Pacific Motion recently got a call for a fast motion control dolly. That isn’t so extraordinary, but this client wanted to go REALLY fast! They needed a dolly that could track a professional athlete (and not a bowler or golfer), running at full speed. The client had contacted a few other motion control companies and been told to call Pacific Motion. The truth was, that no one had a dolly fast enough to pull off the shot that the client wanted. At the time, even Pacific Motion didn’t have a dolly that was fast enough to do what the client wanted. That’s where the fun started.
At Pacific Motion Control, we pride ourselves on being able to meet clients’ needs, whatever they may be, and this was the perfect opportunity to show our stuff. Within 2 weeks, with the help of Academy award winners, Mike Sorensen (creator of the Zebra, Graphlite, and Gazelle motion control rigs) and Al Miller (Aerohead and Talon Heads), we built and tested The Cheetah. The Cheetah is a gear-driven (for precision and repeatability) motion control dolly, capable of traveling 18 feet per second (and easily pacing a runner), while outfitted with a Pan/Tilt/Roll head and full-size motion picture camera.
We built and tested The Cheetah motion control dolly in our shop, and we were sure that it would meet the client’s requirements, but we were excited to get the dolly on a stage, and test it under real-world circumstances. The first job that The Cheetah went out on required approximately 12 hours of continuous, precision repeat passes, on 100′ of track, at a top speed of 18′ per second. This was a torture test, and The Cheetah performed flawlessly. Throughout the shoot, The Cheetah never malfunctioned. It repeated every move with frame-accurate precision, and accelerated and decelerated even quicker than we expected. The client was thrilled, and so were we.
Check out the final product!
Motion Control Operator – Rob Menapace
Motion Control Tech – Craig Shumard
Second Tech – Garritt Hampton
We look forward to many more FAST shots with The Cheetah. If you need to film a fast-moving motion control shot, call Pacific Motion, at 818-768-1573, and if you need to do something that no one else has ever done, don’t wait, call us now.