MrMoco Rentals & The Visual Effects Company Merge to Become the World’s Largest Motion Control Robotics Rental Company
Mark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC) and The Visual Effects Company (VFX) are merging their Motion Control rental operations to become the world’s largest, one-stop MOCO shop.
The new look MRMC/VFX plans to offer a far greater selection of motion control rigs, from standard MOCO fronted by brand new, academy award winning Milos through to integrated model movers, turntables and moving platforms. No company has a broader range and more product available, complemented by some of the most skilled MOCO operators in the world.
In addition, the company is able to offer creative and technical Previsualisation in 3D so that, for clients for whom it is appropriate, the entire series of shoots can be pre-planned, pre-seen, edited and tweaked all prior to making the first camera shot.
Malcolm Wooldridge, Principal of VFX, says:
“VFX has been a customer of Mark Roberts for 15 years. It makes total sense for us to combine our offerings to make Motion Control the “go to” choice in visual effects. Working together will enhance our techniques and skills to deliver an even better all-round service to our customers.”
Assaff Rawner, CEO of MRMC followed on with:
“We are very excited about this merger. MRMC won an Academy Award with the Milo for “changing the way Hollywood works”. With the skills of VFX and MRMC’s ever improving equipment, we are looking forward to changing the way visual effects work in 2018 and beyond and extending these out to other industries as well.”
Billy Ziller, MRMC’s Manager of Rental Operations, said:
“We are excited to begin this new chapter because we are relentlessly focused on the same goal – to deliver the best robotics solutions for our customers.”
The Visual Effects Company is a team of dedicated professionals, utilizing the most up to date Motion Control equipment and camera robotic systems as well as AR/VR real-time camera tracking equipment. The Company also provides a technical previsualization (pre-viz) service for all our Motion Control and High Speed Robots. It prides itself in offering an innovative approach to solving our clients project needs as well as a production service for those clients who require a convenient in-house solution.
Brain Candy Films were tasked by creative agency Tinker Taylor to create an epic film for the police to be shown in cinemas nationwide. The filmmakers decided to put the viewer right in the heart of the action, giving them a first hand insight into the demanding and diverse role of modern-day policing. They wanted to give the audience a unique view into the extraordinary job that police officers do and they chose a rather extraordinary way to do it.
The film shows four frozen moments in time. Each moment is seen as a single, continuous shot that allows the viewer to take in every glorious detail, taking you on a journey through a singular, explosive moment. This approach allowed the filmmakers to put the viewer right in the middle of the action, highlighting the cohesive efforts of the police and all the officers involved at one crucial moment in time. They achieved this effect with the help of motion control
Motion control was used in three of the scenes to move through the frozen action in a smooth, fluid path, making it possible to drip feed information to the viewer and allowing each scene to slowly unravel until the big picture comes into focus. The films use cinematic visuals to grab the audience’s attention but they feel grounded in realism with meticulous production design. Everything from the props, to the costumes and the lighting gives the feeling that you’re witnessing a real moment in time. Careful and precise art-direction and seamless CGI effects give complete authenticity to the scenes.
One of Brain Candy’s main aims with the film was to capture a much in camera as possible and rely on CGI as little as possible. The level of precision that motion control provides meant that they could fill the frame with real details and just use CGI to supplement what was already there, with a few exceptions! CGI was superbly handled by Manchester based Flipbook Studios and the fact that they were able to do multiple passes meant that they had clean plates, which dramatically reduced the VFX workload.
Three of the four scenes were shot on Alexa using motion control rigs supplied by Mark Roberts Motion Control, with the fourth scene being shot on steadicam with the RED Dragon. Cinematographer James Stoneley chose to use a combination of the Talos and Titan motion control rigs on the shoot, as each of the scenes had its own unique challenges. The reason the filmmakers chose to use motion control is that it allowed the camera to follow a perfectly orchestrated, pre-determined path through the action. They were able to cover huge areas, change camera level & repeat the move perfectly – making tweaks every pass until happy.
The mighty Titan was used in two of the four scenes, the Raid and the Riot, where the filmmakers needed the full 9 metre extension to cover a lot of ground. The Titan is unrivalled in its size and this made it possible to convey a sense of scale in the scenarios that was imperative to create the sense of a cohesive effort between the police and the community. For example, in the Raid scene the camera booms out of the back of a van, passes along a street, around a corner, down an alleyway and up passed a team of armed police officers on a fire escape, before descending back to ground level to land on a person being arrested. All in one shot. There is simply no other tool that would have been able to achieve this.
