Milo- Precision Portable Motion Control- Q & A

Developed by Matt Roberts Motion Control, Milo is for those who require the quality that studio systems can offer in a portable system. Milo is the worlds best portable system because of its rigidity and being fast enough for live action shooting. It can be ready to shoot within 35 minutes of arrival on the set. It has a huge range of options including different length arms and different types of track rail.

Q. What is Motion Control?
A. Motion Control means motion that is very accurately, computer controlled, using electrical motors. In the film and Television industry, this has come to mean a field of filming where the camera movement is controlled by a computer so that the motion of the camera, in the studio or on location, can be repeated again and again, for the generation of special effects. It is essentially a camera robot, but in the industry these technical pieces of machinery are referred to using the more creative sounding term "motion control rigs".

Q. I don’t do special effects, why use a Motion Control rig?
A. A Motion Control rig is designed to be very easy and quick to program in the desired move. Once the move is programmed it can be repeated again and again, at different speeds, or with adjustments, with complete accuracy. This means that if one is shooting an object that is very difficult to light properly (due to shape, reflections, lens flares etc.), such as a car, one can program in the move quickly and then spend all one’s time on setting up the lights, moving slowly back and forth through the move to check how it appears through camera, without worrying if the move will be the same next time the camera is moved (note: traditionally cameras are moved by hand, using many "grips" - large men - so the motion will be different every time without Motion Control.

Q. How do you program a move on a Motion Control rig.
A. Over the years many different methods for generating moves have been developed for different applications. These can be roughly divided into 3 different methods:

1) Directly entered move. Typically one has control of the rig remotely, and one simply moves the rig to the desired start position and presses a button to store that position. Then one goes to the next point one wants the rig to be at, and stores it. Then the rig is moved to the final position, which again is stored. This gives a simple 3 point move (a move may have as many points as one desires but for most shots, between 2 and 5 points are required). The computer software joins these 3 points with a smooth curve. All one specifies is how many frames should be taken and at what camera speed and the move is now ready to shoot.

2) Mimic move. Special hardware exists that allows one to move the motion control rig by actually pushing it much like a normal dolly or crane, or use remote hand-wheels to control the movement and record any motion made. Once recorded it can be played back at any speed like any other move. Directors often make use of this when wanting a "human" feel to the move, or when shooting actors or animals that may not move or behave exactly as required.

3) CGI Import. One can design moves on CGI packages, such as Softimage/Xsi and Maya, and import them directly to the motion control rig, so even the most complex camera paths can be executed exactly.

FOR MORE INFO: Watch -ON DEMAND- Motion Control video Tutorial. Main window above. For sales and rentals contact Jason Rau at Camera Control, Santa Monica, CA.

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