Bolt & Cyclops in New VFX Course

Bolt Cinebot


A new course created by the guys at fxphd covers Motion Control, Nuke & Deep Compositing. A free video preview of the first class reveals some great behind the scenes footage as well as explaining some methods and techniques used to make the slow motion video.

Both the Bolt and the Cyclops were used for the shoot and watching the preview you can see how they tackled it, as well as how motion control with the Bolt and Cyclops were instrumental in creating the final look of the video. Definitely worth a watch!

Check out more by clicking here

Motion Control Tutorial

Motion Control Tutorial from Mark Roberts Motion Control on Vimeo.

This motion control tutorial is the most comprehensive, simple to understand explanation of what motion control is and how it is used in the TV and film industry. Over 25 mins you will be introduced to the Milo Motion Control rig, the most widely known and used motion control rig in the world. You will also see examples of how various motion control techniques were employed to produce the resulting footage. For more information on the Milo or to see the full range of motion control rigs visit

Camera specific head modifications to Milo and Cyclops

With the recent shrinking of professional camera sizes used in film-making some of our clients have started modifying their rigs pan-tilt-roll heads to allow specific cameras to be fitted in a more compact and rigid manner. Often removing the standard baseplate that allows any camera to be fitted, and instead asking us to supply or manufacturing their own custom camera mounting for one specific camera. This allows the over head and camera size to be a little smaller and lighter as well as more rigid and therefore more stable. The reduced size also means it is easier to get into tight spaces. In most cases, some adjustment mechanism is included to allow the camera to be adjusted so it sits perfectly on the optical centre.

Below are some recent examples for the RED Epic and Arri Alexa.

RED Epic mounted directly onto Standard Pan-Tilt-Roll head at Syndicate Epic is mounted directly using the Matte Bars.


Arri Alexa mounting on Slimline Head at Camera Control Inc. Custom mounted directly on to head to keep it very compact.


EPIC Camera directly mounted on slimline head on Cyclops Rig @ Stiller Studios. (

EPIC Camera directly mounted on Cyclops @ Stiller Studios (

EPIC Camera directly mounted on slimline head on Cyclops Rig @ Stiller Studios (

Motion Control helps The Golden Compass to the Best Visual Effects Academy Award this year

Motion Control helps The Golden Compass to the Best Visual Effects Academy Award this year

It was good news for The Golden Compass at the Academy Awards when they beat off stiff competition from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Transformers to take Hollywood’s highest accolade in best visual effects.

Framestore CFC, who were honoured in Hollywood last week, provided key digital VFX from Motion Control Cameras. One of the main effects was Iorek, the huge Polar Bear and his evil arch-enemy Ragnar, and their icy environment.

Ian Menzies, of Motion Control Cameras, operated Mark Roberts Motion Controls flair software to control both the mechanical bear and the Cyclops moco system. The life-size bear mechanics allowed the cast to ride and go through the motion of riding a walking or running bear so that it would closely match the CG bear, that was added in post production.

Ben Morris, one of the VFX Supervisors and recipient of the award said, “When Chris Weitz and Mike Fink (Director and VFX Supervisor) said that they had regarded Iorek as a true co-star and expected an accordingly strong performance we knew we’d got our work cut out for us. That we achieved this – and to Oscar level – is the greatest thrill imaginable. We’re all completely knocked out.”



The RED Camera used on Mark Roberts Motion Control rigs

The RED Camera used on Mark Roberts Motion Control rigs

With the first RED cameras shipping at the end of 2007, we are now starting to see them being used in conjunction with precision motion control.

Dennis Henry, owner of MC2 used a RED camera on his Cyclops motion control rig and had the following to say, “The shoot was a Nip Tuck sponsorship for FX Channel. The shoot involved macro abstract to reveal different medical environments. The moves were pretty fast and shot in real time without any camera shake.

“The RED camera worked very well. It’s much more compact than standard HD cameras and has a really solid mounting plate like a 435. We shot at 4k res onto 8gb cards which were downloaded onto a MAC running RedCine software for grading and final output to digi tape.”

RED camera on the Cyclops. Courtesy of MC2

Meanwhile The VFX Co. recently also did a shoot with a RED camera on their Milo. The RED camera was supplied courtesy of Ross Media who will be at the Mark Roberts booth at the BSC Show.

RED camera on the VFX Co. Milo. Courtesy of Ross Media

RED camera on the Milo. Courtesy of the VFX Co.

Have you done something cool with Motion Control recently? Let us Know… (

The Biggest Rig Ever?

The Biggest Rig Ever?
MRMC upgrade The VFX Co’s Cyclops with a 9m Long Arm

Is this the biggest motion control rig on the planet? Mark Roberts Motion Control were proud to deliver this month an upgrade to the VFX Co’s Cyclops motion control system to allow it to carry their 9 metre long Carbon Fibre Arm – almost doubling the original arm length on the Cyclops. The Cyclops is the largest motion control rig available from MRMC. The London based VFX Company came to MRMC to request the ability to switch between using the standard arm which gives 6 metres of lens height and their Carbon Fibre arm which comes in 3 sections allowing it to be up to 9 metres long and giving a lens height of about 10 metres (over 30 feet)!

