Executing the Perfect Vertical Orbital Shot


Motion Control experts Robotface Studios was approached by advertising & communications agency The Shannon Company to turn an otherwise static shot of two people into a visually unexpected vertical orbital camera movement. The shots captured on the Bolt Cinebot, involved the camera arm going over the top of the talent’s head and settling on their opposite side. This needed to be done at two different locations that both had extremely limited space and very tight access.


Industry SuperFunds wanted to create a new series of commercials with a fresh take on the “Compare The Pair” campaign that had been very successfully executed over the past decade. The ads are generally themed around a static shot of two people (with different superannuation funds) standing or sitting side by side. Their funds are compared through voice-over, and one person ends up elevated in the frame compared to the other to indicate that their superannuation fund has performed better over time. Director James Shannon of The Shannon Company proposed the vertical camera orbit over the characters to take the format in a unique but familiar direction.

The ability for Flair to simulate our robot moves in advance – as well as having a large active community of experienced contributing members online – allows us to problem solve creative and technical issues with our clients well before shoot day.

Tom David — Motion Control Op / DOP



For this project, Flair was critical for building the moves offline in advance of the shoot days. Due to extremely tight location space and the complex vertical camera movement required to execute the Director’s vision, it was imperative the moves be programmed ahead of time in Flair — to ensure the path of the camera arm was pinpoint and accurate. The high speed and unique motion of the moves (with multiple robot axes moving at various speeds) meant they needed to be precisely plotted. This would ensure the camera arm paths stayed within Flair’s limit checks, so it could correctly track the target — in this case the talent.


The Solution

Filming at the barber shop location was incredibly closed-in, so the production crew needed to be aware of how much space they had to work with. Flair’s ability to output the perspective of the camera move in 3D ahead of time allowed the Director of Photography to understand how much focal distance there would be between the talent and the Bolt, improving the efficiency of production before shooting even started. It also allowed the post-production crew to have a good idea of how much editing they would need to do e.g. remove shots featuring the track or reflections in mirrors.

Building and simulating the move offline in Flair not only helped overcome many obstacles prior to shooting day but also allowed for the move to be instantly uploaded upon filming. The vertical orbital shot needed to be precise, deliberate and exact without camera float (typical of a jib arm attempting such a move). Motion Control in conjunction with Flair was the best option to safely execute this technically challenging move in the shortest amount of time.

CLIENT: Industry Super Australia
AGENCY: The Shannon Company
DIRECTOR: James Shannon
PROD MANAGER: Elle Tosolini
DOP: Aaron Furrugia
1st AC: Sunny Wilding
2nd AC: Tom Phillips
Mocon Op: Tom David
Mocon Assist: David Goldsmith
Gaffer: Gem Towsey
Grip: Tyrone Robinson, Peter Stockley
Location Manager: Paul Di Cintio
Art Director: Lance Davis
Wardrobe: Jill Johanson
Hair / Makeup Lin Parups
Sound Recordist Nick Godkin

Other Case Studies

Contact Us