MRMC Announcement

MRMC Announcement

We are pleased to announce the recent promotion of James Biggs to General Manager at Mark Roberts Motion Control.  In this role he will be responsible for the day to day running of the company.  James started at MRMC 9 years ago as a mechanical fitter following a long career in the Navy.  He became Production Manager in 1999, a role in which he was tremulously successful and popular with both staff, suppliers and customers.  Assaff Rawner remains the Managing Director but has handed over the running of the company to James in order to pursue research and product developments within MRMC.  I am sure you join with us in wishing James well in this new post.

IBC2005 Already?

IBC2005 Already?

You might think IBC2005 is still a long way away but it is never too early to register. Registering early not only saves you time but also gives FREE entry into the exhibition hall saving you 55.- Euros.

Here’s your chance to register FREE for IBC2005 and registering is easy! Visit Simply follow the instructions on screen and enter the passcode 2538918 when prompted.

Beat the queues and stay ahead by registering before 22 August. Your badge will be mailed to you in advance and you’ll also receive regular news updates from IBC.

With over 1000 exhibiting companies occupying all 11 halls of the RAI, the IBC exhibition again promises to be the most vibrant show of the year. Every aspect of content creation, management and delivery will be covered on the show floor and in the world-renowned IBC Conference. To register or to simply find out more about IBC or information on travel, accommodation and visa applications go to:

Mark Roberts Motion Control will be located Hall 11 stand 705  9th -13th September. See you there.

Ulti-Head Package Pricing From £34,900!

Ulti-Head Package Pricing From £34,900!

Do you know you how low-cost Motion Control can be?


Many people do not realise that getting a simple motion control system need not be expensive. In fact, with pricing for an Ulti-Head package starting at £34,900, it costs less than many remote pan and tilt heads which have no motion contol capabilities.

This lightweight Remote / Motion-Control head features a pan/tilt arm and carbon-Fibre adjustable tubes to accommodate a wide range of cameras. The UltiHead is precisely machined and fitted with the highest standards of industrial grade electronic components providing accurate and repeatable positioning of the camera. The UltiHead is quick and easy to set up, putting you in control – in minutes.

Ulti Head being put through it's Paces

The Ulti-Head was recently put through its paces at Arri Media Grip, UK, in an application known as “point-tracking”. This feature allows the user to tell the Ulti-Head where the object of interest is and the head will then automatically keep pointed at the object while the operator freely moves the encoded crane or Technocrane around it.

The Life Aquatic For Milo

The Life Aquatic For Milo

Screen Shot

A recent Disney Picture starring Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett featured several shots created with a couple of Milo motion control systems, supplied and operated by Motion Control Cameras, UK. The Life Aquatic is Wes Anderson’s (The Royal Tannenbaums, Rushmore) latest creation.  The film which was shot in Italy in the Mediterranean, features Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) as an internationally acclaimed oceanographer who sets sail on an expedition to track down the elusive and possibly non-existent Jaguar Shark. Various complications on the way include kidnappings, pirates and bankruptcy make this a wild comedy adventure.  To achieve his vision Wes called on well-known Visual Effects DoP Eric Swenson (Constantine, X-Men II, Blade) to create a feast for the senses.


On Set Screen Shot

Director Wes’s approach to any shot is to try as much as possible to see it happen in front of the camera, so using motion control, the underwater submarine was shot in a fantastical underwater world that Steve travels in his yellow submarine. ‘Motion Control Cameras’ used the two large Milo motion control rigs, their own and a loaner from Lumiq Studios  – one for the camera and one as a model mover carrying the 30inch sub model on the head. The camera rig required the use of their Wotan 30ft arm in order to push across the landscape.

