Capturing Diversity in Motion with Channel 4


MrMoco Rentals partnered with Art Practice to produce a series of visually-immersive Idents for Channel 4. Leveraging a combination of motion control, 3D workflows, pre-production pipelines, and of course — creativity, the MrMoco Rentals team helped to embody the diversity of British culture within every ident.

MrMoco Rentals partnered with Art Practice to produce a series of visually-immersive Idents for Channel 4. Leveraging a combination of motion control, 3D workflows, pre-production pipelines, and of course — creativity, the MrMoco Rentals team helped to embody the diversity of British culture within every ident.


Art Practice, a visual studio conglomerate composed of three distinct film and commercial production brands called Time Based Arts, Optical Arts, and Love Song, was contacted to create a series of visually immersive Idents for Channel 4. Mike Skrgatic, the co-owner of Time Based Arts alongside James Allen, recognised our own MrMoco Rentals as the ideal partner for the job due to their unique 3D workflow using Simul8 and invaluable experience with motion control. Art Practice collaborated with MrMoco Rentals to bring their complex vision to life.

During the development stage, the main focus was bringing the number “4” back to the forefront of the Idents. As a result, four distinct themes emerged: identity, landscape, release, and love, with love serving as the overarching narrative. This framework allowed for the exploration of various scales, perspectives, orientations, textures and lighting, resulting in a diverse range of ideas and executions.

Art Practice came up with the concept of a spiraling ‘4’, where each new scene would see the camera travel through the bottom of the 4 and exit into another setting, envisioning it as a dynamic and visually engaging element to captivate the audience throughout the Idents. Initially, the MrMoco Rentals team’s plan was to build a moving set on a turntable and employ a motion control rig on a rail to rotate around it to capture the spiral effect. However, due to the production comprising 25 total scenes, with 12 in the studio at Black Island, 8 on location in and around Glasgow and 5 in CGI, this approach was deemed unfeasible.

Instead, MrMoco Rentals decided that with an effective pre-production pipeline using consistent planned camera movements, each take could be performed on each set with identical precision, allowing each job to be completed quickly from one job to the next. The team elected to bring in the mighty Titan Rig for capturing panoramic sweeping shots for vast environments with lots of talent on set, and the Bolt X for shots in tighter settings that demanded precise control and flexibility.

An ident for Channel 4 is more than just a piece of work; it is a ‘statement’, even for a team as experienced as MrMoco Rentals. The idents are set to reach 50 million viewers each month for the next ten years. This achievement is a testament to strong client relationships, a know-how of motion control 3D workflows that is unmatched by anyone else in the world and a sheer force of will and determination to see the project through.

Simone Tartaglia — Senior 3D Supervisor

MrMoco Rentals


The shot needed to revolve around three key elements: the heart, the cube (passing through the end of the four), and the camera movement. These elements would offer different perspectives and orientations, creating a sense of scale and depth within the Idents. The camera movement needed to start at a rapid pace and gradually slow down, seamlessly transitioning from Bolt X’s captures of more confined spaces to the Titan’s grand captures of expansive environments.

Beyond the studio, managing the diverse locations of the sets posed logistical challenges. This included a cemetery situated on a hill, which required careful scaffolding to lay the track. The complexity of the project increased due to the need to determine the right number of rails for each location, coordinate rail transportation, and manage the assembly, disassembly, and transportation of the colossal Titan.

The project’s key theme was diversity in the UK, which was evident and apparent in the variety of sets. Additionally, each shot was directed by a different director from diverse backgrounds and featured a mix of different actors. This meant that each move template had to align with each director’s vision and accommodate both real-time practical environments and CGI-led shoots. With only two days allocated to complete 10 practical shots, the Titan and Bolt X rigs would need to operate simultaneously in a single studio, ensuring the project stayed on track within the timeline.

The Solution

To meet the tight deadlines in the studio, MrMoco Rentals efficiently planned and executed the simultaneous operation of multiple motion control rigs. Through their advanced pre-visualisation pipeline, they devised a plan for shooting multiple scenes at once across the studio, using two sets of track for the Titan and Bolt X. This approach led to the placement of a whopping 18 lengths of rail across 10 sets, with the motion control rigs operating simultaneously and without disruption, showcasing the vast scale of this production. The team effectively managed the logistics, akin to a car manufacturing line, ensuring a seamless workflow.

