Tag Archives: 3D Stereoscopic Motion Control

Creating stereoscopic & stop-motion effects with the S3 Stepper

For Mikael Ohlson, a stop-motion animator, creating stereoscopic 3D and stop-motion is something he has always loved to do. His recent project titled Wolfie’s two magic words is a fine example of his work, and you can watch the videos below.

He used MRMC’s S3 stepper rig to create the video and commented “it is the ideal choice when it comes to combining the two. The installation of the rig is very quick and easy, and the S3 is also very reliable using Dragonframe software”.

The short film consists of 1,124 individual frames for each eye -meaning the rig had to slide from left to right 1,124 times. Mikael commented, “By using the S3 stepper rig, I never encountered any problems with it whatsoever”. 

For previous work Mikael used a manual rig that he designed and built, where he would have to step over or around lights, cables and tripods to access the rig in order to slide it from its left position to the right for every single frame. In Wolfie's two magic words Mikael worked with three different characters that acted simultaneously and it was crucial to keep 100% focused on the animation. In some of the trickier parts of the sequence it could take up to one hour to shoot one frame of animation, so working with a rig that could accurately and smoothly slide itself from side to side saved lots of time, as well as preventing any accidental shifting of the camera position too far over.

“Personally I think a lot of movies that are made in 3D could take much more advantage of the 3D effect than what they currently do, so I like to make it a ‘Wow – experience’ to watch my 3D material, and I want people to take notice of the outstanding 3D as much as my smooth stop-motion” Mikael comments. See his animation video Wolfie’s two magic words below.

For more information on the S3 Stereoscopic Stepper click here

Screen shot

Screen Shot 2

MRMC – Flair via Ethernet & Product Developments

Mark Roberts Motion Control are leaders in the world of Motion Control Products, and have been supplying cutting edge Rigs and equipment to the industry for nearly 50 years*. Mark Roberts Motion Control rigs are now the defacto systems used around the world for feature films, music videos and commercials, with Broadcast solutions and other related industries now also selecting MRMC Rigs and Heads as their first choice.

We are proud to be the official UK supplier
of Robotic Equipment
 to Nikon at the Olympics.

Famously our Rigs and Heads have been used by Aardman in their feature films and TV Hit Wallace & Grommit, as well as more recent productions such as “Pirates, in an adventure with Scientists”.

Shot from Curse of the Were Rabbit

Our Goal

Our goal is to broaden the horizons of Film and Television production by supplying Motion Control equipment which enables creative moves to be entered quickly and easily, and greatly increasing creative potentials and realizations.

To that end we are constantly seeking out and working with companies that push the envelope and are playing a major part in the shaping of Motion Control and Motion Control Techniques.

The S4 Stereoscopic Stepper with Convergence

Stop Motion Pro worked very closeley with us in developing the interfacing of the S4 and with their input the MRMC S4 stereoscopic stepper is now fully compatible with Stop Motion Pro.

Specially Modified SFH-30 for Jewellery Photography Controlled using FLAIR

Flair,The Ultimate Camera Control Software was developed in house and has been used for many years by MOCO Operators and professionals.

“Unlike most other Motion Control Software, Flair is written for film-making and is a winner from a film-makers point of view. Camera Moves are easily programmable and highly adjustable, with a variety of options to change the move’s parameters. the front end software is clear and the graphic displays are very helpful”
— Oliver Kunz, Studio Chief, Brains and Pictures, Vienna

The perfect partner to our Pan/Tilt Heads and Rigs has just been released fully enabled for Ethernet control. Thus making it more accessible to such environments as TV Broadcast and both studio based or outside filming.

Tim Richardson, a key member of the original line-up that released Flair and newly returned to our development team, recently announced:
“These days we sell Flair software ready to install on a laptop plus the head itself. It really is as simple as plug-and-play”.

For more details on this or any other recent developments please contact Mark Roberts Motion Control
T: 01342 838 000


*in 1966 originally the company was called mark Roberts Film Services.

Annecy 2012 – Mark Roberts Motion Control

Mark Roberts Motion Control will be returning to the annual showcase and celebration of professionalism and dedication to the world of
Stop-motion animation, Annecy 2012.

We attended for the first time only a couple of years ago, and are very proud and delighted to announce we will be returning again this year.

The MRMC Animoko Rig on Set

The Animoko Rig, will once again be making an appearance as will the S4 Stereoscopic Stepper. Both have proved to be extremely popular in the production of feature length Movies, and recently in terms of the Animoko for still life fashion shoots.

Front-on shot of the S4

We will also be bringing the Pan/Tilt Head SFH-30 with Monorail slider to the show, which has been extremely popular this year, with many heads being used on the worldwide stage in perhaps the greatest sporting event in the calendar this year being hosted by London in 2012.

Pan / Tilt Head SFH-30

SFH-30 on slider

SFH-30 with camera Mounted

You will find us together with Stop Motion Pro at the Annecy Festival 6th to 8th June. We look forward to seeing you there.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like to book a demonstration at the Mark Roberts Motion Control Studios.

