Robotic Pod at Cannes Film Festival Captures Incredible Photos
FOR THE SECOND YEAR RUNNING, AFP (ASSOCIATED FRENCH PRESS), HAS USED THE ROBOTIC POD TO CAPTURE STUNNING IMAGES FROM A LOCATION THAT IS COMPLETELY INACCESSIBLE TO PHOTOGRAPHERS DURING THE FESTIVAL.
Using the Robotic Pod, fitted with a modified Nikon D5 and 80-400mm lens, AFP could easily zoom in on the stars as they made their way down the red carpet and capture photos that would be virtually impossible to capture otherwise. The Robotic Pod has three axis of movement, which allowed AFP to frame each picture precisely, all from a remote location far away from the red carpet. Given the Pod’s ability to be controlled over IP, photographers can be located at any remote location and have complete control over the Robotic Pod. As an example, back in 2014, during the Sochi Winter Games, AFP controlled one robot (mounted high up on the mountains ski slopes), from their press centre over 50km away in real time.
A UNIQUE ANGLE IS IMPORTANT TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD, THE SHOT ABOVE SHOWS 100’S OF PHOTOGRAPHERS CAPTURING THE SAME IMAGE. THE ROBOTIC POD HOWEVER, ALLOWED AFP PHOTOGRAPHER ANTONIN THUILLIER TO CAPTURE THE ANGLE ABOVE THE RED CARPET.
The Robotic Pod’s ability to capture unique and incredible images was instantly demonstrated at the Cannes festival, when Rihanna used one of the images caught by the Robotic Pod, on her Instagram feed (with 53 million followers), to show her arriving at the event.
Using the Robotic Pod at red carpet events and other shows has a number of interesting benefits, not only in terms of capturing unique images, but also in terms of photographers’ time – with the robot installed in advance, photographers won’t need to stand around for hours waiting for the celebrities to arrive.
It’s also possible to pick elevated angles that will give a clean background – or in some of the photos you can see here, use other guests and photographers as the background. The Robotic Pod also offers an incredible level of repeatability, so the same shot of each and every celebrity can be easily captured.
For more information on the Robotic Pod click here
Behind the Scenes with Bolt on Marvel’s Dr Strange
Last year we had the pleasure of working on some of the coolest VFX shots on a feature that was Oscar nominated for its visual effects. The Hollywood blockbuster, Doctor Strange, tells the story of a lesser known but extremely powerful character in the Marvel Universe. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Stephen Strange, an arrogant neurosurgeon who after a car accident seeks help from mystics studying the dark arts and who then turn him into a Sorcerer to protect the World from a magical threat!
Motion Control was brought in for a variety of VFX shots. In the scene where Doctor Strange walks through what looks like a broken mirror, two Modular rigs were synced together so as to be able to shoot simultaneously. This was achieved with two passes from different sides of the room.
Other shots required more camera speed which is when Bolt on Track was brought in. Multiple passes were needed at different frame rates to make it appear as though Doctor Strange was exiting his body in astral form. This can be seen in the hospital scenes. Another shot later in the film required the Bolt to run the camera move at full speed forwards and then backwards so different elements of the scene appeared to be moving backwards in time.
We’ll be at Cinegear Expo in LA on the 2nd and 3rd of June where will be teaming up with our friends Camera Control Inc. We will have the Titan on display – the largest telescopic motion control arm in the world! (8.7m arm reach). The Titan has been used for Hollywood features such as Pan, Kingsman (first and second), and others as well as for commercials and music videos.
Small, traditional PTZ’s are relatively compact, simple units with built-in cameras. They are slightly bland ‘eyeball’ looking things that are typically used for surveillance and security, or for basic broadcast functions like streaming in-house content or perhaps capturing a corporate event or live show. Where the user has minimal requirements of the camera, these units are a workable solution for simple image capture. The usual price point comes in at around £3,000 for the higher end models like JVC or Sony.
The PTZ camera becomes a little frailer if an operator requires more input than merely turning it on and letting it do its thing. Users who want more functionality are then faced with the conundrum of either going into the larger range of pan/tilt systems – often much more complex to setup and run, and obviously, costing a lot more too – or making do with the very limited functionality of a regular PTZ camera.
The High-Speed Whisper
The Whisper Head, MRMC’s latest sleek, high-speed unit considerably closes this gap between the two markets. It gives the best of both worlds, with full control over image capture from a compact portable unit that’s eerily silent and frighteningly fast. It’s noiseless and almost mesmeric movement is controlled through the usual panoply of external devices: broadcast panel, joystick or through a touchscreen device run by the control software, MHC.
The weather-proof Whisper Head is designed to seamlessly fit into a multitude of different environments that many of the traditional PTZs fit into – from live shows, corporate events, house of worship and the like, to security and outdoor surveillance situations as well as more traditional broadcast requirements.
Functionally and operationally, the Whisper Head is light-years beyond any typical small PTZ – from complete camera control to programmable, repeatable moves, to remote control capture through IP. It has many of the size benefits smaller PTZs have, but with the control, functionality and image quality found in larger pan/tilt systems.
Changeable Camera Option
The Whisper Head also has the capability of changing the camera. Traditional smaller PTZs have the cameras built in and therefore being stuck with the technology it came with. With the Whisper, operators can keep pace with the camera technology landscape while also having a greater creative choice with using the PTZ.
Working with the RovoCam 4k, or another similar spec. camera, you can get extremely high image quality that’s typically the reserve of much larger format cameras used on the high-end pan/tilt systems. Weighing in at a comfortable 6.5kg, the head is easy to carry and transport along with having a small physical footprint.
The Whisper Head is in the unique position of having a nice diverse range of usages, covering a wide spectrum of features and functionality that small PTZs have (silent, compact weatherproof and portable), with the added features and benefits of its larger pan/tilt cousin to capture more premium content like sports and other broadcast events – not to mention, its ballistically fast!
This year’s NAB Show was likely one of our busiest and we had a tremendous amount of interest in MHC (Multi-Head Controller) software, and its ability to have tailored skins. Another key focal point was in IP connected technology; many visitors were interested in the ability of remote production through IP, using MHC tailored skins with our robotic heads.
ROBOTICS ON THE STAND
Our range of robotic solutions on display included a Robotic Pod, an AFC-100, the Whisper Head and a StudioBot Lite arm – all controlled by MHC.
See the short video below from IABM, who visited our stand, and conducted a short interview, that covers this great new technology of MHC.
For more information on any of the above robotics or MHC software, click on the hyperlinks above, or get it touch