MrMoco Rentals & The Visual Effects Company Merge to Become the World’s Largest Motion Control Robotics Rental Company

MRMC & VFX Signing Contract

Mark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC) and The Visual Effects Company (VFX) are merging their Motion Control rental operations to become the world’s largest, one-stop MOCO shop.

The new look MRMC/VFX plans to offer a far greater selection of motion control rigs, from standard MOCO fronted by brand new, academy award winning Milos through to integrated model movers, turntables and moving platforms. No company has a broader range and more product available, complemented by some of the most skilled MOCO operators in the world.

In addition, the company is able to offer creative and technical Previsualisation in 3D so that, for clients for whom it is appropriate, the entire series of shoots can be pre-planned, pre-seen, edited and tweaked all prior to making the first camera shot.

Malcolm Wooldridge, Principal of VFX, says:
“VFX has been a customer of Mark Roberts for 15 years. It makes total sense for us to combine our offerings to make Motion Control the “go to” choice in visual effects. Working together will enhance our techniques and skills to deliver an even better all-round service to our customers.”

Assaff Rawner, CEO of MRMC followed on with:
“We are very excited about this merger. MRMC won an Academy Award with the Milo for “changing the way Hollywood works”. With the skills of VFX and MRMC’s ever improving equipment, we are looking forward to changing the way visual effects work in 2018 and beyond and extending these out to other industries as well.”

Billy Ziller, MRMC’s Manager of Rental Operations, said:
“We are excited to begin this new chapter because we are relentlessly focused on the same goal – to deliver the best robotics solutions for our customers.”

The Visual Effects Company is a team of dedicated professionals, utilizing the most up to date Motion Control equipment and camera robotic systems as well as AR/VR real-time camera tracking equipment. The Company also provides a technical previsualization (pre-viz) service for all our Motion Control and High Speed Robots. It prides itself in offering an innovative approach to solving our clients project needs as well as a production service for those clients who require a convenient in-house solution.


The Bolt Captures Incredible Cardistry Skill of the Virts

The incredibly talented Virtuoso – The Virts team was captured in slow motion by the Bolt high-speed cinebot, by the equally brilliant Shooting Gallery Asia. The video demonstrates in slow motion the extreme skill of these talented Cardistry artists.

A note from The Virts about the project and the video “RISE”:

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from shuffling cards over the past 14 years, it’s that you only get better at Cardistry as you repeatedly push yourself beyond your limits. The by-product of that, of course, is dropping cards – again, and again, and again.

Today, after 14 years, we still drop our cards all the time. Sure, we now drop our cards less frequently; but no matter how much better we’ve gotten, bending to the floor and repeatedly picking cards up covered in dust (and hair) never gets any less frustrating.

Over the years, we’ve come to establish a bit of a love-hate relationship with failure. We still don’t like it, yet we’ve also come to recognize that if we’re not dropping our cards enough, we’re also not going to get any better at Cardistry. And in that sense, we’ve come to find failure rather beautiful.

RISE was birthed from a vision of ours to capture this intriguing beauty of failure. Envisioning a juxtaposition between clean forms and abstract swirls, we pictured cards being manipulated with impeccable technique – abruptly interrupted and exploding out of the very hands that shuffled them.

We imagined them rising from the ground; the cards fluttering through the air in slow motion, dancing like the leaves in the Fall… and returning to our hands – perhaps forming imperfectly at first, then progressing with each step taken, and finally, displayed in all their glory. Yet our stubbornness as Cardists doubling as filmmakers resulted in a few interesting restrictions that we imposed upon ourselves.

If this “Fall” vision were to be captured, it would have to be done with no CG. Everything had to be filmed in-camera and performed by ourselves with a real deck of cards. Next, there would be no use of green screen, compositing, or other camera trickery. The furthest we agreed upon was the reversal of several scenes – and only if they genuinely added to the story we wanted to tell.

And finally, the cards used could not be gimmicked in any way – no strings, magnets or anything of the sort. If what we envisioned could not be accomplished by our technique, then the idea was scrapped.

Thankfully, after months of planning, testing, and of course…failing, we finally had the opportunity to transform our vision into a reality.

Through the use of a Phantom high-speed camera mounted on a Bolt Cinebot (thank you Shooting Gallery Asia), and the help of a leaf blower or two… RISE was born. We truly hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it for you.

– The Virts

RISE feat. the FW17 Virtuoso deck
Cardistry Credits:
Cardistry performed by Virtuoso (The Virts):
Huron Low
Kevin Ho
Daren Yeow

Duke of Gloucester Presents Queen’s Award to Surrey Robotics Company

Queens Award Visit to MRMC

Royalty Visits MRMC HQ

The Duke of Gloucester representing Her Majesty the Queen, visited robotics company, Mark Roberts Motion Control Ltd (MRMC), to officially present The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade.

