THE MARK ROBERTS MOTION CONTROL BLOG

NETZERO Shoot at CCI

 

NETZERO Shoot at CCI

In a recent commercial for Net Zero, an Internet provider, production company Patriot Pictures and Riot used Camera Control Inc with their Milo long arm and Slimline Fries camera to shoot a series of pre-visualised moves of a Net Zero customer enjoying his Hyper Fast Internet experience. The concept called for a guy sitting at a desk flying along the Internet Superhighway. The entire background was to be computer generated with just the talent and table being real.

MILO with Long-arm On Set

The client had approved the pre-vis and so the moves on set had to match this very closely as to camera angle and pacing. The pre-vis artist was on set with Maya™ downloading move files directly onto the Flair computer. For each move a line up move was generated in Maya showing exactly where the real table was in Maya ‘space’. The Milo camera was placed in exactly the same orientation relative to the table and when that was done, the offsets between the Flair “world” and the Maya “world” could be determined by Flair and then applied to the actual camera move. In this way each move was rapidly imported and lined up. Once that was done any minor changes were made for framing and pacing and the move would be ready to go.
Two of the moves were slightly more complex. The first one involved going directly over the head of the talent with a specific camera roll as the camera went over the top. Operator Simon Wakely explains “anyone who has programmed this kind of move knows how hard it can be, and in fact this shot took a lot of time in CG to get it right, I didn’t want to spend lot of time in Flair tweaking it. In order to import the move accurately the Maya move was applied to a 3 Node Camera and that camera exported to Flair so that as well as having a Camera Location and a Target Location there was also an “Up” location that defines the roll on the camera. Needless to say this worked out really well and no time was wasted adjusting the roll which normally would have consumed some time to get it just right.” Each shot also involved a lighting effect pass, these were created by spinning mirrors which reflected light across the subject and gave the appearance of motion.

The second complex move involved a “boomerang” shot. The shot was of the talent flying past the camera as it tracks him going by. The client wanted to start 70 feet in front of the talent and end up 70 feet behind him. Not having enough track nor a large enough stage plus it would have required a HUGE green screen, the shot was cleverly designed in Maya by having the camera fly toward the talent, then turn the talent on a turntable and then have the camera pull away. Once worked out Maya provided the moves for the Milo motion control camera and a move for the motion control turntable. These files were then imported into the Flair software to shoot directly.

CCI's MILO on set

CCI's MILO on Set

British Airways Shoot for “Knucklehead”

British Airways Shoot for “Knucklehead”

The latest BA commercial, directed by award winner Daniel Barber from Knucklehead , used extensive motion control techniques supplied by the Visual Effects Company based in London.

The commercial begins outside the window of a flat looking at a man inside. With the hero character staying centre frame, the camera travels in a perfect arc through the wall continuing into a living room where the man is sitting on a sofa using a laptop computer. We pass a fish tank and, as the camera comes to rest, we follow the man who stands up and walks towards the camera and through a doorway before taking a seat in an aeroplane cabin. Still focused on the man, the camera continues tracking backwards through the cabin and out through the fuselage and tail of the plane.

Here you can see the full commercial:  QuickTime Commercial 520Kb

The VFX Co were involved in the project from the very start which allowed all the technical aspects to be foreseen and resolved before the shoot. Malcolm Wooldridge, senior motion control cameraman at the VFX Co, oversaw the project “The whole sequence had been planned in detail using pre-visualisation. 3D Data and dimensions from this pre-vis were then used to allow the set to be constructed and positioned in the studio to allow the motion control camera access to the required areas with the minimum of fuss. It was important to know well in advance which parts of the set needed to ‘float’ and what we would see after we had passed through wall etc so that these could be integrated into the design from the outset. ” he continues “by using our custom ‘rig chase’ software we were able to directly import the pre-vis moves on set and adjust them as necessary to accomplish the shot. The software is a very versatile and useful tool, giving us the ability to accurately predict where the rails should be positioned and which walls needed to be removed.”

The sequence was broken down into 4 main moves from 3 rail positions. The first two shots were programmed using a standard Milo motion control system supplied with an Arri 435 Advanced camera recording the takes. “The transition through the wall from outside to inside was used as a wipe point between the first 2 moves. There was enough overlap to allow for pre and post roll” explains operator Digna Nigoumi. “and an offset pass was also shot for the fascia wall replacement of the outside of the flat. The second move overlapped the first and used a 3D generated fish tank as its end wipe point. For the third and fourth moves, an 8 foot tall rostrum was constructed on which the Milo was placed. The use of our long arm gave us the reach to the overlap position and allowed the rig to pass over the aircraft lockers during the final track back. Some of the sections required very fast rig movements so we were able to ‘vary-speed’ the move where necessary and make sure that we were back to 25Fps at the point that Daniel wanted. Frame count inserters were output from the motion control computer and used to edit the video feed from the camera on set. This enabled us to accurately join each move section together so that Daniel could check the pace and composition of the wipes. As the cabin interior was only about 7 seats deep, replacement passes were also needed to fill in the other missing rows of seats and roof sections”

Effects supervisor Jason Watts and CG artist Andrew Daffy were on set during the shoot to composite the various passes recorded from the video tape and advise accordingly.

Stills from the finished commercial

Stills from finished Commercial

Stills from finished Commercial

We’ve moved at IBC

We’ve moved at IBC

Unbelievably it’s that time of year again! IBC is less than 5 weeks away.  We’ll be there but please note we will be in a different hall to the previous 5 years – now in Hall 11 along with all other camera equipment, look out for us on Booth 705.  This year our new General Manager James Biggs will be joining Assaff Rawner and Sophie Roberts on the stand.  Please drop by for coffee and a copy of the DVD showreel.

If you haven’t pre-registered then you might want to do it online, as it saves a lot of time in the queues and IBC provides you with a FREE 5 day Amsterdam travel pass.  Follow this link to register. FREE IBC Registration

On display will be the ULTI- HEAD,  our pan tilt remote head designed especially for motion control. We will be showing it at IBC with a Dutch roll option which gives a third main axis with 45 degrees of motion in each direction.  This lightweight mains or battery powered portable system can be mounted on a tripod, dolly or crane and comes with an array of different options for easy programming. We will also be showing the handwheels, laptop and panbars.

On the stand for the first time will be an upgraded Radamac Head supplied by Cine-TV,  Germany, fitted with new electronics and running with Flair – our award winning motion control software.  This head retains all of it’s original functions as a leading broadcast head but now has precise repeatability of motion.

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

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! Visithttp://www.ibc.org/2002/plan/pytreg.html. 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: www.ibc.org

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

CONTACT

Head Office (UK)

Telephone

+44 (0)1342 838000

Fax

+44 (0)1342 838001

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+44 (0)1342 838015

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Head Office (USA)

Telephone

(610) 220-3862

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Contact

Tom Landsmann

Philadelphia, PA