THE MARK ROBERTS MOTION CONTROL BLOG

Ulti-Head at Panavision

Ulti-Head at Panavision

 

Ulti Head @ Panavision

At the request of freelance motion control operator/director Jay Mallet we took the Ulti-Head to Panavision UK to try it out with Panavision cameras and lenses and run a few tests. Here are a couple photos showing the afternoon which proved a good success with everyone who saw it.

Ulti Head with Panavision camera mounted

Ulti Head Demo @ Panavision

New Equipment Show 2005

New Equipment Show 2005

The largest BRITISH SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS event will be taking place at Elstree Studios this week on the 18th & 19th March 2005. THE NEW EQUIPMENT SHOW 2005 is a showcase for recognized European Cinematography related service companies, alongside innovative new technology from those less established.  The very best of mechanical and electronic equipment available in the market will be exhibited.

BAR     /    FREE ADMISSION   /  FORUMS

We will be exhibiting with Ulti-head our remote pan/tilt head specifically designed for motion control,  an affordable & easy to operate system.  We’ll be giving demonstrations and tutorials on this and other products at the event.

Elstree Film & Television Studios, Borehamwood, Herts
Friday 18th March  –  10am to 10pm
Saturday 19th March –  10am to 5pm

Free entry. Don’t miss out on this superb educational and networking opportunity.  Click here for an invite for the show which you can print out to register for entry or e mail out to anyone who may be interested andclick here for a map and directions.

Current list of Exhibitors
AFM Lighting
Airstar (UK) Ltd
Arri GB Ltd
Arri Lighting Rental
Arri Media Film Services
Barlux Nederland BV
Bickers Action Film & TV Services
BKSTS
British Cinematographer Magazine
British Society of Cinematographers
Busterbite AB
Camera Revolution
Chapman
Cine Power International Ltd
Cirro Lite (Europe) Ltd
Cooke Optics Ltd.
Direct Lighting
Fava Rental
Fuji Photo Film UK Ltd
Gekko Technology
Guild of British Camera Technicians
Ice Film Equipment Ltd
Jackson Woodburn Controls
Joe Dunton and Company
Key Lite
Kodak Limited
Lake Image
Lights Camera Action
Lee Filters Ltd
Light by Numbers
Mark Roberts Motion Control Ltd.
MK-V Modular Systems
Mo-Sys Control Freax
Optex
Panavision London
Panther Gmbh
Pirate
Power Gems
Ronford Baker Engineering Co
Roscolab Ltd
Schultz Camera Support
Sola Lights
South London Filter Ltd
Technicolor Ltd
VMI Ltd

New Product – Integrated Capping Shutter

New Product – Integrated Capping Shutter

Mark Roberts Motion Control is proud to announce the release of our latest product, the Integrated Capping Shutter (ICS) for Fries Mitchell cameras. Together with the Mitchell S35 these cameras are used daily all over the world for special effect shooting and for animation purposes because they provide superior registration and alignment of the film, as well as being able to shoot from 0 to 120 FPS. The camera is popular because it is fairly low cost for a 35mm camera, but it is also one of the highest quality and reliable cameras available. Using different lens mounts all popular lenses can be mounted including BNCR, Nikon, and Arri-PL. The one disadvantage with the Fries Mitchell has been the fact that for animation or time-lapse, light could pass the shutter during the long periods between exposures and therefore render the camera useless for such work.

Now though with this Integrated Capping Shutter no light can pass to the film between frames. The ICS is built into the door of the camera and using a high speed blade just in front of the film no light can pass when the capping shutter is closed. Unlike external capping shutters it works with any lens and does not need special lens attachments nor does it take up any room in front of the camera which may be unfeasible for macro work.

Photos showing the location of the Integrated Capping Shutter on the Camera. Includes optical indicator and manual override switch.

Photos showing the location of the Integrated Capping Shutter on the Camera. Includes optical indicator and manual override switch.

 

TeleG Talks About Rostrum

TeleG Talks About Rostrum

Michael Bayley-Hughes owner of Welsh production company TeleG Ltd, talks about the acquisition a year ago of a motion control rostrum system.  “It has revolutionized our work and given it a distinctive ‘look’.  Credits include Acme TV’s forthcoming Bob Marley documentary for S4C, the Welsh television company.

