Acclaimed DoP Talks About His Love Affair with Motion Control

I was hooked when I first saw the Rutger Hauer ‘Guinness’ commercial in the early 1990s done at ‘Telecine Cell’, when I was starting out as a runner at Central Television, in Birmingham. Anyone who remembers the charm and genius of that spot may feel the same way – but it simply blew me away and I was totally hooked.

For my sins, I went down to London almost immediately and found a job in a Motion Control Studio and was still there ten years later. As you can see my love affair with Motion Control has not been without a long period of courtship over the years.

Milo Motion Control RigThe Milo is now a far more versatile and dependable beast and with the evolution of The Bolt High-Speed Rig, over the last three years, we are seeing some amazing high-speed camera sequences that have completely re-energized this tool.

Things have definitely moved on over the last twenty years and for the better. Nobody wants to be doing repeat passes and matte runs at 2.00am on a Friday night – Saturday morning. Although the overtime is nice, most of us now have better things to be doing (like sleeping personally speaking).

Fortunately, modern target tracking software and compositing have come a long way, opening the door for Motion Control to become a far more creative tool. The Milo (MRMC’s Oscar-winning rig) is a versatile and dependable beast and with the evolution of The Bolt High-Speed Rig, over the last three years, we are seeing some amazing high-speed camera sequences that have completely revolutionised this creative tool. Essentially for me, is the ironic fact that these robotic systems have become more adaptable and are actually a very cost-effective solution.Junior Bolt

Simply put, when a producer at a large agency needs you to undertake ten product pack shots in a day – producing a sequence starting on a beautifully lit bottle label to reveal a whole product range in a room set, in a limited screen time of 100 frames (and on a 90mm macro lens) – there is probably still no solution available, in camera, to achieve this cost effectively and without descending into madness

 – However, armed with Motion Control and a good operator I would say “Just Bring It!”

And let’s throw in that beautifully placed droplet of water running down the bottle at the start of this sequence just for good measure to impress the client – because we can! Also, because maybe I am a little OCD like that – although who wouldn’t be OCD having worked in a Motion Control Studio for ten years …


Mark Emberton is a highly acclaimed director of photography working with premium consumer food, drinks brands and products such as Heineken, Welch’s, Jordans, Lancombe, Chivas Regal, Huawei, No.7, Carling… to name but a few. For more information regarding Mark Emberton, please visit: http://www.markemberton.com/reels.html


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the Bolt Rig, click here

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the Milo Rig, click here

First 3D Animation Made Entirely From Water Droplets

Milo Motion Control Rig

What happens when you take half a ton of suspended water, 2,048 nozzle switches (that are millisecond accurate), a motion control rig, motion capture and large flash bulbs? The first 3D animation made entirely from water droplets!

The video was directed by Cole Paviour and produced by Unit 9 for Gatorade’s new ‘Active Water’ commercial. The vision was to capture real water droplets and simulate them in different sporting ways. This involved creating a stop-motion 3D liquid printer that took motion capture data of a person and printed it life-size frame by frame. Machine Shop built the 3D water rig and athletes were used with motion capture to simulate real-life movement.



With the water drops falling, flash lighting was then required to illuminate and “suspend” the water droplets in mid-air. Finally, our Milo motion control rig provided both the means of adding camera movement around the water animation as well as synchronising all the different elements (water, flash, camera) using our Flair software. All this had to be done with millimetre and microsecond accuracy for every single frame.

The result is a beautiful one of a kind piece, which has already won a Golden Lion at Cannes. Click below for BTS.



For more information on the Milo motion control rig, click here

The Milo Motion Control Rig Made Entirely of Lego!

We thought this was just brilliant and had to post it up. The video below shows the Milo Motion Control Rig created completely out of Lego. Created by Yoursimo – a designer of all things made out of Lego. Incredibly it has full movement, running on a track with the ability to rotate, lift, arm extension, head angle (outer arm), pan, tilt and roll.

