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01/04/2004

MRMC announces Flair robotic camera control upgrade

Two major enhancements to the Flair robotic camera control system will be introduced at NAB 2004 by Mark Roberts Motion Control.
Motion Control is becoming increasingly integrated into the world of computer graphics with the greater use of pre-visualisation and tracking software. Auxiliary axes of virtual motion have been added to Flair's Target Tracking software, allowing detailed adjustments in camera position or orientation to be programmed. Moves are imported from the computer graphics system and then refined within Flair. The extra axes operate like normal axes but their motion is added to the target tracking motion, allowing adjustments in camera position or orientation to be programmed throughout the move without need to adjust the imported data.
This feature was developed for 'The Aviator', in which almost all the motion-controlled camera moves were minutely pre-visualised and approved by the director, Martin Scorsese.
The second new feature, also developed for 'The Aviator', adds roll and tilt to Flair's ability to turn and reorient moves. A 'camera up' point can now be imported into Flair as CGI data, enabling moves to be freely rotated, rolled and tilted. This allows very large vertical moves to be simulated horizontally with the target mounted on its side.
Tilting and rolling imported computer-graphic moves have hitherto been a problem. Combining hardware and software, Flair allows camera moves to be programmed via a PC screen as a series of keyframes, each one stating a set of specific motor positions. Moves can be defined from as little as two keyframes. Once all positions have been entered, the motors will run from start to finish, passing through each intermediate position at the specified time. The overall length of the move can be adjusted and one or more axes manipulated via 2D and 3D graphic displays. Accelerations and decelerations of each axis are independently adjustable. Mimic Mode enables the user to control one or more axes manually, each movement being accurately recorded for later playback. Where the object of interest, called the target, has its own 3D path, Flair's Target Tracking facility enables these paths to be plotted through waypoints and then viewed and manipulated on a customised graphics display. Camera and target speed along their respective paths can be controlled independently.
Other parameters which can be preprogrammed on a dynamic basis are optical focus distance, fade/dissolve effects, single and multiple-exposure frame speed.
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