The software and hardware enables motion control moves on a rostrum or animation table to be created with simplicity. Essentially rostrum tables and animation stands have been used since before computer graphics, at a time when most special effects were created on animation stands, prior to the advent of larger motion control rigs and 3D graphics packages. But today there are still a number of these machines going strong the world over and in fact are seeing somewhat of a comeback.

Currently the only other alternative to a computer controlled rostrum system are digital-rostrum computer programmes which have their limitations using scanned images. There are difficulties in lighting in the same way and restrictions on zooming with increased pixelation, as well as delays in rendering the hi-res output.

Michael goes on to say, “Before we got the rig we would have to travel to Manchester or even London for any rostrum work which was totally unviable when material was coming in bit by bit during editing”. TeleG TV Ltd had been looking for a rostrum system with some difficulty for over three years. “We knew we needed a system to enhance the level of our work so we finally were lucky enough to track down a Mark Roberts system. We are now able to produce work on demand for instant access by our edit suite.”

“The rig can make sophisticated moves even on tiny objects, the size of a 10 pence piece, which would be impossible without such a rig and we recently did such a move on a Roman coin for our latest series. My intention is to make a production based entirely of archive stills shot on this rostrum.”

Rostrum Camera being operated by Sion Bayley Hughes

Rostrum Camera being operated by Sion Bayley Hughes

MILO and Polar Express

Polar Express Equipment


T
he Polar Express animated movie is not a film one would normally associate with Simon Wakley, motion control operator for Camera Control Inc, but it is true, Here’s the story of why:

The Polar Express is the latest creation of director Robert Zemeckis, the same man who directed “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”. It is based on the book and amazing art work of Chris Van Allsburg and while being an animated feature it is has a very live action feel to it. Although none of the characters are particularly real looking their movement has a very real feel to it which was created using motion capture. This combination makes them neither real nor unreal, but rather “compellingly attractive”. The Polar Express, while being very much aimed at children, should never be thought as “soft” or “airy-fairy”. It has a very eerie feel and creates very much the atmosphere that all is not as it seems. Many of the main characters add much to this sneaky atmosphere with Tom Hanks perfoming no less than 6 different on-screen characters.

While the movie is animated and created using computers graphics you would be quick to notice that its feel is quite different. To achieve this Zemeckis used real actors and captured their motions, a technique used more and more and refered to as motion capture or performance capture, but most incredibly he also used real cameramen! The actors motion was captured and rendered using computer graphics but new to this field, cameramen were then used to control virtual cameras to move about the virtual film scene. Zemeckis realised that while CG movies often have great action it can be time consuming for the “DoP” or cameraman to describe to the CG artist how the camera should move through space, or how an actor should be framed. Something they achieve themselves without trouble on a real set but it is much more time consuming on a virtual set. For this Simon Wakley from Camera Control Inc. supplied sets of remote handwheels to the cameramen. Such handwheels are often used in motion control or with remote heads to control the camera motion, except that in this case the handwheel circuitry was changed to send the data to the CGI machines. Therefore any motion the cameramen made such as panning or tilting using the handwheels was instantly shown on screen as if the cameraman was looking through a video assist monitor on set. Therefore no computer programming was needed to created the final camera framing and you will notice the look this gives to the finished product. Such handwheels are now referred to as 3D Wheels and are likely to be seen on CG “sets” more and more. These 3D Wheels were also used in the recent Martin Scorcese film The Aviator to allow the cameramen to do all the manual framing during the Maya pre-visualisation of the CG aircraft models. All the pre-vis shots were then sent to the director for approval and once approved the move data was exported from Maya and shot with Milo motion control on real models.

Shots from Polar Express

Shots from Polar Express

CONTACT

Head Office (UK)

Telephone

+44 (0)1342 838000

Fax

+44 (0)1342 838001

Rental

+44 (0)1342 838015

Rental — Out of hours

+44 (0)7835 840459

Email

info@mrmoco.com

Address

Unit 3, South East Studios
Eastbourne Road
Blindley Heath
Surrey
RH7 6JP
United Kingdom

VAT: GB 200-0201-71

Head Office (USA)

Telephone

(610) 220-3862

Email

usinfo@mrmoco.com

Contact

Tom Landsmann

Philadelphia, PA