MRMC boosts live sports opportunities with expanded Polycam range
UK-based robotics manufacturer Mark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC) has grown its range of Polycam tracking systems to include the new Solo, Velocity and Auto. Launched at IBC last year, Polycam is a software-controlled robotic system that allows multiple triangulated cameras and lenses to track a point (or numerous points) of interest, simultaneously and in real-time, using a single control interface.
With a 45-year history of manufacturing technology for the commercial TV and film industries, MRMC created Polycam to offer new editorial and commercial opportunities for live sport coverage. Producing fluid and precise repeat camera moves is a key requirement of motion control technology and, says MRMC, this latest development builds on that tradition.
“Although the principal of triangulated robotics is well understood,” says managing director Assaff Rawner, “producing systems that are easily configured, deliver consistent results, fit technically and economically in a live broadcast environment and offer real creative possibilities, are vital to realising the technology’s potential.”
MRMC has been developing Polycam with these challenges in mind, creating self-calibrating robotic heads, robust system architecture and simplified user interfaces. This process has now produced three Polycam variations which have been extensively tested and trialled on many sports including football, tennis, basketball, horse and dog racing.
Polycam Velocity is designed to simplify the control of multiple cameras at race tracks and other circuits where the path of the subject is known. The user need only adjust the speed of the cameras following the path. Real-time positioning data automatically adjusts focus relative to the moving target and slaved zooms maintain consistent framing. By offering consistent and repeatable camera moves Velocity allows features such as comparative race analysis possible.
Polycam Auto, meanwhile, is designed to interface to third party image analysis and tracking systems such as ChyronHego’s TRACAB and automatically control the point of interest of the camera. The operator simply selects an individual player (or group of players) to follow. With automatic and precise focus tracking, Polycam Auto is also ideal for supporting Ultra HD and high-speed camera technology.
Polycam Solo is the general system form that allows a single operator to manually and simultaneously control multiple perspectives and camera motion from a single controller.
Rawner adds: “By refining our Polycam features, we are aiming to offer a clear path to potential production benefits. Whether the driver is cost savings, unique camera perspectives, enhanced visual analysis or multi-camera web content creation, the new Polycam configurations are designed to add value on many levels.”