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Novice to Motion Control seeks advice


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#1 Britt Neufer

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 06:26 PM

Im shooting with Motion Control. Not sure exactly with what camera yet, but I am looking for Pros, Cons, in's and out's what's the knitty gritty I should know about?

Thanks a mucho-
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#2 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 06:38 PM

This forum requires the use of a full first and last name.

Stephan Williams, a member of this forum might be able to give you some pointers.
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#3 Britt Neufer

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 07:25 PM

Thanks for the tip.
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#4 John Brawley

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 10:47 PM

Im shooting with Motion Control. Not sure exactly with what camera yet, but I am looking for Pros, Cons, in's and out's what's the knitty gritty I should know about?

Thanks a mucho-



The first thing is that it will always take 3 times longer than you think it will. Each rig is also tends to be a bit of a one-off science project so they all have their little quirks. Each rig is practically hand built with all sorts of unique components. Is it a move on tracks ? Just a head ? boom arm as well ?

If it's the full catastrophe with all the tracks and accessories etc, I would allow at least 4 hours of setup time

There are usually two ways to program the shot. You can previsualise it in 3D, or do it on the day with the operator.

Obviously, doing it in 3D is faster on the day, because the programming has already been done. If you have to program the move on set then this can be really very tedious and time consuming. In fact it can take hours. Often you have two days. One to set up and program, then the second to actually shoot.

It really depends on the the style of shot you're doing. By programming on the fly, you can make small allowances for things such as actors wanting to be in a different mark or to change their timing. If you pre-program the move, you might lock yourself into timing that can't be achieved or look right with a real actor.

The operator will also be crucial. The biggest issue is time. It always always always takes a long time. I've been on shoots where the computer crashes, the rig doesn't calibrate or won't return to the zero mark. It just takes a long time to fix those little things.

The camera is usually a 435 or a mitchell.

jb
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#5 Stephen Williams

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 06:02 AM

Hi,

John just about sums it up. If the software is clever like Mark Roberts Flair, programming a move should not take that long. Lighting is where things usually get tricky with motion control. All rigs will shake at some frequencies, generally servo motors are smoother than stepper motors.

Have fun :P

Stephen

The first thing is that it will always take 3 times longer than you think it will. Each rig is also tends to be a bit of a one-off science project so they all have their little quirks. Each rig is practically hand built with all sorts of unique components. Is it a move on tracks ? Just a head ? boom arm as well ?

If it's the full catastrophe with all the tracks and accessories etc, I would allow at least 4 hours of setup time

There are usually two ways to program the shot. You can previsualise it in 3D, or do it on the day with the operator.

Obviously, doing it in 3D is faster on the day, because the programming has already been done. If you have to program the move on set then this can be really very tedious and time consuming. In fact it can take hours. Often you have two days. One to set up and program, then the second to actually shoot.

It really depends on the the style of shot you're doing. By programming on the fly, you can make small allowances for things such as actors wanting to be in a different mark or to change their timing. If you pre-program the move, you might lock yourself into timing that can't be achieved or look right with a real actor.

The operator will also be crucial. The biggest issue is time. It always always always takes a long time. I've been on shoots where the computer crashes, the rig doesn't calibrate or won't return to the zero mark. It just takes a long time to fix those little things.

The camera is usually a 435 or a mitchell.

jb


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#6 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 05:03 PM

Im shooting with Motion Control. Not sure exactly with what camera yet, but I am looking for Pros, Cons, in's and out's what's the knitty gritty I should know about?

Thanks a mucho-


With Motion Control there are varying different scales which will have an impact on how long it will take and how demanding it will be. At the big end you have Mark Roberts style rigs like the Cyclops and the Milo and at the small end you have the Mo-Sys system or Mark Roberts's Modula Rig.

I don't know what you're using it for, but I presume if you are doing model work or live action with big extravegent movements you will be shooting with something like a Milo, a big, heavy yet somehow very elegant piece of machinary.

If your using Motion Control for more low key, invisible special effects like crowd replications, multiple pases etc, then the Mo-sys System has its advantages. Its a small system with a remote head, dolly, lift and now (I believe) a roll as well, and can easily be transported and works with normal dolly track. If you're on a shoot where you are doing other set ups it can be quickly employed when needed and its biggest bonus it works much like a VCR; the operator, grip and focus puller can do the shot live, and the system will record it for multiple passes, where you can rewind and then film your different elements, plates etc.

The small size and low weight of the Mo-Sys do bring some big disadvantages, and all Motion Control systems requires a certain extra level of concentration on the behalf of the crew so avoid leaving the motion control shots at the end of the day if mixed in with other simpler set-ups, this will avoid mistakes and errors that will only lead to more delays and fustration.

The extra time required for MoCo will vary greatly on what you need it to do and how well organised and planned you are. If you are planning to do crowd replication it becomes fairly logical; 30 extras need to become 300 - that means 10 seperate passes, plus any background and extra special effects plates, so appreciate that though the camera and lighting set-up stay the same the rig has to be returned to its starting position, magazines may need to be changed and the extras will need to be jugled about.

Motion Control software has a somewhat infamous reputation for being full of bugs, but an experienced operator should be aware of the individual systems bugs and be able to avoid and fix them with little delay.

With regards to cameras, as far as I know the Mitchell's used to come as standard on the large rigs, but now the 435 are prefered for a better video assist. Newer rigs will have connections for newer cameras, older rigs may require some adaption for non-mitchels.

Some usefull sites (i'll post more when I remember them):

http://www.mrmoco.com/

http://www.kontrolfreax.com/
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CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

CineTape

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Opal