Tag Archives: TALOS Motion Control Rig
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The 7 Uses of Motion Control
(This is the full article previously published in parts)
|Did we say 7 uses? – Well that’s not quite true. There are in fact countless. To many to list in a newsletter in detail, but there are generally 7 main reasons for using motion control. These categories are listed below and we will be covering them all in greater detail.
The best known category of use is Repeat Moves and is the basis for all motion control. A good quality motion control system can repeat any camera movement with extreme accuracy, countless times. Once a camera can repeat the movement a whole range of effects can be created. One of the simplest effects is making elements appear or disappear. This is done by filming, for example, an empty room and then filming again with the motion control camera but this time with an actor or some furniture in the room. One can then take the 2 shots and easily mix between the two to make it appear that the furniture or actor is appearing or disappearing. Another possibility is to shoot the room again but this time have the same actor stand in a different position. Now in the finished shot one effectively has duplicated the actor so there are several copies of him on the screen. What about a crowd? Crowd replication is the same idea applied to a battle-field or a busy street scene where one requires hundreds of actors, or maybe identical cars or planes. Well why not take a handful of actors or one plane and simply shoot the same scene again and again with the actors or plane in different positions. Then when compositing it is easy to make it look like a huge number of people or even objects were involved. If one requires the backgound to change instead of the foreground, one could shoot an actor on green-screen and then use the motion control system to shoot a room and a street. Now it becomes very simple in post-production to make it appear that the background is changing for the actor from a room to a street. Motion control is also used when filming animals with other animals or humans that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. For example, imagine creating a shot of a baby playing next to a group of real lions. Or what about a leopard walking next to a zebra. Additionally, where a shot can only be done with an animal trainer controlling the animal, it is possible to shoot a “clean pass” of the scene. Once one has a clean pass, it is very simple and an almost automated process to remove the trainer from the scene to only leave the animal. Because Mark Roberts Motion Control systems are designed to be ultra accurate, one can shoot at different film speeds and combine the shots seamlessly. For example, one could have an actor walking and talking at live-action while everyone around him is moving in slow-motion or high-speed. The repeatability of the motion control camera means you can shoot at 4FPS (frames per second) and then again at 120FPS and when combining the two, it will be impossible to see a join. Another area that is covered by the Repeat Moves category is animation and mixing animation with live-action.
Another form of “scaling” is often used that does not actually involve a difference in scale, only in position or orientation. It is possible to tell the software to rotate the move in any direction. For example, if one has a box and one wants to make it appear that people are walking on many of its different sides, then one shoots a scene with an actor walking on top of the box. Then one shoots again but telling the motion control rig to rotate the move by 90 degrees. Now those 2 takes can be seamlessly composited to make it appear that one actor (or even the same actor) was walking on 2 different sides of the box, completely defying gravity. This trick could be done with staircases, or with rooms, of having people walking on the walls and ceiling (as can be seen on the Showreel – Motion Control Explained).
Another use of controlled moves, is when using complex lenses or even macro lenses. For some shots, one requires a snorkel lens (a lens with a right angle turn in it) or a long boroscope lens, to get into very tight spots or in between scale models (e.g. models of buildings). Controlling a camera with such lens by hand is very complex, but by using a motion control rig, one can program in the move very quickly and then get the shot. The move is easily adjusted and edited to get the exact move required. Similarly, if shooting with a macro lens, when shooting very close to an object, all camera movements become greatly magnified. It becomes quite hard to move a camera by hand without the shot looking unsteady, wobbly or shakey. But a motion control rig controls the camera movement very accurately down to fractions of millimetres, so extreme close-ups are easy to program and shoot, and of course the lighting can also be adjusted to suit the shot.
Frame-by-frame animation although discussed in part 1 – Repeat Moves – is also closely related to the controlled moves use of motion control. The whole camera move is programmed into the motion control rig, and all the focus and lighting adjusted as one continous move before shooting the scene using stop-frame animation.
Mark Roberts Motion Control is the only company in the world to design and create all the parts of a motion control system, including the mechanics and the software. This means that features have been built into the Flair software that are not possible on any other system. It has such an accurate model of the mechanics that it also gets used for real-time applications such as Virtual Studios or on-the-set graphics previews, where the CGI elements are added in real-time to the live video footage, according to the real-time XYZ data from Flair.
