DEFINITION July 2022 - Newsletter


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Anyone who attended NAB Show back in April will have seen one of the incumbents of camera robotics right inside the doors of the main concourse. Mark Roberts Motion Control showed one of its impressively sprightly Bolt robot cranes integrated with a virtual production set-up. That didn’t test the incredible speed of which the robot arm is capable, having been designed to follow falling objects with high-frame-rate cameras. But it did demonstrate that the usefulness of much modern tech is increasingly dependent on the software driving it – and what it can talk to. But it’s a mistake to think of Mark Roberts only in terms of

anywhere, in what is essentially a cigar-shaped space. Machines like Sandstorm’s Technodolly are unusual in that they’re robots designed to not behave like robots. It’s not unheard of for productions to use technology like this for no reason other than creating a smooth, perfectly feathered crane move. At the other end of the capability scale – if we’re interested in cooperation with different gear – the Technodolly has full integration with Unreal Engine and is likely to find employment on virtual production stages, or any situation where visual effects previsualisation is involved. At first glance, Technodolly looks like one of Supertechno’s cranes on a track, but it’s a lot more than that. A CALL TO ARMS Manchester-based G6 MoCo’s more compact options include two robots: Stealth and Raptor. The former is the largest and most capable, carrying cameras up to

20kg through an operating volume up to four metres across, without even needing to be on a dolly. G6 publishes an accuracy spec for its robots quite prominently, and it’s interesting to note that the Stealth robot should repeat moves within just 0.04mm. Putting a number on these things sometimes makes it clear why this is such specialist work – and why the technology needs to be so finely made. The Raptor arm is smaller, at a mere 60kg to the Stealth’s 255kg, achieving reach of 2.2m. Payloads up to 10kg are possible, and the company helpfully notes that the arm works very nicely with one of Vision Research’s Phantom high- speed cameras. Motion control isn’t the only arrow in G6’s quiver, though. Keen to cover as many bases as possible, the brand has a tracking vehicle with Steadicam, Motocrane, and is promoting virtual production facilities – of course, with one of those impressive motion-control robots taking pride of place.

PLAY IT AGAIN Sandstorm Films’

Technodolly looks like a Supertechno crane, but it’s fully repeatable

ON THE AIR Mark Roberts Motion Control’s Studiobot is tailor-made for live news and sports

“G6 publishes an accuracy spec for its robots and it’s interesting to note that the Stealth should repeat moves within just 0.04mm”


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