MOTION CONTROL FAQ
WHAT IS MOTION CONTROL?
Motion Control refers to camera movement that is controlled by a computer, often with the assistance of a precision robotic arm like the Bolt and Bolt Jr+. With the use of motion control rigs, camera moves are 100% repeatable and frame-accurate, letting creators efficiently achieve types of camera movement and/or special effects that would otherwise be impossible. Motion control software can also repeatably trigger external devices with frame-accuracy, such as turntables, pneumatic devices, DMX lighting, and more.
HOW ACCURATE IS MOTION CONTROL?
Using electronic devices known as optical encoders on all the motors, the movement of every axis of the motion control rig is measured down to micron level, far below movement visible to the eye or film. This is so small that you are more likely to have errors due to the metal of the rig expanding and contracting under bright lights, due to heat, than because of motor position measurement.
CAN I SHOOT REPEATABLE CAMERA MOVES?
Yes, every camera move is precisely repeatable and perfectly frame accurate.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOLT AND BOLT JR+?
The main difference is size and power consumption. While the added weight, stability, and reach of the Bolt is sometimes an advantage, the Bolt Jr+ can fit through a standard doorway and can be powered on a standard 20A circuit which can be found in most buildings, increasing the number of locations in which it can be easily used.
HOW BIG IS THE BOLT AND HOW MUCH DOES IT WEIGH?
The Bolt cannot fit through a standard doorway unless on Pedestal base. The Bolt on the base weighs 1609 lbs. and has an additional 1200 lbs. of weights on the base to hold it in place for high speed moves. It can also extend to 11’ 6” high and can go below the ground level.
The Bolt Jr+ weighs roughly 800 lbs including its transport wheels and has an additional 600 lbs. of weight on the base to hold it in place. The Jr+ base can fit through a standard 29” doorway, and has a maximum height of 8’ 2”.
IS THE BOLT PORTABLE?
Yes! The Bolt and Bolt Jr+ are both fully mobile and are transported in our truck.
WHAT ARE THE BOLT'S POWER REQUIREMENTS?
The full sized Bolt requires three-phase 208V power, and connects via Cam-Loc or Nema connectors.
The Bolt Jr+ can be powered by a dedicated 20A circuit using a standard wall plug, which can be found in most buildings.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PROGRAM A MOVE?
This really depends on the complexity of the move, but storing the positions is easy and the camera will then go through and run the basic move in a matter of minutes. Then adjusting it slightly and getting the exact move desired may depend on the lighting, composition nuances, subject matter, and even the director.
WHAT CAMERAS CAN BE MOUNTED ON THE BOLT?
The Bolt will handle most camera systems weighing up to 40 lbs. So ARRI, RED, SONY and Phantom cameras work well. It is even possible to put lights or other items on the Bolt and use it as a model mover or product mover.
The Bolt Jr+ can accept a maximum payload of 22 lbs, meaning that most camera and lens combinations can be comfortably supported. Just like the Bolt, the Jr+ can also be used to move lights, models, or any other objects.
CAN THE BOLT CONTROL A TURNTABLE AND OTHER MECHANICAL ITEMS?
The software, Flair, will program the Bolt and synchronize the robot’s motion with external triggers to control turntables, pneumatics, other robots, DMX lights, music, computers and more all with frame-accurate precision.
DOES THE BOLT CONTROL THE FOCUS OF THE CAMERA?
Within the Flair motion control software, the operator is able to control focus. Flair can even perform distance calculations in real-time to keep your subject automatically held in sharp focus, no matter where the robot moves.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF USING MOTION CONTROL WHEN IT COMES TO THE POST-PRODUCTION?
Post production relies heavily on having good original takes. motion control is often the unsung hero of effects, enabling scenes from the real world to be seamlessly multi-layered and combined with computer graphics and digital effects. Being more of a production tool, many people see the glitz and praise given to powerful post production graphics packages, and miss the vital concept that without the motion control footage, these high end effects could not exist.
Additionally, because the camera trajectory and perspective is very easily exported from the rig to the post-production tools, CGI backgrounds and fore-ground elements can be very easily and accurately added.
HOW CAN I BEST INCORPORATE MOTION CONTROL WITH CGI?
There are several tools available for transferring data between motion control rigs and CGI programs. We currently have tools available to interface to Maya, Softimage/Xsi, Alias Power Animator, Lightwave and Flame. Tools are built into Mark Roberts Motion Control to import and export data, and to aid in alignment of CGI to live footage.
CAN YOU OUTPUT FBX DATA FOR POST PRODUCTION?
Yes. For every move programmed we can output an FBX file with the Bolt’s camera and motion data to go directly into programs like MAYA, Lightwave or 3D Studio Max. Your 3D artist will love this!
WHAT SOFTWARE DOES THE BOLT USE?
The Bolt uses a software called Flair developed by the company Mark Roberts motion control.
WHAT IS FLAIR? WHY USE FLAIR INSTEAD OF OTHER SOFTWARE?
Flair is the software and electronic hardware developed by Mark Roberts motion control for motion control use.
Mark Roberts motion control is the only company in the world that develops both the rigs and the software, so the two are very closely integrated, giving greater versatility that cannot be offered by any other software for motion control. It contains features that have evolved from the company’s involvement in the industry for over 20 years.
WHAT IS TARGET TRACKING?
Target Tracking is a feature developed by Mark Roberts motion control, over 20 years ago, that allows the camera to move along an exact path through space and follow a target, stationary or moving, perfectly, regardless of the complexity of the rig. This makes it very easy for director and rig users to get the camera to follow the exact path they desire without having to work out what each axis (motor) has to do to achieve the path, or stay focused on the target. View Bolt Creative Opportunities and Techniques
WHAT IS SCALING?
Scaling is a feature exclusively found in Mark Roberts motion control rigs that allows any camera movement to be automatically scaled up or down, moved or rotated. This allows such special effects as mixing miniature models or backgrounds, with live action talent making the two appear the same size, or rotating move to make it appear as if gravity is acting in numerous directions and people are simultaneously walking on the floor, walls and ceiling.
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS?
Give us a call at (952) 303-6266 or send us a message below.