One could film an actor in a live set and use the CGI export data to add foreground elements for the actor to interact with, or one could additional background elements. Adding additional background elements is sometimes refered to as digital matte painting, where a graphics artist creates a model of scenes in the distance that don’t require as much detail as the scenes shot with a camera in the foreground. This is often used for feature films, such as Gladiator, A Knight’s Tale, or Star Wars, where a live scene is filmed, sometimes using a scale model, and then the background is changed to have some amazing city, skyline, or mountain in the background, and because the camera XYZ’s are known precisely, once the digital matte painting is created, adding it with the right scale and perspective is easy.
When exporting CGI data, motion control moves do not have to be pre-programmed. One may need to accurately follow an actor or an animal, or the director may want a very erratic, “human” or steady-cam looking move, and these are all easily done using remotehandwheels or the popular Grip-Sticks which allow a Director of Photography to simply push the motion control camera by hand, as if it were hand-held or on a crane, all the while recording the movement and the camera position for exporting to CGI.
CGI Import is the term given to any move data that is transferred from 3D CGI (Computer Generated Images) software to a motion control camera. Because the Flair motion control software has a very accurate Inverse-Kinematics model of the rig moving the camera, including the exact parameters of the optical lens, it is very simple for it to move the camera to any 3D position in space (referred to asXYZ position).
Effectively, one can plan and storyboard a whole shot in software packages such as Softimage(tm) or Maya(tm), and then arrive on set and have the camera achieve the exact same shot. Because moves have been created in a graphics environment, complex effects can be achieved. Additionally, because everything about the shot is known beforehand, less waste is achieved on set (by not building oversize sets or backgrounds, only getting the exact lights and grip equipment required, having less planning and unknowns occurring on-set) thereby reducing actual production costs.
This whole action of pre-planning moves is referred to as Pre-visualisation, and is becoming common place on large feature film productions as well as commercials and music promos.
Pictures courtesy of Pixel Liberation Front
The Panic Room is one of many recent productions, including Harry Potter, K19, Dinotopia, Black Hawk Down, and Spiderman, that makes heavy use of pre-visualisation. Using Softimage|XSI, Pixel Liberation Front managed to create an animated CG version of the 105-page script of Panic Room for David Fincher’s latest Columbia Tri-Star movie. It was used as the primary animation tool to pre-visualize the entire set, camera positionings and movements, as well as character moves, in order to facilitate the actual shoot and production of the film. It was a creative tool for Fincher and it provided an enormous amount of detailed technical, and pre-production information for every aspect of making the movie – from art direction to music scoring to set construction.
Ron Frankel, PLF’s previsualization supervisor explains:
“David Fincher’s goal was to produce a coherent 3-D animated and edited cut of the film before the shooting even began. The scenes we created with XSI included the set, characters, key props and set dressing. We were able to animate the scenes with XSI to indicate both character blocking and camera movement, giving a sense of how individual shots would look before they were filmed and how they would be edited together into a sequence. The 3-D scenes were highly interactive, allowing film director David Fincher to refine actor blocking, timing, camera position and other factors, and immediately see the results. The animation was also used to derive a wealth of information relative to set construction, camera equipment needs, set dressing and so forth, making it an invaluable asset to the production crew. This saved time and money that would otherwise have been spent on set configuration, camera placement and rehearsals. ”
Motion control can be used to match camera array shots. Camera Array shots are also known as frozen moment or time-slicing orbullet-time (made famous in The Matrix). Because the camera array represents a moving camera path the same path can be defined in a motion control move. This allows all of the other effects that are possible with motion control to be combined with frozen moments. For example, a live action pass filmed with motion control allows for the insertion of a moving person into a frozen scene.
Motion control can also be used to get into and out of frozen moment shots seamlessly. A camera move can begin with a motion control move and switch at some point to the camera array. The motion control system moves the motion picture camera¹s position from a start position to the first position of the camera array, at which point the camera array is triggered. In post production a straight cut joins the two shots. Dayton Taylor¹s company, Digital Air (http://www.virtualcamera.com), has produced a special Arri mount lens with a mirror in front of it that allows a motion picture camera¹s point of view to connect with his Timetrack camera without the two cameras crashing into each other at the transition point.
