When VFX artist and Motion Control Supervisor Allan O. Lückow and Oscar-winning DoP Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire) needed to create a handheld “look” while shooting Antichrist, the hotly anticipated new film by maverick director Lars von Trier, they turned to OConnor’s new 120EXe encoding fluid head for visual effects.
Lückow developed a 3-axis live-action camera motion control shot to give the framing the handheld feel they wanted. The 120EXe was used for motion capture, which was then replayed on the motion control system. “A third roll/dodge sensor sat on top of the OConnor head with hand bars in front,” Lückow explains. “That way Anthony could hug the OConnor and point anywhere, using his own body movement to give the shot a handheld feel. The OConnor’s precise settings and the stability of the head helped match moves to the other handheld shots.”
The 120EXe has now become Lückow’s head of choice for heavy-duty effects work. For a recent datalogging shot, Lückow explains that he needed “extreme stability and high precision with regards to pivot points/nodal offsets. It was a heavy camera set up because we were using an Angenieux 24-290mm zoom, so when Michael Geissler (from Mo-Sys) gave me the opportunity to use the 120EXe, I immediately choose it as the main head, knowing we’d get precise data for the camera position.”
On a third occasion Lückow was charged with a green screen shot using Mo-Sys’ 3D inserter together with the 120EXe. “We had to change cameras when we shot high-speed frame rates and needed to put the camera in precise offsets, because the nodal offset needed to be the same every time,” he explains. “With the 120EXe, I could interchange the cameras and balance them very easily and could quickly frame up and know I would have the correct offsets through the pipeline.
“The 120EXe works very well for us. You don’t see this ease of use and very high precision, even with a heavy camera and when placing it in tenths of millimeters and fraction of degrees with other heads. The sensors are extremely precise, easy, and stable. And Mo-Sys’ databus delivered the data to our 3Dinserter, which previsualized and logged the data without any flaws or errors.”
The OConnor 120EXe provides absolute output pan and tilt position information via a 19-pin Fischer connector. Mo-Sys provides a companion encoder box that allows high-resolution pan and tilt data of 1.8 million counts per revolution, making it suitable for film and HD formats.
The 120EXe features built-in encoders rather than bolt-on assemblies of encoder hardware. It can support up to a 120 lb (54kg) camera package through the head’s entire tilt range of ±90 degrees, and can counterbalance up to 240 lbs (109kg) through a tilt range of ±60 degrees (payload weights based on an 8-inch center of gravity).
“OConnor is the head of choice for most DoPs in my region of the world. I like that, from shoot to shoot, you have the same feeling in the fluid drive, even if you use different rental houses. For me, when delivering live-action datalogging and motion control, it is extremely important that the operator feel as natural as possible. Using the OConnor 120EXe equipped with sensors gives us that and more.”
For further information on OConnor please go to www.ocon.com Or contact OConnor, 2701 N. Ontario St Burbank, CA 91504, Phone: 818-847-8666, Fax: 818-847-1205
Photo Caption: Lückow’s green screen shot using Mo-Sys’ 3D inserter with OConnor 120EXe