The Milo Motion Control Rig they’ve made, as you will see in the video below, incredibly has full movement – running on a track with the ability to rotate, lift, arm extension, head angle (outer arm), pan, tilt and roll.

We’d love to know how long this took to create?

MRMC Celebrates its 50th Anniversary!

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This year MRMC celebrates its 50th anniversary, and its rate of developing world-class revolutionary products shows no sign of abating.

MRMC had its humble beginnings 50 years ago, in 1966, when Australian-born engineer, inventor and part-time racing driver Mark Roberts decided to set up a company to service and upgrade old animation rostrum tables.

Mark Roberts Motor RacingThese were found throughout the TV and film industries at the time, used for everything from cell animation, to film titles and news clips. In the early days, before digital computers, he developed analogue computers to automate the movements of the tables. Eventually, he developed larger and larger tables, then gradually the camera (traditionally just pointing down at the table) was automatically moved, and finally clients requested just moving cameras without a table. Hence started the film motion control industry!

In 1977, with the release of Star Wars, the techniques of using motion control for special effects came to the world’s attention, and from then on Mark Roberts Film Services as it was then known created ever better, larger, faster bespoke motion control rigs – including floor and ceiling mounted ones, as well as portable ones.

Milo Motion Control RigMark Roberts’ rigs were used on hundreds of films and commercials, but it was the decision to start making “standard” motion control rig models, not just bespoke ones, that catapulted motion control use to a whole new level. It started in 1992 with the Cyclops, the biggest, fastest and most stable studio based rig; it was then followed with the Milo in 1994 – the best portable/location motion control system to this day – for which MRMC won an Academy Award for changing the way Hollywood works. Since then the development has continued with all that you currently see on the MRMC website – from underwater systems to robotics that can move nearly faster than the eye can see, and much more that never gets a mention but is just as extraordinary.

Stella Artois – Reassuringly Motion Control

FlairMRMC’s Milo motion control rig was recently used to shoot a visually stunning and clever Stella Artois commercial in Spain. Produced by London’s 1st Ave Machine and locals Palma Pictures, the project entitled ‘Stella Artois – Learn how water leaves a mark’ entailed shooting nearly 400 glass chalices rotating on a modern version of a 19th-century toy called a zoetrope!

The production team created a 4-metre tall 3D zoetrope, which is based on an optical toy consisting of a cylinder with a series of pictures on the inner surface that, when viewed through slits with the cylinder rotating, give an impression of continuous motion. Each of the glasses was painted with an image and when the structure was rotated to match the speed of the camera it produced a wonderful stop frame animation! Check out behind the scenes video below.

For more information about the Milo click here

video image of stella artois advert with Milo Motion Control Rig

Sky Sports Commercial with the Milo rig & Thierry Henry

The MrMoco team found themselves for a second time shooting at Espanyol Stadium in Barcelona – this time for Sky's latest Premier League advertising campaign. Produced by Outsider and directed by Scott Lyon, the commercial features Thierry Henry going back in time to prove that the Premier League really is the best league in the world!

An extremely technical shoot that involved precisely timed moves, parts of the original footage was tracked and given to the Moco technical crew as Maya camera moves, so it could then be imported into the Milo motion control rig. The Milo would then carry out these extremely accurate shots of Thierry Henry in situ, which could then be mixed with the original footage.

Thierry had to be filmed under the exact same conditions and lighting, (including the right time of day for correct shadows) to match up the new footage with the old. To really capture the authentic look, props included identical advertisement hoarding, match footballs and even a purpose built set of the tunnel where Roy Keane famously argued with Patrick Vieira. The result was a fantastic, time-travelling trip down memory lane, culminating in the final denouement “that is why my friends, this is the best league in the world”.

 

Curry’s/PC World motion control commercial making of

MrMoco Rentals and the Titan travelled to Prague with Partizan to shoot the latest Currys/PC World commercial.

The commercial shows how with the stores 10,000 plus products, it can help you get to the one that's right for you. Directed by Chris Cairns, who we'd worked with previously on Partizan's Schwartz Flavour Shots, the commercial uses a mixture of motion control and computer timing systems to perfectly manoeuvre the products with mechanical pulleys, wires and pneumatic rams.