Contact Mark Roberts Motion Control
T: 01342 838 000


The MOCO Forum

*** Don’t Forget the Moco Forum *** 

Remember everyone is welcome to become a free member of the online motion control forum. It’s a great place to ask questions about motion control and how to get things done on set or off. We want to see this service get used as much as possible so join today. http://www.mocoforum.com

Do you know anyone else who should be getting regularly informed about the industry? Let us know; we would be happy to send them our newsletters or DVD Showreel – The 2006 Motion Control Explained DVD. Email showreel@mrmoco.com to request one.If you would like to have more information about CGI, remote heads, cranes, dollies, accessories or any other filming equipment please let us know at info@mrmoco.com

Mark Roberts Motion Control Ltd.
Tel: +44-1342-838 000
Fax:+44-1342-838 001

Milo shoots “splashing” 3D Stereoscopic Spot for Fuji

Milo shoots “splashing” 3D Stereoscopic Spot for Fuji

When Fuji wanted a commercial that really communicated the 3D Stereoscopic capabilities of their new camera, they turned to director Tim Stoffel to bring across the message about their Fuji Finepix Real 3dw3. The camera takes pictures in perfect stereo and even shoots 720p HD video in stereoscopic.

With the help of Julian Hermanssen, from Visual Distractions, as the VFX supervisor and Frank Griebe at the helm as DoP (famed for his work on movies such as Run Lola Run, Perfume and The International), the end result as you will see from the “Making of” video is quite spectacular.

Initial pre-production testing with a Swiss-Rig stereo system carrying 2x F23 Sony cameras on a Milo motion control rig takes place in Germany with TKL (a Hamburg based motion control company).

Then for the actual production, although the scene looks like New York, it was actually all filmed in Sofia Bulgaria, at an outside film lot, with another Milo.

The basic premise for the commercial is that a man shows his friends his New York pictures and they walk around in the scene, frozen time. The water in the scene is also standing, frozen, but when one friend asks if the camera can shoot video too, everything starts to move and the water runs and he gets wet.

Photos from shootsClick to see Behind the Scenes Footage

VFX Supervisor Julian said, “We wanted to shoot most of the effects in camera, so we had the skater rigged on wires and some objects on rigs. To be able to do cleanup work and to allow for combination of takes (since getting the 2 children to stand perfectly still is quite difficult) we decided to use motion control. Using motion control also allowed us to do a separate tracking pass with some light stands right in front of the camera. This tracking pass was very important on this shot because it increases your precision in 3D tracking a lot and we had to integrate CGI water right in front of the camera. With this tracking pass we had a very stable solution and easily calculated both cameras precisely from the footage of the 2 cameras on the stereo rig.”

Julian further explains, “We used clean plates for rig removals, split layers of the actors from different takes and since we had a tree and some wind on the set we were able to shoot an extra pass for the tree when the wind was still. To time all that with actors, kids and the skater and do it in one take when there was no wind, would have taken a while without motion control.”

“We did the CGI water as a fluid simulation in ‘realflow’ with motion blur along the direction of the fountain (not because that is realistic in this camera move but it is how people are used to seeing this kind of image from real life photos, since we wanted the tip to have very clear drops we had a falloff on the motionblur from start to tip). In the end we did quite a lot of replacements on the set, scaled one actor (the skater) to 75% size in a camera move for a cinemascope version (requested after the shoot) and also added some CGI water on scenes with real moving water.

Without  the extra layers shot by the Milo we couldn’t have done it at all. Everything worked out really well on the spot and everyone was really happy with the result.”

MRMC for the first time at Annecy Film Festival

MRMC for the first time at Annecy Film Festival

  8-10 June 2011
Annecy, France
Join Mark Roberts Motion Control at the Annecy Film Festival this year in Annecy France.
We will have some of our latest products in stop frame animation on display and available for demonstration including the Animoko Rig (seen here on the left), the S3 Steroscopic 3D stepper and new S4 Steroscopic stepper with convergence.We will also be bringing along the
SFH-30 Pan Tilt Head with track system
for stop frame animation.We look forward to seeing you at the show.

The Animoko Rig on stop frame feature, “The Sandman and the Lost Sand of Dreams”

*** S4 Stereoscopic 3D Stepper with Convergence ***

 *** S4 Stereoscopic 3D Stepper with Convergence ***

Shown here in a left frame and right frame position with a change of convergence

Mark Roberts Motion Control have taken the ever popular 3D Stereoscopic stepper to new heights and are pleased to offer the new S4. The S4 is an ideal unit for anyone shooting 3D Stereoscopic animation, to automatically move and trigger the camera to capture the left and right eye images. The S4 is the larger brother to the S3 released last year and includes an optional Convergence module. Some of the features of the S4 include stronger motor, gearbox and chassis for larger camera packages in any orientation, built in matte bar/focus rod holders, USB communication to animation software, control of both interocular distance (distance between left and right eye), and convergence (angle of view between left and right eye). The Convergence module clips on allowing the S4 to be used with or without it.