Awarded annually, The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is the most prestigious business accolade in the UK in recognition of a company’s continued achievements in the UK trade and export of British products, goods and services.

Dignitaries touring the company offices and factory was HRH Duke of Gloucester, The High Sherriff of Surrey Mr Robert Napier CBE, The Lord-Lieutenant Mr Michael More-Molyneux, Chairman of Surrey County Council Mr Peter Martin, Chairman of Tandridge District Council Gill Black, Police & Crime Commissioner Mr David Munro, local councillors and East Grinstead Mayor Julie Mockford, accompanied by MRMC CEO Assaff Rawner.

MRMC is a company in the Nikon group of companies and travelling across the world from Tokyo to MRMC in Blindley Heath, was Nikon Corporation President Kazuo Ushida, with Corporate Vice President Toru Iwaoka from Nikon Europe headquarters in Amsterdam, also in attendance.

Throughout the morning, the guests toured the MRMC offices and works. The Duke was profoundly interested and impressed with the advanced technology and impressive robotic engineering developed and manufactured behind the seemingly placid frontage of the MRMC premises.

Of particular interest to the entourage of dignitaries was the giant robotic camera cranes, the high-speed cinebot and wide array of robots carrying cameras for cinema film-making, TV broadcasts, live sports events, security, retail photography and including an underwater robotic camera pod. MRMC camera robots have been involved in the making of movie blockbusters MRMC camera robots such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Mission Impossible, pop music videos.

Also, TV commercials for Nike, Samsung, Apple, BMW, Aston Martin with countless many other films, advertising and pop music videos. Addressing honoured guests, the MRMC company management and staff of 80, The Duke of Gloucester presented the Queens Award to CEO Assaff Rawner, expressing his pleasure and honour to present this Queens Award to a company that is a pioneer, innovator and stands as a world leader in its business against all competition in highly competitive business environments. The Duke’s presentation of Queen’s Award was then followed by individual speeches from The Lord-Lieutenant and Nikon President, Kazuo Ushida.

Responding and speaking on behalf of the company, MRMC’s CEO Assaff Rawner said:

The Duke of Gloucester supports The Queen in her role as Head of State by representing Her Majesty at events in the UK and abroad, as well as attending state and ceremonial occasions alongside other members of the Royal Family. His Royal Highness also continues to take on some of The Queen’s duties, such as the presentation of The Queen’s Award prizes.

The Lord Lieutenant, Mr Michael More-Molyneux based in Surrey and President of the Surrey County Agricultural Society and main board member of the Historic Houses Association (HHA), The Lord- Lieutenant is the Queen’s personal representative in each county of the United Kingdom supporting a number of voluntary causes and charities.

Robotic Pod at the FINA World Swimming Championships

Robotic Pod at the FINA World Championships

Robotic Pod Capturing the Impossible

The Robotic Pod is the latest in a wide range of powerful MRMC image acquisition units for sports stadiums, events and live concerts. The completely weatherproof Robotic Pod (housing a Nikon DSLR D5 or D850), can be positioned in places around a venue typically not accessible, to capture unique angles and perspectives which result in spectacular photography and video.

The unit has been used for major sporting events including Wimbledon, Rio Games, the FINA World Championships as well as multiple other sporting events. There is also an Underwater Robotic Pod for water sports and swimming events.

Watch this short video where AFP guides you through the use of the Robotic Pod and Underwater Robotic Pod at the FINA World Swimming Championships. Join us a the NAB Show this year to get hands-on demonstrations.


Robotics Take Centre Stage on the Nikon Booth at CES

Robotics at CES with Nikon

This year’s CES show in Las Vegas saw the latest technology from around the world – with all the big brands demonstrating their latest products and solutions. But the big theme for CES seemed very much in the realm of robotics! We were the central feature for the Nikon stand, who were releasing the AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR super-telephoto. Both The Bolt and new Bolt Jr brought crowds of people in, keen to get their own personal ‘Robot Video!’ recorded on the cinebots.

It was a complex robotic move, requiring some very clever programming. Motion Control Operator Julian Hermansen put the move together in 3ds Max, and talks a little about how he did it:

“Both the Bolt and Bolt Jr. were rigged and set up in a scene in 3ds Max. All geometry and measures were precisely matched to the real setup along with the framing of the cameras.

The 3d rigs consisted of several different rigs blended during the animation to allow for a combination of movements that would otherwise not be possible – for example, mixing forward kinematics and inverse kinematics and combining target tracking of the camera head with freely animated rotation movements of the head.”

Watch the short highlights video here:

For more information about the Bolt and Bolt Jr. click here


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Tom Landsmann

Philadelphia, PA