This made the Cyclops so tall that we could not attach all 3 sections or lift all the way up without hitting the ceiling. The work required a new sub-arm to be made to allow the new and old arms to attach securely to the Cyclops, as the clients wanted to be able to switch between both types of arm for various stages in the shoot. The work also had to fit in with the VFX Co’s busy work schedule, so there was limited time for the whole sub-arm to be designed, made and tested.

Cyclops new sub-arm and arm

Cyclops new sub-arm and arm

Cyclops New Arm

Cyclops New Arm raised to only 30 degrees

The pictures show the Cyclops with its new sub-arm and only two sections of the Carbon Fibre arm. 
It was raised to only 30 degrees instead of the maximum 45 degrees
as any further and the factory ceiling would have been hit!!!

MRMC’s 40th Birthday Celebrations

MRMC’s 40th Birthday Celebrations

This year sees the celebration of forty years of innovation from Mark Roberts Motion Control. The history of our company started with Mark Roberts, our founder and chairman, who was born in Western Australia in the early 30’s.  After his education in civil engineering he moved to the UK where upon he had several careers including a stint as an engineer for an American based company Oxberry who produced animation stands and optical printers and a storeman at Lotus, during their pioneering days, where as you can see here he even took the wheel himself on several occasions.
In May 1966 Mark set up Mark Roberts Film Services.

Mark in his racing days.

The company ‘Mark Roberts Film Services’ had several contracts with companies in London to service their special effects equipment at night and weekends. Mark spent the rest of his time working on designing and manufacture. In 1972 he produced one of the firstRostrum cameras controlled by an analogue computer and 1975 saw the first digital computer version. Cameramen, including the great Ken Morse, found these systems enabled accurate work to be completed quickly. Ken still works continuously in his Soho studio, still with the Mark Roberts MRC animation stand, nearly thirty years on!


A couple of the early popular motion control computers

With the release of the film ‘Star Wars’ in 1977 there was a demand for motion control in the industry. The company therefore embarked upon the design and manufacture of innovative 3D machines. Having been asked to build a full motion control system to bring freedom of camera movement to the cameraman, to replace the simple up and down and table movement that was only available with the current systems.  Mark Roberts Film Services floor mounted, overhead rigs and customised Panther dollies were to set new standards in performance especially in regard to smoothness of motion.

 Mark inspecting gears and components.

In the early 1990’s the company was renamed ‘Mark Roberts Motion Control’ to reflect its current products.  Special ‘one-offs’ led to a demand for a standard ‘off the shelf’ system so in 1993 Cyclops our studio based Motion control rig was born and before long customers were requesting a portable system of the same caliber.  Enter the Milo in 1994.  Not surprisingly Cyclops and Milo have sold extensively in London (the capital of outstanding special effects) and as far afield as Russia, Korea, Australia and Tokyo. There are now over 40 Milos worldwide – the best-selling motion control system.

    One of the many ‘custom built’ overghead rigs and Cyclops the ultimate in motion control.

In 1999 we were enormously proud to be awarded a Scientific and Technical Academy Award for the design of the Milo and the motion control software Flair. The award recognises individuals whose contributions have greatly advanced the technological aspects of film-making.


The ‘Milo design team’ receiving their Academy Awards

Following the release of Juno in 2000, a smaller motion control system and the Ulti-head, our modular pan/tilt remote head in2004 and numerous other smaller products and software during this time.  We are now looking forward to continuing to develop and manufacture innovative and market leading ideas in the motion control market and we have no doubt that the future will be equally as exciting.  Of course we will be keeping you regularly informed with our Motion Control Update Newsletter

Developments at MRMC

Developments at MRMC

Looking back over 2005 we’ve had an astonishing year. It saw the development of new handwheels, an Ulti-head track system, a motion base interface, new panbars, a broadcast touchscreen interface, new lens control motors, a high definition interface and numerous new software features in Flair. We hosted a number of well attended demonstration days all over the world, collaborated with a host of international companies and designers.  Finally shipping record numbers of Ulti-heads in the last month.  We have no doubt 2006 will be equally an expanding and exciting year, with some impressive new developments soon to emerge from our R&D departments. Of course we will be keeping you reguarly informed with our Motion Control Update Newsletter.

And for those of you practicing the art of Motion Control, we’d love to hear what you are up to and what you would like to see developed from us here at Mark Roberts Motion Control.


Head Office (UK)


+44 (0)1342 838000


+44 (0)1342 838001


+44 (0)1342 838015

Rental — Out of hours

+44 (0)7447 067313



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