Live Transatlantic Ethernet Broadcast Robotics

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The future of broadcast took a giant leap recently with successful tests of live-action control of robotic cameras, from Kent, England, to Sao Paolo, Brazil, over the internet.

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Mark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC), world leaders in robotics and motion control for the TV and film industry, were pleased to have the opportunity to use one of their new high-speed pan tilt heads, the AFC-180S, at a major sporting event in Brazil on the 24th of November, while controlling the head remotely from a broadcast control centre in Kent - over ethernet with less than a fifth of a second delay.

MRMC have years of experience of designing and building state-of-the-art robotics, for everything from the latest blockbusters, like the current Oscar favourite “Gravity” (Sandra Bullock floated in space with the help of MRMC), to capturing the action and glory at the Olympics and Wimbledon.

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The AFC-180S is their new, extremely compact pan tilt head with speeds of 180 degrees per second, and full HD slip-rings, capable of carrying 15kg payloads. Ideal for sports broadcasts. It controls the lens and powers the camera. On this occasion it was fitted with the newest Grass Valley LDX camera and a standard broadcast zoom lens, all controlled remotely via a single ethernet connection, with the operator sitting at a joystick control in England. Images were streamed back to the operator using a high speed internet link while feeding back the control signals to the head. The delays were minimal and allowed the operator to very easily control the camera without having to compensate heavily for lag.

Assaff Rawner, Managing Director at MRMC said, “The future of outside broadcasting is rapidly heading towards a new model, where heads are setup just prior to events, or permanently installed at venues, and cameramen and operators can control their equipment, in any location in the world, without leaving the country, or even their office or armchair. Our robotics is key to making this possible, as well as the rapidly growing field of ethernet enabled cameras and the rapid spread of high speed internet. Together the field of OB will continue its rapid change in 2014”

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