If you would like to have more information please email info@mrmoco.com


Mark Roberts Motion Control Ltd.
Tel: +44-1342-838000

Animoko making of, Sandman and the Lost Sand of Dreams

Animoko making of, Sandman and the Lost Sand of Dreams

Julian Hermannsen from Visual Distractions Ltd. worked as the Motion Control and Visual Effects Supervisor on the recently released German stop-motion feature, The Sandman and the Lost Sand of Dreams produced by Scopas Medien. From the outset it was clear that the five-month principal photography was going to be tight, so efficiency and creative solutions to keep both deadlines and quality were top priorities.

The shoot involved 21 units (18 active) in a 2,500 square meters studio space in Babelsberg Studios near Berlin and more than 100 crew members from all over Europe. The movie was shot on Canon 5D MKII. There were several motion control systems in use, from simple rotation plates or linear rails up to complete 6-axis systems, the Animoko/Flair system from MRMC being the most versatile of them.

Apart from the regular shooting of passes for animation, clean plate and tracking for the camera moves, one of the main challenges was the amount of heavy flying objects (cars, planes, boats, helicopters). With movement and rotation on 6 axes this turned out to be impossible to rig for the animators and to light in the small unit size of mostly 6 x 8m. A setup with the Animoko and another moco system was used in combination to realise these shots.

The animation was done in 3ds Max and then translated to the object using custom software tools. The rotation part was split off and imported into a 6-axis model mover to assure realistic lighting changes, while the spatial movement was imported into Flair to be shot with the Animoko. Using this setup it was possible to animate and prepare one shot in 3d, while another one was being shot by an animator animating the characters on the vehicles.

The Director, Sinem Sakaoglu said the following, “This set up facilitated the communication with my team because I was able to see the movement before the animator even walked on the set. I can’t imagine having done this shoot without such a system.”


The 3d import functions was also used on the opening shot, a 45sec camera move flying over a landscape of clouds. The move was created in 3d as one move and then cut into three pieces. The three parts were dressed and shot in the same unit consecutively and put together as one seamless shot.

The Animoko was perfect not only because it was compact enough to fit in the small units and easy to program but also allowed for all the more complex functions of the bigger systems like spatially offsetting/scaling moves which were even used mid-shot to compensate for overnight set shifts.

*** Upcoming Shows: BIRTV, IBC, Cinec ***

*** Upcoming Shows: BIRTV, IBC, Cinec ***

 MRMC will be exhibiting at the following shows with the Modula Rig, the Talos, S3  3D Stereoscopic Stepper, Animoko Rig and for the first time the SFH-50 Pan Tilt Head with Roll axis. Please let us know if you will be attending. We look forward to seeing you there!

Note: Today is the final day for free registration to IBC 2010. Save £50 by registering now. Click here

August 23rd-26th, Beijing, China

September 10th-14th, Amsterdam, Netherlands



September 18th-20th, Munich, Germany

*** S3 3D Stereoscopic Animation Unit ***

*** S3 3D Stereoscopic Animation Unit ***

 It is now 12 months since the S3 3D Stereoscopic Stepper/Slider unit was released and in that time it has gone from strength to strength being used in everything from commercials, to feature films and TV series and in all corners of the globe. Being compatible with MACs and PCs and all major animation and motion control systems, as well as all standard DSLRs has made it very popular and its affordability has meant anyone can get their hands on one.


 Since its first release there have been numerous software upgrades which have added new features and given performance improvements. The unit itself has been upgraded mechanically since its first release with a stronger motor and strengthened chassis and is capable of carrying large weights even at an angle (for example 4kg at 30 degrees inclined or 3kg at 45 degrees). It can even lift almost 2kg at a degree incline all from the humble USB port. It has been tested with MAC OS, Windows XP/Vista/Win 7 32-bit & 64-bit.

Soon the release of the new S4 unit will offer customers the ability to have a 3D Stereoscopic unit capable of having a convergence option (more info to follow in later updates).

Aardman Animations, currently working on their next feature film had this to say: “At Aardman Animations we have been using the S3 stereoscopic stepper unit for 3D animation on our latest feature film, currently still in production. MRMC have been very helpful adapting the unit to suit our needs, such as adding a step and direction output so we can utilise different motion control equipment and 3D trackers with the units. We have been using up to 30 units in our studios on different shots, controlling them via the USB serial communications by Stop Motion Pro 7 creating a complete stereo solution taking both frames and moving the camera with a single button push. So far the S3 has greatly increased the speed of shooting and helped create accurate 3D images adequate for theatre projection.” – Morgan Roe Production Technical Engineer

Bjoern Gottwald used his S3 to create his Bachelor thesis at the University of Applied Science in Augsburg, Germany. We were really impressed when he proudly sent us footage of his “trailer” called Embers set in a post-apocalyptical world, where humans are outnumbered by machines…. Well worth seeing, click here.

For more information on the 3D Stereoscopic Unit click here.


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