The on-location sets were scattered across a a various environments necessitating a different approach. The terrain was often harsh and uneven and to expedite the process, MrMoco Rentals needed to quickly assess the shooting environment. They utilised Lidar technology in Maya, employing a laser positioning system. Infrared beams were used by Time Based Arts to scan the location, creating a 3D representation of the environment through point cloud data. This information efficiently validated rail positions and ensured proper leveling, allowing for a swift setup of rails and scaffolding. The Titan was then able to smoothly glide along and execute pre-planned maneuvers, enabling MrMoco Rentals to shoot, pack up, and move on to the next location in rapid succession.

Leveraging their expertise in 3D Workflow and efficient pre-production pipelines, MrMoco Rentals also harnessed the power of Simul8 to plan and solve the intricate motion control moves required for each Ident. This involved creating a template for every shot, ensuring consistency and precision throughout the project. Simul8 played a vital role in research and development, ingesting lidar data in Maya, and positioning and calibrating rig and lenses on set and location. Time Based Arts also utilised Simul8 to validate the moves during the pre-visualisation phase, streamlining the evaluation process. Flair was then deployed to execute the exported moves seamlessly on both Bolt X and Titan, guaranteeing accurate programming of the camera movements and maintaining consistency between the two rigs.

To achieve the desired spiral effect around the set and smoothly transition through the “4,” MrMoco Rentals integrated their in-house tool — ‘PO (Perspective Only) Setup’ into the Simul8 workflow. In a truly innovative move, they repurposed PO Setup, originally designed for creating perspective shifts of people in front of a green screen, to instead focus on the environment itself. This allowed them to create shots that could start as far away as outer space and close in on the “4” within the same time sequence as all the other shots. Shots on the Titan, therefore, created an illusion of being much further away than the actual distance, seamlessly blending shots of varying ranges and delivering whatever desired visual impact was required of the director.

Additionally, MrMoco Rentals had to tackle the CGI shoots, with each director bringing their unique style and creative flair to their respective shots. Director Dan Tobin Smith, for instance, aimed to execute a practical effects sequence where an array of objects, including cupcakes, curry, and crockery, would rain down over Bolt X during the spiral manoeuvre on a 1.2-meter platform. To achieve the desired effect, a real “four” prop was used instead of a CGI version. The camera accelerated towards the end of the shot, reaching 340 FPS, a feat made possible only with Bolt X. The rig’s impressive capabilities, including speeds of 5.5 meters per second and its long arm capable of swift movements and sudden stops, ensured that it would avoid any collisions with the “4” whilst reaching the speed necessary to create the shot. In post-production, the movement was adjusted to match the rest of the footage by using vari-speed techniques. The frame rate of the move was dynamically changed while running it, tripling the speed towards the end of the move exponentially. This exponential curve, along with its inverse, was exported for post-production to achieve the desired camera move acceleration and create a seamless visual experience.

Despite the varying directors, a template for the camera movement was established, with the only change being the size of the window through which viewers looked. The spiral effect and pace remained consistent. This approach provided directors with creative freedom in designing their environments while reducing concerns about camera movements. The project itself embraced Channel 4’s philosophy and aimed to convey the message that anyone can bring their creative visions to life with proper planning and an effective production pipeline.



The ultimate goal of the Idents was to showcase Channel 4’s commitment to delivering engaging content that reflects the modern essence of Britain and its creative spirit. The Idents stood as the pinnacle of creative expression for Channel 4, captivating the audience with visually stunning sequences. Bolt X’s precision, repeatability, and dynamic camera movements played a pivotal role in realising the creative vision of the project, while the Titan’s expansive range of movement allowed for a distinctive shooting style that would have been unattainable with other fixed-arm rigs. Through MrMoco Rentals’ collaboration with Art Practice, they were able to deliver a unique and immersive viewing experience, showcasing Channel 4’s core values, their fearless approach to challenging norms, and their relentless pursuit of offering something truly extraordinary.

The project pushed the boundaries of motion control and demanded extensive planning and coordination. It stood as one of MrMoco Rentals’ most technically challenging projects, with each shot from the directors presenting new obstacles. The effective production pipeline played a crucial role in managing the project’s logistics.

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