MILO moving the 30 inch Sub

Swenson then used multiple exposures to create what they termed “a smashed together” in-camera composition so that Anderson could get an idea of what the final shot would look like on set. The crew shooting the miniature submarine spent two weeks shooting around 19 different passes per shot, working on a huge motion-control set which was 60ft. wide with a 3ft. long submarine miniature.   Tracking out from the sub as it dives into a gorge then tracking in as it comes to rest, motion control operator Ben Goldschmied triggered both rigs from an event controller. “Knowing what to expect of Lumiq’s Milo was an advantage, both rigs linked easily even running passes at different camera speeds, some as low as 0.062 fps.  I knew that the delays in both Mark Roberts’ systems would be the same, and by using a dummy camera in the sub’s Milo, that their prerolls would also be the same regardless of the camera speed” says Ben. “And having full control of the curves in the Flair programming software immediately gave the sub’s movement a real underwater feeling.”  “At one stage during the shoot, Wes came on set (an unusual event as he was filming in the Med every day) and we showed him a move as the sub is nudged by this huge shark.  He commented that he felt the move needed to be 20% larger for the initial impact.  I was able to affect this change in a matter of seconds and get approval of the move before he left the stage!”

Shooting the sub required MoCo passes with the sub’s lights turned on as well as off because the sub’s lighting interacts with the ground it lands on. As the sub reached the ocean floor, these lights reflected off an underwater river made of a Mylar-type material, giving an eye-catching look. Then multiple passes were shot to create different types of ripples going across the river at different speeds. Then enhancement passes to make the river more obvious. They also created a matte for the sub itself that allowed them to isolate the miniature and do corrections on it later. Several passes were required to get the right look on the underwater 4ft. to 8ft large-scale miniature volcanoes.

MILO On-set

The smoke – created in a cloud tank – would be added later, but the crew had to capture “a volcano glow pass” on-set. They backlit the volcanoes to give them more shape.  Once these clean passes were accomplished, they turned on smoke to create a sense of underwater volume and lots of it. A smoke pass was needed for every one of the passes except for the ones with the sub’s lights turned on.  Because smoke adds volume to the lights but not a sense of the particulate matter in ocean water, several passes were shot against black using silver and gold glitter in water. Those would be used in post to track particulate matter into the light beams coming from the sub.

MILO On-set

Then began the month-long compositing process of weaving these elements together by tracking the submarine using RealViz’s MatchMover software to make this world believable.  Swenson stated  “Pretty much what you see on film was what was in front of the camera. We put Milo through hoops to get what we wanted and it did a great job. It performed well and produced everything that was required of it with all passes repeating precisely”

MILO On-set

Point Tracking Demo at ARRI Media

Point Tracking Demo at ARRI Media

Many of you may have seen the new Mark Roberts Motion Control Ulti-head being exhibited at various shows.  It’s an extremely accurate pan/tilt head specifically designed for motion control and runs from Flair software.

When the Ulti-head is mounted on an encoded Technocrane it can perform a feature called ‘point tracking’.  Once you have selected a target and have informed the system, the camera will always keep pointing and focused on the target whilst you move the Technocrane manually. You can track, rotate, lift, & extend with complete freedom of movement.

There is going to be demonstrations to illustrate the uses of the Flair software in this setup at Arri Media Grip (Uxbridge, London) on Tuesday 12th April to small groups on the hour. Refreshments provided. Please email Sophie Roberts for an appointment or Justin Pentecost at

We are also particularly interested in hearing any views from post production and TV technicians regarding the use of this feature which can save lots of time and effort on live action shoots or live broadcasts. A typical example would be a music concert. You simply tell the system where the musician is on stage and you can then move the crane around manually while the musician is kept in perfect shot and focus, with minor adjustments possible with handwheels or joysticks if you want to.


Head Office (UK)


+44 (0)1342 838000


+44 (0)1342 838001


+44 (0)1342 838015

Rental — Out of hours

+44 (0)7835 840459



Unit 3, South East Studios
Eastbourne Road
Blindley Heath
United Kingdom

VAT: GB 200-0201-71

Head Office (USA)


(610) 220-3862



Tom Landsmann

Philadelphia, PA