APPLICATIONS

We developed our range of robotics with the understanding that professionals need a few products that are built as sturdy as possible that can handle a wide range of tasks.  Since each tool in your inventory costs you money to own and maintain, we are dedicated to reducing your inventories by both providing a product that can mount all of the best camera systems, and be used in a range of professional applications.

If you are a wildlife researcher who wants their video to be used in documentary production, or a production house who may be called on to shoot live or single camera productions, our product line enables you to avoid the expense of stocking multiple specialized devices.

Another aspect of that versatility is the ability of our controllers to integrate seamlessly the latest PTZ cameras from Sony, Panasonic, and Canon.

This gives the production house or studio the advantage of rolling their own cameras with our production pan/tilts, or by using the common Sony, Panasonic, and Canon units for more generic production tasks.  Versatility means less gear sits on your shelf costing you money. 

Part of that cost control comes from our use of both wired and wireless technology.  Imagine you have to get your gear onto location in a hurry.  Our wireless equipment can be rapidly deployed onto shoot locations such as museums, government buildings, and military installations where the production window is very short.  Less time spent on setup means more time shooting at the high value location.  The same equipment that was deployed with wireless technology the day before is still suitable for permanent installations for your next contract.

 

LIVE TELEVISION PRODUCTION

Take our innovative CS-1 Control Surface and attach up to four H-1 Pan/Tilt or H-2 Fixed Heads either through traditional cabling or through low-bandwidth Internet Protocol (IP) connections, and a single operator becomes master of four camera positions.  By strategic use of a second control surface and a second set of heads, even the most complex live production environment can be covered by two operators who also serve as their own vision engineers, allowing them to do the job of up to ten specialists in a traditional studio or truck setup.

The advantages of robotic controls have long been understood in live television, but the expense and size of the tools could eliminate those advantages.  The quiet operation of our camera heads and their low footprint on the studio floor reduces the "impact" of a television show's camera crew.  Fewer people on a television stage reduces the size of a studio needed for a given production, decreases the noise and heat generated by camera 

operations, and improves the working conditions of operators who were often called on to staff "lockdowns".  The studio environment can also be made more professional for high-value guests. 

Testing in production environments such as fashion, 24/7 news, and home shopping, show that the entire studio presence of production staff can often be reduced to a single floor director who can add to the versatility of even a single control surface set-up by repositioning cameras for consecutive shows.

A further advantage of robotic heads in live television production is the reduced communications load that comes from having camera operators in the same room as their director.   Fewer people on headset means a more efficient production process, and allows for easier recovery from unexpected scripting and scheduling changes during the show.

 

TRUCK OPERATIONS

The name of the game in truck-based video operations is mass, namely how much gear has to be transported and set up by how many people.  Smaller and more versatile gear requiring fewer people to setup and deploy, means less expensive shoots and smaller trucks earning more money per shoot.  That means a higher return on investment for truck operations.

Robotic camera systems provide significant advantages to truck-based shoots.  First of all, like in the studio, the camera operator is also the video engineer.  This improves production communication by moving the camera operator into the truck or to a tent enclosure close-by. 

Secondly, wireless remote control and rapid setup of totally portable mounts allows production planners to move cameras into places that would have previously required scaffolds or lifts.

And finally, like in the studio, camera duties can be more efficiently split.  This allows your best camera operators to concentrate on high-value cameras, while being able to move low-value cameras when needed, instead of needing extra crews to watch a camera that may only be used three times in a production.

 

WILDLIFE CINEMATOGRAPHY

Scientists and educators dealing with wildlife often have a difficult choice to make.  Observation of animals in the wild is essential to learning about their life-cycles, while animals in captivity need careful monitoring to assure they are healthy and well cared for.

The problem with this is that the process of observation can lead to negative results for the animals.  Each time a human enters an animal's environment it can negatively effect their feeding, breeding, or sleep cycles and result in health and psychological issues for the creatures.  In addition, some animals present a danger to humans who come in close contact with them, especially when the humans have inadvertently caused stress in the animals life cycle.

Remote vision has always held out the promise of reducing human interaction with animals in captivity and the wild, but this promise was usually compromised by the realities of the technology available.  

Security cameras designed for intrusion control in industrial applications rarely provide clear enough visual information for veterinary personnel to make initial diagnosis on sick animals, and these cheap cameras and systems are generally only useful in telling the location of the animal and if it is moving.  Game , or "trap", cameras often do not have a way of remote access, and must be retrieved to be repositioned. 

Wildlife researchers can instead install our systems with a selection of high quality camera heads and professional lenses.  All of our systems can use 12 volt DC power, allowing them to operate from remote power sources, and options exist that allow operations of the cameras through the Internet, putting the vision devices into the hands of the experts who may be thousands of miles away.  

TELEVISED MEDICINE

Any medical professional will tell you that given the two options, bring the patient to the camera or bring the camera to the patient, the camera is what needs to move, not the patient. Telemedicine has become important in recent years as the shortage of doctors has deprived remote communities of medical treatment, and resulted in the need for technological solutions.

