SDA, or Sir David Attenborough for those of you who aren't super fans is a force . . . a national treasure. His voice is iconic. He has narrated countless nature documentaries - mostly with the BBC Natural History Unit. He narrated the original Planet Earth Series that I fell in love with. There was a shot where the seasons changed over a year while a camera slid across a hillside. Spring to Summer to Fall to Winter and back to spring again. It blew my mind. It made me want to see the world in new ways. Planet Earth helped inspire me to create eMotimo. SDA narrated Green Planet, a recent release from BBB's Natural History Unit. On Green Planet eMotimo gear was used extensively to support fine motion control moves for plant growth as well as robotic shots out in the field. This is a screenshot of the BTS from that production. Made my year to know that Sir David Attenborough was playing with gear that I designed.
after 11 years of running eMotimo, these past 15 months have been the most tumultuous. From running a business during a pandemic, modifying our sourcing and supply chain issues, and branching into new markets, nothing over the last year has been easy.
The pan/tilt head is characterized by a particularly user-friendly control, turning even the finest movements into child’s play. - Red Dot Jury What’s a Red Dot? Red Dot consists of an international panel of judges that have been scrutinizing products since 1955. Apple, Dyson, Sony are some of the big players that win these awards. An honorable mention from Red Dot is big. eMotimo’s win for the spectrum st4 and Fz combo is huge. Large design teams chase this award their entire careers without ever getting one. For our small eMotimo team, winning this award is validation that our efforts in innovation are being recognized.Why did we win? Our design was super clean with well-thought-out wire management and the right materials. Most of all we enabled the jury members to pick up our controller and program their first moves in minutes without reading the instructions. Motion control should just work. -Brian and Logan
Not just a cold. Not going away soon. Damn, now I have to write a blog post about this.
Part of the magic of a good piece of tech is making difficult things really easy. We love the details and giving users options, but if you are in a hurry for an interview and don't want to have to think about which motor profile to use, or what your ramp should be, or darn it, I have focus changes that are light, but there, how many keyframes should I add . . .
Professional product shooters take note. This is an example of how to pay off a 4 axis motion control rig in two, half day shoots. Oh, you have fun doing it too!
Create commercial quality visual effects faster, and more easily than ever with the spectrum st4. Repeatable camera movement is a powerful tool that is only accomplished by a computer controller motion control rig. Repeating that motion perfectly, pass, after pass enables things like: 1) Closing Subjects Object removal/addition - Just like people object that differ between scenes can be removed or added over time. 2) Blending of plates with different time bases - Slightly trickier in that the various passes are run at different framerates. Overcranked, higher-framerate passes, must be run faster (over a shorter duration) Undercranked, lower-framerate passes must be run slower (over a longer duration) Each of these effects are possible without motion control. The effects are easy to do with locked off cameras, but "selling" a scene is much easier when the camera is performing a natural motion. Once you know the basic techniques and principles, you can apply them in many ways.Below is a quick first test showing off the concept. Below a full tutorial with BTS and editing tips to pull this off. Products Used:1) Spectrum + Dana Dolly Integration Kit 2) Dana Dolly - Original Track Ends 3) eMotimo RED SYNC Cable
Interview with the artist ALIVE | Canada 4K from Flo Nick on Vimeo.We don't often loan out kits to unproven relationships, but with Flo reached out and told us what he wanted to do and where he wanted to do it, we put together a loaner kit for him to play with and let him roam! We didn't hear from him for a bit, but he popped back out of the wilderness and put together Alive - a Vimeo timelapse Staff Pick - pretty hard to do this days. We were impressed with his composition, storytelling, and love the last shot! Brian: You are just coming out of school, so cash must be tight. Would you buy the spectrum run and gun kit that you used on the shoot? Flo: This really depends on the jobs that clients will book me for in the future. If I would regularly get hired to do motion timelapse or similar camera work where the spectrum would come in useful, I could justify the costs for buying a kit. I totally fell in love with the spectrum but right now, it seems to be a little too much money to spend only for passion projects like 'ALIVE‘. Brian: What was in your setup? Flo: Camera: Sony Alpha 7S Mark II Lenses: Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM, Rokinon 14mm f/2.8, SMC Pentax-M 50mm f1.7, SMC Pentax-M 100mm f2.8, Sigma Mount Converter MC-11 Brian - How long did typical setups take you get going? Flo - That’s really a matter of practice to quickly whip the gear out of your backpack, put the slider in the right position with your tripods and get the spectrum going. Depending on the “comfort“ of the location it took me about 3-5 min to set up the gear, however, an extra maybe 5 min if I extend the iFootage Shark slider, and up to 10 minutes to set the start and end point of the shot depending on the complexity of the desired timelapse motion. Brian - How many locations, shots, etc Flo - I counted approximately 50 different locations along my 6 week journey. And I shot 149 timelapse shots. Among these, 32 shots made it into the final film. Brian - What features / functions did you most use with the eMotimo? Flo - I mostly used the normal SMS function in order to shoot moving timelapse. By doing so, I really enjoyed setting keyframes in between to get even more control of the shot. For this final shot, though, I made use of the full potential of the spectrum. I found out about the feature, where you can repeat a programmed movement with different speeds. That allowed me to record shots in different frame rates but still have the exact same movement. So I didn’t get the idea out of my head to combine a moving timelapse shot with a real time video with both shots having the very same camera movement. In the final shot with the person (me) raising the arms, I could do exactly that. Even though it took a lot of time perfectly masking out the person in post production, this shot probably wouldn’t have been possible without the spectrum and its great feature Brian - How much video/vs. timelapse did you shoot? Flo - I barely shot any video because I was aware of the immense quality of the RAW photo format all my timelapse were built of. The video quality of my camera simply couldn’t compete with the RAW timelapse. As I mentioned, the only video in the final film is the mask of me raising my arms in the final shot. Brian - After using it for 2 months, what were some of your challenges? Flo - There are four things that come to my mind: Sometimes I had trouble connecting the controller with the spectrum. These extra seconds or minutes can be very painful in situations where great lighting conditions are changing quickly. Sometimes it happened that I put a lot of effort into setting up a shot before the battery pack accidentally lost connection with the spectrum. Because the power turned off, my whole programmed move was gone and I had to start all over again. I wished there would be some sort of review option after setting up a shot. I always had to dial to the keyframe menu and had to have the camera move back and forth between the keyframes. In situations where I only used a start and end point, I even had to add a keyframe in between only to be able to check out the programmed movement on the camera screen before I have it running for hours. The plug-ins of the wires could have some sort of protection to keep away moist, dirt or, in my case, snow. Luckily, everything survived and I could continue shooting. eMotimo's responses to the tough stuff: Remotes and dongles. Long connection on startup is something many users had issues with in the past. With our latest dongles we began shipping in 2018 is typically a 5 second or less process. If other users are having troubles, reach on out and pick up a new one! Batteries - We like the portable packs for simplicity, but we love our VMount / Gold Mount options as it not only removes another wire, it more efficiently powers the spectrum for a similar sized battery. 90% of the spectrum units head out the door with a battery pack option these days. Preview mode is valuable. It can be accomplished by setting up the move in video first, and then updating the move last minute to Timelapse. That being said, a preview mode after setting up a TL is in the works too! Connectors - The spectrum's M3 an M4 connectors are are waterproof and sealed. Power connectors are not, but are heavy duty metal housed receptacles. All our our new motors have the same waterproof connectors on the motors for connections and don't show any wires. None have failed in the field. Brian - What did you love about the rig? Flo - It comes very handy, easy to pack into your backpack. The keyframe function. It gives you total control over your shots. The focus pull motor is a super interesting add-on which can produce timelapse shots, barely anyone has ever seen before. Overall product and material quality. Very sturdy and reliable in basically any conditions. eMotimo's responses: Sweet! Flo - Overall, I’m absolutely in love with the spectrum! A lot of people have reached out to me in the past few days asking what gear I used. That’s when I've proudly recommended the spectrum.