Control dolly shots remotely with AGITO from Motion Impossible

With this modular dolly system from Motion Impossible, you can control dynamic, innovative camera movements from the set.

While remote camera heads have been a thing for some time that allows the operator to remotely control panning, tilting, and rotating, moving the base of the camera has remained primarily a direct human activity. Even when shooting with a sophisticated remote head, it is usually mounted on a dolly and possibly on a boom that is operated by human hands to place it. The exception was high speed work like the amazing Mark Roberts Motion Control devices, but these are incredibly expensive and physically massive.

With the increasing focus on social distancing that is part of filming over the long term, there is a new demand for the ability to move a camera in creative ways while physically separating the crew from the cast.

Earlier this year, ARRI launched its remote camera systems, which offer a variety of well-integrated solutions for remote control of cameras, and demonstrated this with the AGITO providing motion. With the AGITOthat are offered by Rent AbelCineUsers are given the ability to move their dolly and stay safe.

Recognition: Movement impossible

The AGITO Modular Dolly System allows the cameraman to move the camera either on dolly tracks or from a safe distance while making movements that may previously have been impossible. Because the AGITO is lighter than a normal dolly and does not have to carry a physical operator and first assistant, it can perform movements with faster changes in speed and direction than you normally could. It’s designed to be smooth and silky even at slow speeds, making it a versatile tool for a wide variety of productions.

The AGITO is based on a central core unit that houses the processing electronics and power distribution. Here you can mount a variety of accessories. On top of the core, you would mount the camera either on a pipe for elevation or directly on a stabilizer system.

One of our favorite features is the interchangeable wheel system on both ends of the core. Often times, when transitioning from dolly tracks to work on a dance floor, you’ve used the same set of rubber wheels that weren’t optimal for both situations, or you’ve placed the dolly in skate trays on your tracks. With the AGITO, you have a set of dedicated rail wheels optimized for rail performance. When you get off the track, you have a set of sport bikes designed to offer more flexibility in a variety of terrains.

Off-road skills (or at least in the meadow) are one of the platform’s most exciting flexibilities. In order to take this type of recording, long distances had to be covered or a Segway / Gator and a steadicam driver had to be used in the field. The ability to take these shots right away and then get back on track gives great flexibility.

One of the worries many have when they hear the word “robotics” is, of course, “What about jobs?” And while robots can actually result in job losses in the factory, a robotic dolly is unlikely to cost jobs on set. It still takes a remote operator, in most cases a skilled dolly handle who is used to working with a director and a DP to design shots. This tool should be incorporated into their toolset by experienced dolly handles and understood by directors and DPs to design effectively. However, dedicated professionals are still needed to create recordings.

Recognition: Movement impossible

As more production returns, we must all learn new skills to ensure that we can all achieve our artistic goals while staying safe at the same time. AGITO is absolutely a tool for doing this.

For more information on AGITO, see Motion Impossible website.

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