Custom-built linear and rotary positioning stages from LG Motion were used to enable synchronised 3D camera tracking and special lighting effects during the filming of Aardman Animation’s new movie – ‘The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!’ Filming involved capturing tiny incremental movements of modelling clay figures and objects which are individually photographed on single frames. Whilst a great deal of this intricate work is carried out by skilled animators, precision positioning and motion control can help speed the process, particularly where pin-point
camera synchronisation is required for 3D animation to guarantee repeatable results and ensure precise continuity.
The camera tracker positioning system in particular brings a high technology element to the process by locking the cameras to a target in conjunction with a vision system and following its horizontal and vertical movements with micron level precision during a shooting sequence.
Meeting requirements, the linear stages have a nominal travel range of 600mm with a 150mm square moving carriage plate machined to directly mount Aardman’s camera system. The base of the stage provides the inherent stiffness for free mounting as well as accommodating X-Y mounting if required. A simple spirit level is also built into each stage.
To accommodate the cantilever loading specification of up to 30kg at 1m from the moving carriage for the camera and mounting arrangement, LG Motion chose dual linear motion guide bearings from its distribution partner Schneeberger. The design also includes a 10mm diameter precision ballscrew with a 2mm pitch and a standard NEMA 23 frame motor mount. The rotary stages were designed for positioning large mirrors for special set lighting effects and are based upon the company’s standard LGR1000 series.
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