With our camera controls and robotic heads, high quality cameras with carefully selected lenses can be provided to medical practitioners who may be dozens or even thousands of miles away from their patients.  Medical professionals know that space around a patient is critical during emergency care, and camera robotics that displace trained medical assistants may be a non-starter.  Our compact heads are capable of being mounted so that the camera can hang above a medical bed, or on a pedestal where the camera pan/tilt can use its excellent range of motion to get in on the action without taking up critical space.  This is especially true since a medical professional can "drive" their own camera rather than having to waste time passing instructions on camera movement to an assistant on site.

Another fact of life in busy medical centers is that patient influx often exceeds the available medical staffing.  

A patient who lacks a medical specialist's diagnosis can die waiting for aid when the professional they need is en-route.   Many medical professionals know the feeling of wishing they could be in two places at once, or could divide their attentions between multiple patients separated by space.

In telemedicine, on-staff specialists can control up to four cameras from a single control point, and those cameras can be located anywhere that Internet access can be setup.  In cases where telemedicine is the only choice, an expert in a medical center can rapidly offer skilled medical opinions to multiple beds, each of which would have to wait hours or even days for their services if they were to travel between the facilities.  Since the cameras used can be high resolution with good zoom lenses, the professional can steer their camera in and see injuries first hand. In fact, our robotic cameras are just one piece of the successful telemedicine puzzle.  Using  professional DSLRs, such as the Canon 5D, extremely high resolution still imaging can be produced along with high definition video.  Combined with the digital outputs of most medical imaging devices, a medical professional can be supplied with the most information possible to make a diagnosis in their specialization.

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF ROBOTIC CAMERAS

Camera shoots appreciate robotic cameras for four simple reasons, cost of lift, safety, operational tempo, and crew presence. 

COST OF LIFT

Cost of lift is a principal that the more mass you have to lift into the air or push along a track, the higher the cost of the shot.  A camera dolly designed to carry an operator requires heavy vehicles to move, a large grip crew to build and position, then must be pushed by one or two operators to achieve camera moves.  Each of those crew must be accounted for in the cost of craft services, must be housed when the production team is away from base, and themselves increase transportation costs.

These costs are multiplied for crane shots where every pound in the air can mean ten more on the ground.  While drones have started to save money in this area, the lack of lens selection for drone fielded cameras can be a limit on creative vision.

The basic math of lifts and dolly shots can be quite startling once a producer runs the numbers.  In some cases the cost savings from a single short shoot will pay for the purchase of robotics. With traditional rentals that cost savings is increased.  

CREW SAFETY

Safety is an area that is of concern for very producer.  No production is worth an injured crew person, and even past the ethics the publicity and expense of injuries can shut down even the best run and well-intentioned production.

In special effects shooting and harsh weather environments robotics keep the crew away from the action, which is an advantage for all involved.  It is easier to keep crew hydrated and shaded away from their camera mounts, and for scenes where pyrotechnics are involved, a robotic camera also reduces the number of trips crew must make down range.  No matter how safe your setup, you get extra safety by keeping the crew away from pyrotechnic builds and out of the hot sun / frigid winter wind. 

OPERATIONAL TEMPO

Operational tempo is a concern of every camera operation. Speed is important for saving money, and can be essential for getting the shots you need of high value production environments.  Every video photographer knows that time-on-location is a precious commodity.  A corporation that hires you to shoot a training video, a reality show scene where you have four days to complete your shoot, or shooting in a government facility where clearance windows can be small, means you want equipment that can be moved in rapidly by small crews, and repositioned easily to get as much work done as possible in the smallest amount of time.

Robotic cameras, especially with wireless controls and battery operation, can be moved rapidly into shoot locations without the need for long cable runs.  Once in place moving them is no harder than moving a single staffed camera in the same position.  This has the advantage of allowing you to spend the most time possible getting the material you need, and reduces the number of assistants you need just to push gear around shoot locations.

CREW PRESENCE

A final advantage of robotics is crew presence.  Most actors will agree that some scenes are difficult to practice even in the quiet of their own home.  Hard working actors, struggling to deliver a strong performance for a demanding director, are often beset by distractions on set.  Crew presence is the concept that for some scenes the fewer crew on set the better for actors to deliver difficult performances.  

Robotic heads, especially when they are designed for low profile operations, reduce talent distractions by creating a "closed set" atmosphere without losing important crew from the production process.  This can also be important in reality television or when working with actuality productions where the general public may be in close vicinity of the set.  Fewer staff near the set increases realism in extras and non-professionals.

 

HIGHER EDUCATION TELEVISION

Higher education is responsible for teaching tomorrow's professionals, and with the rapid movement of industry to robotic camera controls universities will be seeking to add these units to their curriculum in the near future.  Traditional robotic technology suffered the same problems in the college television studio as it did in the professional studio - a limited choice of systems that were either cheap security camera arrangements or expensive broadcasting installations that required full-time engineering support.

 

At RCT we are dedicated to aiding the industry make the move to robotic camera control, and part of this dedication is aiding colleges and universities with integrating this technology into their curriculum.  Our higher education team is ready to help you not only integrate our technology into your facilities plan, but also aid you in developing curriculum for its use in college level courses.