Servo Drives for the Entertainment Industry | ADVANCED Motion Controls

servo drive stabilized camera

The entertainment industry blends an unconventional mix of art, physics and engineering to create experiences that viewers will never forget. Behind the scenes of your favorite movies, plays, and rides, motion control applications are actively assisting in creating unforgettable moments that you might not even realize.

So what do movie studios and amusement parks use to make these motion control applications possible? Servo drives.

That’s right; ADVANCED Motion Controls’ products aren’t just for manufacturing. Our products have been featured in some pretty interesting places you might never think about.

Motion control can be found throughout the entire entertainment industry including movies, museums, theatre, theme parks and more. By setting the spotlight at the right angle or guiding a camera to the right position, producers can create the ultimate shot that makes or breaks a production.

Aerial Shots in Movies and TV

Servo drives are often featured on studio sets because they offer the angular precision required to capture that perfect shot. Certain camera effects require that the camera is accurately tracked and the motion is exactly repeatable.

servo drive stabilized cameraThis is especially important when combining live action with CGI (computer-generated imagery) effects. It’s already difficult to realistically mix CGI with live actors, but when the camera moves, the difficulty increases dramatically. What you might not realize is that when the camera moves, the perspective, location, lighting and relative size of the CGI character must change to match the relative movement of the live actors.

A servo controlled camera makes it possible to film the scene with or without actors repeatedly and then port the motion into the CGI process to verify that the point of view is correct.

Servo drives can also be found on tracking shots and are often featured on cameras for live TV.

They can assist in smooth camera motion by offering multiple axes of movement and rotation, as well as acoustic silence. This is important because movie directors will kick off any offending equipment in a second, costing the manufacturer their reputation.

Our motion control products have even been featured in motion control movie seats across the country and around the world, offering a noise-free and fun entertainment experience.

Theatre

theater set pieces motion control

Theaters use motion control to create rotating stages and make props come to life. Servo controlled lighting systems automatically track performers on the stage, offering that perfect spotlight when required. Beyond this, servo drives are reliable enough to offer the exact repeatable motion and tracking requirements needed every time for live stage performances.

Common applications include:

  • Moving/animated set pieces and scenery
  • Electronically controlled spotlights – smooth motion
  • Curtain control
  • Moving/rotating stages

Water Features

water feature at Bellagio with servo drive controlAnyone who‘s visited Las Vegas has probably seen the Fountains of Bellagio. The dancing water, light, and sound effects show in the lake in front of Bellagio have become an iconic Sin City visual.

Well, did you know it takes a team of 36 engineers to make the show possible, controlling more than 1,200 water-shooting devices, 5,000 lights, and a sound system cranking out more than 56,000 watts of eardrum-pounding music?  The computerized system pumps water from the 22 million gallon lake into pressurized tubes that shoot the water in whatever direction they happen to be pointing based upon the intricate choreography.

208 water guns controlled by ADVANCED Motion Controls servo drives must communicate across a network in real-time to make the water appear like it’s dancing to the music. They pivot and swivel, allowing the comparatively thin streams of water they emit to go up, right, left, forward toward the street, or backward toward the hotel.

Water features powered by ADVANCED Motion Controls can also be found in many plazas and other public places. Our water feature nozzle controls have been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people from all across the world.

Animatronics

animatronic Lucky the Dinosaur motion controlCGI (computer-generated imagery) is the technology of choice for special effects but this doesn’t mean animatronics have been relegated to obscurity! Your favorite movies, including the original Star Wars trilogy, Aliens, Jurassic Park, and the early Harry Potter films relied heavily on animatronics.

ADVANCED Motion Controls servo drives have been used in the industry for both CGI and animatronics. Beyond the screen, animatronics can also be found in theme parks and museums. Animated characters have a range of complexity from simple on/off motion to sophisticated multi-axis coordination and kinematics.

Character movements need precise movements in order to look real and authentic for guests, which is why animatronics often rely on servo drives. Many of these characters can be seen on theme park rides and shows. Museums use animatronics in dinosaur exhibits where they move and roar at passers-by.

Simulatorssimulator with servo motion control

Speaking of realistic movement, perhaps the coolest applications for our servo drives have been racing and test flight simulators. With quick responses, our motion control applications provide realistic responses for riders of all sizes, creating a much more immersive experience than many other simulators.

BattleBots

battlebot Mechadon with servo drive controlOK, maybe we lied before. The One of the coolest applications of ADVANCED Motion Controls’ servo drives may very well be in TV’s own BattleBots. This includes all of your favorites,  Mechadon, Ronin and Overkill. AMC is up to the challenge of a fight to the death and win-at-all-cost battle!

AMC’s servo drives offered the perfect power to weight ratio, robustness and reliability to help these fighters win. With endless customizable options, these BattleBots were suited with the best in breed motion control parts to beat their competition.

Other Projects

Our drives have been featured in many other fun projects beyond the conventional entertainment industry, such as Dane Kouttron’s Flying Nimbus and our very Five Ball Toss demo.Flying Nimbus servo drive power