Because frozen moment shots often use interpolation to create in-between frames, the number of cameras in the array does not necessarily equal the number of frames in the final shot. Interpolation is used to overcome camera spacing limitations. Frames can be interpolated that appear to have been recorded from camera positions between the actual cameras. When integrating camera array shots with motion control, scenes can be designed that take this into account. For example, even a small (ten camera) array can produce a significant spatial perspective shift. If the ten camera array shot is interpolated to sixty frames then the corresponding match move motion control shot should record all sixty frames, not just the ten frames that match the camera array¹s individual camera positions. This is particularly useful because it allows interpolation to be used only on the elements which require it and motion control can be used to produce the footage of the other elements in the shot such as background and moving elements.
The photos below show Digital Air’s camera array being used with the Milo motion control rig, for a Schweppes commercial. Director Jon Hollis from Smoke and Mirrors, London, used Timetrack cameras for product shots and a Milo for matched moves of the background, which included the commercial’s main character, a talking leopard:
Specific Music Video Effects – Audio Timecode Triggering
A similar in-studio effect is achieved in the recent award winning Outkast Hey-Ya. Another example is where very fast camera moves are required and the speed of the timecode is actually slowed down during shooting. When the footage is then played back the actors appear to be singing in realtime but the camera motions around them are extremely fast.
*** 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Roberts Motion Control Ltd.
The Talos visits the Middle East
The Talos is definitely clocking up it’s frequent flyer miles. As you have heard in previous newsletters, since the release of the rig it has been in use right across Europe. This past month saw the Talos make a trip to the sandy deserts of Egypt where it was used on six different locations including in a wheat field, orange grove and a busy construction site set in Cairo.
Motion Control Europe are enjoying all the benefits of the Talos including a lot more rental opportunities. The rig has proved to be extremely popular with production companies due to its compact, light-weight design, its speed of set up and ability to fit through a standard doorway. Alex De Heus from Motion Control Europe said, its light-weight design has also reduced shipping costs opening up an International market for the Talos to go anywhere in the world. It is not yet an inflatable rig, but I am sure Mark Roberts is working on one.
The Talos in the desert in Egypt
The Talos in a wheat field in Egypt
The Talos on a construction site set in Egypt
The Talos in the studio being used with a T-Rex snorkel lens
*** Dulux Let’s Colour Project ***
Working with Stink UK and Director Adam Berg (well known in the moco world as the Director of “Carousel” for Phillips, shot using the Milo by the VFX Co.) Let’s Colour was shot over five weeks and took us to four continents. The shoot started in Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and ended in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India with a couple of days in Paris and London in between.
Ulti-Head on track in Rio (left) and in Jodphur (right)
In Rio and Jodhpur Stink UK required a light weight system with pan tilt and tracking of up to 30m that could be checked in as luggage and flown to these locations with the crew. We customed a rig with the Ulti-Head on track with a belt system that would allow the rig to run on standard dolly rail. In Paris and London the Talos was used with 21m of track. For fill in and multiple viewpoints we used the SFH-30 with DSLR cameras.
Most of the shooting was done using ten or twenty second exposures shooting preplanned moves, with the Arri 435. For the variable speed moves we ramped the camera using the features in Flair from these low frame rates up to 25 fps as part of the move.
See links below to watch the Director’s Cut and the making of.
Talos in Paris (top)
and in London school yard with the SFH-30 (below)
*** 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
*** Talos at Vis a Vis Film Germany ***
The below commercial for the VW Golf was shot in Berlin, Germany with the Talos motion control rig based at Vis a Vis Film. For the interiors the Vis a Vis Film crew used the SFH-30 pan tilt head with the RED One on it. The SFH-30 was choosen due to its compact size to get close ups of the car’s interior features.
Click here to see the making of this commercial by Vis a Vis Film
Need Rental Advice on Motion Control Equipment?
To discuss your rental requirements and get advice on renting motion control equipment contact Mark Roberts Motion Control. No matter where you are located in the world, we can help you with motion control.
You can always call us on +44 (0) 1342 838 000 or email email@example.com