Tag Archives: Animoko Rig

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

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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

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”

The release of the Animoko Rig

The release of the Animoko Rig

Mark Roberts Motion Control is pleased to announce the completion and delivery of the first Animoko rig to La Cambre, the Belgian School of Visual Arts, for their Animation Department. (click here to visit the La Cambre website)

The Animoko rig was named by Kommer Kleijn, the VFX Cinematographer who came to us with the request and collaborated on the specification and design of the product, and as the name implies it is designed specifically for animation and table top shooting, where low cost and high precision are important but speed is not.

Precision though is kept sufficient for the 2K cameras used in this application by the high quality ballscrews mounted in the telescopic columns and the Harmonic gearboxes used. The rig runs from Flair software and of course can be expanded to include up to 32 axes of motion.

Another requirement that the school had was when not used the system be compact enough to fit through a door into a closet. Hence the Animoko can easily glide away using its floor castors.

For more information on the Animoko Rig contact info@mrmoco.com 


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

Need Rental Advice on Motion Control Equipment?

Need Rental Advice on Motion Control Equipment?

In a recent survey conducted by Mark Roberts Motion Control we found that one of the services you wanted from us was advice and options of what to rent and where to rent motion control equipment from. We are more than happy to offer this service and answer any questions relating to rentals.

You can always call us on +44 (0) 1342 838 000 or email info@mrmoco.com

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

Aardman Animates Another Hit!

Aardman Animates Another Hit!

Action shot from Movie

The cheese-loving Wallace and his ever faithful dog Gromit—the much-loved duo from Aardman’s Oscar®-winning clay-animated “Wallace & Gromit” shorts—star in an all new comedy adventure, ‘Wallace & Gromit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’.

The acclaimed latest feature from the award winning team was shot extensively with motion control equipment (twenty eight out of the thirty five units were motion control units).  Aardman used three of their Milo Motion control rigs and eight steppers units supplied by us here at  Mark Roberts Motion Control!

Aardman’s style of shooting makes good use of motion control, giving wonderful intricate camera moves along side their distinctive style of clay animation. In particular the Milo Motion Control camera was heavily relied upon.  “The shooting schedules were entirely worked out around the availability of the Milos because of the flexibility and range that they possess” says Tom Barnes, Aardman Features Head of cameras. “The other motion control equipment is just not capable of moves of such complexity”. The Milo possesses a working envelope from 4 metres high at lens height to 0.75 metres below ground level. “This meant that the Milo gave more freedom in 3D space as a move could be executed  from 6ft above the set vertically down to 3 ft above without any rigging obstructing its path or the need to re-rig in the event of a move change”

Motion control was born in particular from basic stop frame animation. An inanimate object is made to appear animated by slightly moving it in small increments for each frame of photography using the conventional animation technique . Once the animator has moved the object, one frame of film is then exposed. When the film runs continuously for more than 15 frames per second, the illusion of continuous movement is created and the objects appears to move by themselves. This is similar to the animation of cartoons, but used by Aardman with clay models instead of drawings. One feature of Motion control means that you can preview the entire intricate animation move prior to filming. The 3 dimensional move is entered into a software program, in this case Mark Roberts Motion Control’s  Academy Award winning Flair, which controls the motion control rig. It is then run and viewed in its entirety by the director, then shot frame by frame the animator.

3D MILO Diagram

While stop-motion appears to be a fantastic way to bring vivid realism to animated objects, it has one drawback. When you film an object, person or animal with a moving camera at the conventional 24 frames per second, each frame of film from that sequence will contain motion blur. Motion blur occurs with stills photography when the camera is moving or the subject is moving. There is some blurring of moving objects or backgrounds. But in traditional stop motion cinematography, neither the object being animated nor the camera is moving when each frame of film is exposed. The animator is moving the object in between frames. Therefore, the animated object has no motion blur giving it a slightly “jerky” motion instead of  smooth movement.To remedy this lack of motion blur in stop motion animation, “go-motion” (also known as “moving-step”) was created. Normally  different parts of the model miniature being animated were hooked up to a computer to create a slight movement when the camera was exposing a frame of film, producing a motion blur. This alleviated the “jerky” motion, creating believable lifelike creatures. Now however one of the many features within Flair gives you  ‘motion blur animation’  where every frame is exposed while the camera is moving as if the move were being shot continuously. The motion control rig ‘backs up’ then moves, shooting  the single frame.  Not only can single framing can be done forwards or backwards, you can put in an automatic delay after each step, specify the number of camera exposure frames with each step, and the number of move frames to progress with each step.


One of Aardman’s Milos on the set of ‘The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’



Head Office (UK)


+44 (0)1342 838000


+44 (0)1342 838001


+44 (0)1342 838015

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Eastbourne Road
Blindley Heath
United Kingdom

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Head Office (USA)


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Tom Landsmann

Philadelphia, PA