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Motion control rigs

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That's a very broad question, but there are several purposes to motion control.

The first and most traditional use is to be able to repeat a camera move precisely more than once. This might be used for instance if you wanted someone to become invisible partway through a shot. You'd shoot it twice, once with the person and once without, then dissolve between the two. You can do that without motion control with a locked off camera but if you need the camera to move, you need moco.

You might also see motion control used on a visual effects shot where we need to match the motion of a live action camera to one on a miniature, where the motion might be scaled appropriately, or in a computer.

Sometimes motion control cranes are simply used to perform a very smooth, controlled and pretty camera move.

One more recent use with things like Bolt include very fast motions to follow things like falling fluid. You can look at the Bolt demo reel to see this. Nobody could ever follow something so precisely and quickly in real time.

A lot of modern motion control devices are essentially just industrial robots as you might see in a car manufacturing plant. Using them requires knowledge of the software.

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