James Stoneley, cinematographer and Creative Director at Brain Candy Films, commented on a particularly tricky scene:
"I have worked with the Talos before so it was an obvious choice for the House scene. The scene was shot on set but space was still a consideration because of how we chose to film it. In order to make it feel like we’re really stuck in the corridor with the officers in the midst of the commotion, we wanted the camera to physically be inside the walls of the set and we also wanted to be able to look back at the end of the scene and see the corridor walls. This meant building a set with a “floating” wall that could be swung in and out of the set, allowing the Talos and camera to pass through the corridor where the wall ends up. This took some careful choreography from our stage hands!"
The four individual films are playing in cinemas across the country in over 800 feature presentations.
Brain Candy’s website – braincandyfilms.com
MRMC’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
MrMoco is no stranger to Hollywood productions; with countless credits in many of the top blockbuster movies, including Avengers: Age of Ultron; Jupiter Ascending; Skyfall and Maleficent to name just a few. Now MrMoco’s ever popular Bolt High Speed CineBot finds itself involved in Marvel’s latest production: Antman!
High speed motion control photography was needed to shoot some exciting explosions and fires at high speed but down at the scale of an Ant! Using small lenses to get the camera close to the model sets, the Bolt High Speed CineBot was the ideal tool for these shots – combining its high speed with accuracy, precision and synchronized triggers for firing miniature explosions and fires.
These actions are all tied together through MRMC’s Flair software, which can be used to control the entire move and programmed to fire the triggers at precise points, ensuring reliable, accurate and repeatable movement.
The Bolt worked on several scenes near the climax of the movie, including one clip inside a full size helicopter with the Bolt reaching in through the side and executing the exact move required at high speed with only millimetres to spare!
Another shot involved tracking alongside an architectural model where a CG Antman would be running while triggering numerous explosions to simulate bullets being fired at Antman. Multiple passes of the same move were done to maximise the number of explosions and craters created for Antman to dodge, and to pepper the buildings with pockmarks and fire. Multiple passes with different focuses on some of the sets also allowed CG artists to build up an infinite depth of field to blend in with the explosion passes.
Rocket Inc. are making waves in the Far East with their latest showing at InterBee in the Makuhari Messe exhibition centre near Tokyo, Japan. The film & TV rental company had on display the Bolt High Speed CineBot, which generated a lot of interest at the show. The high-speed rig was setup on a track giving viewers a full demonstration of its speed and accuracy up and down the track. Fascinatingly, Rocket Inc., claim they are the only company in the world who have a team of grips made up entirely of women! Sounds like a great team!! www.rocketjapan.com
See a few photos of the Bolt and some of the Rocket Inc. team below:
Last month our rental department headed to Italy for Milan Fashion Week, the third stop of the fashion month marathon. The office was left completely bare with all the motion control rigs on the catwalk for designer Philipp Plein’s unveiling of his women’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection.
The attendees showed up in their glad rags and so did the rigs, having been wrapped head to toe in white for the occasion. The show consisted of a 30m conveyor belt that the models travelled along while the rigs scanned them, passed them sunglasses, mirrors to check themselves out and handbags to complete their look.
Our largest telescopic motion control crane, the Titan took control of the entire show appearing to run a touch screen that selected the programs that the models would go through along the production line. While several fashion shows happen each evening over the week, Philipp Plein’s show stole all the headlines on the opening night of Milan Fashion Week and was picked up by all the major fashion magazines and newspapers.
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”.
The MrMoco team took the Bolt rig to Madrid earlier in the year for Honda's latest Civic Commercial. Produced by RSA films and directed by Johnny Hardstaff the commercial showed Honda’s attention to detail to create that perfect feeling when driving. Shooting a mixture of frame rates on a Phantom flex it appears as though the car is suspended in its surroundings allowing Honda's engineers to manipulate the environment to create the maximum feeling of joy.
The commercial was shot over various locations around Madrid – including a 15ft high platform in a forest and also on a motorway flyover. The MrMoco team often film in sunny Spain – at the beginning of June the crew travelled to Barcelona with a Milo to shoot in Espanyol's Stadium, and only a few weeks back, were shooting again in Barcelona with the Bolt running on 30 metres of track laid in a field! More on that shoot coming soon.