standards in performance especially in regard to smoothness of motion.
Mark inspecting gears and components.
In the early 1990’s the company was renamed ‘Mark Roberts Motion Control’ to reflect its current products. Special ‘one-offs’ led to a demand for a standard ‘off the shelf’ system so in 1993 Cyclops our studio based Motion control rig was born and before long customers were requesting a portable system of the same caliber. Enter the Milo in 1994. Not surprisingly Cyclops and Milo have sold extensively in London (the capital of outstanding special effects) and as far afield as Russia, Korea, Australia and Tokyo. There are now over 40 Milos worldwide – the best-selling motion control system.
One of the many ‘custom built’ overghead rigs and Cyclops the ultimate in motion control.
In 1999 we were enormously proud to be awarded a Scientific and Technical Academy Award for the design of the Milo and the motion control software Flair. The award recognises individuals whose contributions have greatly advanced the technological aspects of film-making.
The ‘Milo design team’ receiving their Academy Awards
Following the release of Juno in 2000, a smaller motion control system and the Ulti-head, our modular pan/tilt remote head in2004 and numerous other smaller products and software during this time. We are now looking forward to continuing to develop and manufacture innovative and market leading ideas in the motion control market and we have no doubt that the future will be equally as exciting. Of course we will be keeping you regularly informed with our Motion Control Update Newsletter