 

 

Above is the full length commercial

 

There are many benefits to the Titan's telescopic arm. Firstly, less track needs to be laid on set, which means it doesn't dictate or inhibit the action in front of camera and saves time in post by not having to paint out track.The Titan is the longest motion control crane arm in the world with a maximum lens height of close to 9m. The telescopic axis also allows a greater amount of freedom for directors to be more creative in planning their shots.

 

 

Above is the making of

Annual Service Calls & After Sales Customer Service Survey

In line with our commitment to provide quality, reliable, and cutting edge technology supporting Motion Control solutions, for the creative industries and professionals working in the creative industries. Mark Roberts Motion Control provides 24hr support 365 days a year. Our Senior Service Engineer has over 20 years experience in assisting Producers, DOP's, Directors, Moco Operators, and Moco Providers with their equipment, providing training and on-site service requirements throughout the year, whenever it's required.

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MILO being serviced

A new edition to the servicing options available has just been released. We can install an inexpensive slipring in a Milo Rotate and Pan that will pass an HD SDi signal, without going to the vast expense of going Optical. We are using them in the new Broadcast Head we are making – the AFC-100, and the results are very good indeed.

The New AFC 100 with Broadcast camera Mounted

The New AFC 100 with Broadcast camera Mounted

The sliprings we have tested will do easy 1080P at 24 FPS for lower end work and monitoring, with specification up to 60 fps. We anticipate multiple way 4K may be available soon for those who need that and are not recording in camera. It also looks that on some Milos this will also become possible on the Roll slipring too. 

MILO in the Service bay @ MRMC

MILO in the Service bay @ MRMC

There are Service Engineers available to carry out this upgrade in the field for those who are interested, including replacement of one or two cable sets for the rest of the rig, and could include it as part of a service visit. We can also carry this out as a service here at MRMC for those who wish. just send an email to info@mrmoco.com or call the service line to book this upgrade.

After Sales Customer Sevice Update:

A new addition to the website is the After Sales Customer Service Survey, (shown above) and we would like to welcome anyone that has purchased a rig or head from us recently to please fill in this survey so we can learn and adapt our approach according to what you feel we are doing right or areas that we need to improve.

 For further details regarding Service Calls or to speak to a member of the After Sales Customer service team please contact Mark Roberts Motion Control directly: +441342 838 000 or info@mrmoco.com

The MRMC Titan MoCo Arm – On Set

The longest and only telescopic moco arm in the world designed and created by Mark Roberts Motion Control was unveiled in 2012. The Titan is the first precision telescopic motion control arm. Fitted to a Milo or Cyclops the reach and maximum height is more than any other motion control rig available anywhere. We have had it out and about around London, shooting at a pool side at a lido, in the field at an allotment and in and out of a few studios too. For the latest Channel 4seven ident we set the rig up on a 1.5m high platform on 36m of track. Below is a time-lapse of the shoot and also the completed ident. Because of the precise nature of the move required to enable the fold effect, the camera moves were prevized in Maya, then imported to the rig. The behind the scenes moving time-lapse shots were taken using our DSLR moco head, the SFH-30.

The Titan was also used on this Virgin Media commercial where we shot multi passes of David Tennant fighting himself. The extend of the Titan, with its close to 7m of travel was the only axis used in this pull back. Using the Titan meant we did not need to lay track in frame that would have to be taken out in post later or have the track interfere with the actors movement.

For more information on the Titan, or any other Motion Control Rig / Head available from Mark Roberts Motion control, please contact: 44 1342 838 000 or info@mrmoco.com

Upcoming Flair Motion Control Software & Milo Training days

The next planned training dates for our Flair software, including basic Milo motion control rig training will be on the 20th-22nd November. The days are for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced, in that order. If you would like to register or get more information please contact us.

Please call +44-(0)1342 838 000 or email info@mrmoco.com to book your place.

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