You don’t grow from a humble photography shop with a few employees into a top-down 160,000+ square foot content creation studio working with major brands without a few investments. Stunning visual assets don’t happen on their own, which is why we’ve added more talented people, stock sets, and plenty of studio dogs to keep raising the bar of compelling, quality content (also, dogs are great).
Of course, the main reason we keep growing is so that we can do even more for our clients. Our focus has always been on service, so, it only makes sense that we’d want to invest in new technology and equipment that can help us create incredible commercial photography and video content.
Enter the MILO Motion Control Rig. This big, beautiful machine from Mark Roberts Motion Control is the latest tool in our ever-expanding toolkit, and we’re excited about how we can use it to enhance your next project.
What is MILO?
MILO is a motion-controlled robot that excels at everything from simple, macro shots to complex, multi-step choreographed video. As a motion control rig, MILO has a camera mounted at the end of an extending arm that can adjust itself to move, up-down, and around with a six-and-a-half-foot reach. MILO won’t move on its own – no sentient robot overlords just yet thankfully – so it requires someone to program its camera movements through special software called Flair.
Standing at more than 13-feet tall at full height and weighing roughly 1,200 pounds, MILO is hard to miss. However, this ample automaton can move around at 2 meters per second on a track and has the flexibility to make perfectly smooth straight line moves and arcs to capture the shots you need.
Another cool part about having MILO around is there aren’t too many robots quite like this one. Mark Roberts Motion Control makes a few different lines of “cinebot” rigs, including the high-speed Bolt line known for Red Carpet slow-mo shots, but there are only a handful of MILOs in the U.S., and we’re quite happy to have one of them.
What MILO Means for Our Clients
We’re thrilled to have MILO, but we’re not the only people who should love this marvelous machine. While we get to play with this astounding piece of technology, our clients get to reap all the benefits that MILO brings to our studio.
MILO is a master at repeatable camera movements
You know how people sometimes make mistakes? Robots don’t. A motion control rig like MILO will do what it’s programmed to do every time, which is quite useful when you need to repeat the same movements over and over and over.
MILO helps you cut all the variables that can happen during a shot. Even the best camera operator can mess up from time to time, especially if you’re trying to do complex shots that involve talent and other moving factors. There are also some moves that are so tightly choreographed or involve such small movements that it’ll be near impossible for human operators to not have some wobble or other issue while shooting.
The MILO doesn’t have that problem. Once the operator figures out the right movements, they can program those moves and MILO will repeat those motions the same way every single time with no wobble, no lost focus, or other issues.
MILO can also repeat these same moves in the future. The programmed motions can be saved in the system, which is great if you ever decide that you need more product shots or other assets with the same look.
MILO helps you combine video with CGI
Having programmed camera moves can do a lot more than ensure consistency and quality while you’re shooting on set. Having that positional data also makes it so much easier to combine that original footage with CGI in post-production.
Trying to combine original assets with a computer-generated environment can be rather difficult. If some aspect of the environment is off, it can derail an entire shot until somebody takes a lot of time and energy fixing the problem. MILO eliminates that process by allowing our CGI department to match their environment to the camera’s position. Perspective, scaling, movement through a space – all those things are a one-to-one match between the real and computer-generated world, which is a fancy way of saying that it’s going to look a whole lot better, take a lot less time for us to recreate in CGI, which ultimately saves you money.
Another advantage of using MILO is that the repeatable movements also help us shoot matching multiple takes that can be combined in post-production. Let’s pretend that we’re shooting something with a shiny or reflective surface. That surface can make it difficult or even impossible for a normal camera operator to shoot in a way that doesn’t show an unwanted reflection, such as a light, from the set. MILO doesn’t have that problem. It can repeat those shots so that the reflected object can be moved from take to take and then all the footage can be seamlessly combined in post-production.
MILO opens up creative possibilities with trigger events
One of the more creatively exciting aspects about MILO is that you can control other devices through its Flair software. In addition to allowing you to choreograph complicated camera movements, Flair gives you full control over a treasure trove of trigger events.
With a little planning, you can hook up any kind of trigger device into MILO’s system. You can control turntables, concussion rigs, fire devices, pour rigs, and just about any other programmable mechanical device through the Flair software. Better yet, you can choreograph all these elements together to create very accurate steps that trigger at precisely the right time, every time.
Expand Your Creative Possibilities with TRG and MILO
At TRG, we always strive to deliver incredible work and an outstanding client experience. MILO helps us do both, all while adding a giant, lovable robot to our team that opens up new possibilities for our clients.
Ready to take MILO out for a spin? Contact us today to have TRG bring your brand’s photo, video, and CGI assets to life.