Definition August 2021 - Web


“The idea of using a robotic arm has seeped into customer psyches”

for TV and filmmaking. According to Paddy Taylor, head of broadcast at MRMC, there has been greater adoption of motion control in studios over the last year and a half: “Jibs are popular, but social distancing has forced a shift to automating where possible – the idea of using a robotic arm has seeped into customer psyches. Control is much easier now, thanks to IP connectivity – and adding camera automation takes this to the next level. People want the most interesting movements they can get. We recently had a client requesting an arm on a descending column to follow a presenter down some stairs, before handing over to a floor-track system.” As in all areas of broadcast technology, systems being used develop and change to match both innovation and user requirements. Michael Geissler, chief executive of camera tracking specialist Mo-Sys, thinks motion control is in decline, with other priorities emerging. “It’s been part of post-production in the past, but the advances in CG are killing it off,” he says. “A rise in virtual production calls for repeated camera motion instead. These days, broadcasters want to move around much more than they did before. We’re closer to that reality – and they will push it as far as it goes.” Budgets are always a consideration in broadcasting – some operators are looking for

a gyro-stabilised head – plus the data communications technology to control it. Pakhomov observes that motion control systems are “much more advanced nowadays”, while stabilisation is affordable and lighter. “The advances in direct drive gimbals cope with a wider range of vibration frequencies, enabling lighter gimbals to be placed on various platforms: cables, rails and remote-controlled dollies,” he says. Like other technologies of its kind, Robycam is used in sport – including football and the 2019 Fina World Aquatics Championships – but it’s also made TV inroads. The sports studio for Sky Italia and the facility used for La hora de La 1 , a breakfast news programme on Spanish public broadcaster RTVE, both take advantage of Robycam. “They use it to cover what is happening in the studio,” Pakhomov says, “and for tracking with the AR (augmented reality) system. All movements are preferably recorded or semi- automated, but manual control is feasible, too. It’s being used with AR for music shows, esport and sport – everything is timecoded and precise; complex movements must be achieved exactly to plan.” REMOTE CONTROL Mark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC) is a leading developer of camera robotics and automation

low-cost, but efficient alternatives to expensive motion control and tracking products. Motion Impossible creates remote control vehicles that either move freely, or run on tracks. Now, it’s looking at the possibilities of repeatable movements for studio applications, after originally targeting natural history production. Ben Dair, recently appointed chief product officer, comments that Motion Impossible is investing in AR, working with developers of extended reality technologies such as Disguise. It’s looking at how pre- programmed moves on systems like its Agito vehicle would suit news production. “Agility has always been a must in fast-turnaround news, but now bureaus are an extension of the studio, with a temporary one set up for a reporter out in the field,” he says. “Agito is an agile system and could be part of that.” Motion Impossible co-founder and chief executive, Rob Drewett, believes camera movement in TV will become more elaborate as the younger medium keeps looking to the big screen. “Broadcast is starting to take from cinema for its style,” he says. “Cine-broadcast is becoming a buzzword, where people are using bigger sensor cameras. In film, movement is used to immerse the audience in a storyline, moving the camera to make you feel like you’re with a character. For TV sport, they want it to seem like you’re there, so it’s powerful or scary. You can watch cars going round in motor sport – but imagine if you’re travelling with that car, or inside it. That’s happening more and more in TV.”

ABOVE Motion Impossible’s Agito is visible around the pitches of big football games

BELOW Robycam at the 2019 Fina World Aquatics Championships

AUGUST 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 43

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