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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Motion Control?
Motion Control is a Computer controlled camera and/or model positioning system. Any or all motion (track, boom, pan, tilt, roll, zoom, focus, etc) are motor driven and the motors are controlled by a computer. The computer can be either pre-programmed with the movement or the computer can take it's commands from an operator(s) input (handwheels, joystick, knobs, slides, footpedals, whatever). Any combination of pre-programmed and live moves are possible.
What do I use Motion Control for?
Motion control is used anytime you want or need to repeat movement on a camera or model. This can be for elements that need to be combined. It is also useful for complex shots that would be difficult or impossible to control manually.
What effects typically require Motion Control?
Anytime you are combining two elements in post that need to have the same movement. These can be foreground/background elements shot with either chroma key or with matte passes, or a move on different elements for a cross-dissolve or morph.
How long does it take to program a move?
There is no one answer, just as there is no ONE move. Simple point to point to point moves take only about ten minutes. However, complex moves can take from 1/2 to 4 hours. The biggest variable is how long it takes the director, agency, client, etc. to decide on which move they like. It saves alot of time if everyone has decided beforehand what they want, so you're not programming 15 different variations for one shot. This brings up the next topic -
How many moves or variations of a move can the computer handle?
There is no limit. Well, a few thousand. This is both a blessing and a curse. It is very easy for everyone to get into the "Well, save that one and let's try something different", and of course, "Let's shoot all 14 variations", and one shot then becomes several.
How may things should we have the computer control?
As many as possible. Once everything is programmed, all it takes is a push of the button for each take. No "missed" takes. In stop-motion work the more actions the animators can have the computer control, the easier and more successful their job will be.
How many things can you control?
Technically, there is no limit. I have several systems, several camera packages, dozens of model rigs, lighting rigs, dimmers, switches, etc., that can all be combined. From a practical stand point, about 48.
How portable is the system?
The system breaks down into pieces that can be handled by two people of average strength. The heaviest and biggest piece is the tower section which weighs about 200 lbs, and is 26" square and 78" tall. On an average job, there are about 20 pieces and cases from 40 lbs to 85 lbs. each. Everthing will fit in a full-size cargo van or cube truck.