Technodolly: A Programmable Camera Crane

Technodolly

Pacific Motion Control is very happy to announce the availability of the TECHNODOLLY. The TECHNODOLLY is the first of its kind; a programmable, repeatable telescoping camera crane, based on the Techno 15. Its state-of-the-art direct drive motors mean nearly silent operation and extreme precision without the backlash and noise of gears.

Film directors can now conceive camera movements without having to make any compromises, and directors of photography can shoot their ideas within minutes. In terms of its cinematographer possibilities, the TECHNODOLLY can be used by crews to create movements of unlimited length and complexity. These camera moves can then be repeated as many times as needed

Programming the TECHNODOLLY and editing moves is extremely fast. The camera operator, grip and focus-puller set up the first frame, a few frames in between and the last frame of the desired move. The TECHNODOLLY computer remembers these set frames and generates the movement between the frames. The camera operator then runs the move and tunes the move instantly by deleting or adding new frames. If needed, additional keyframes can be added before, after, or between existing keyframes allowing the move to be lengthened or edited with ease.

For live action the camera operator can override the TECHNODOLLY during the move. The TECHNODOLLY stores a virtually unlimited number of moves and can repeat these moves even months later.

The telescopic arm, camera head, focus, zoom, and iris are always on the spot. With its motorized base, the TECHNODOLLY covers movements within a space as big as 25 feet wide, 15 feet high, and 80 feet long.

The standard TECHNODOLLY package consists of:

* Telescopic arm for max. lens height of 15 ft.
* Motorized base with track
* DirectDrive camera head with three lens motors
* Control desk with two monitors on the desk and two monitors on the TECHNODOLLY
* Bloop light for syncing moves

Technodolly Specs

Lens Height and Reach

Maximum Lens Height On Track 4.5 m 14′ 9"
Maximum Lens Height Without Track 4.34 m 14′ 3"
Max Reach at Full Height On Track – – To Track Stops 1.19 m 3′ 11"
Max Reach at Full Height Without Track – – To Tires 1.75 m 5′ 9"
Max Reach at Full Height – – To Column 2.31 m 7′ 7"
Maximum Reach at Level Front of Column to Center of Tilt 3.71 m 12′ 2"
Minimum Reach at Level Front of Column to Center of Tilt 0.76 m 2′ 6"
Lens Height at 20° Elevation – On Track 2.63 m 8′ 7.5"
Max Reach at 20° Elevation 3.63 m 11′ 11"
Lens Height at 30° Elevation – On Track 3.26 m 10′ 8.5"
Max Reach at 30° Elevation 3.3 m 10′ 10"
Lens Height at 40° Elevation – On Track 3.89 m 12′ 9"
Max Reach at 40° Elevation 3.07 m 10′ 1"

Track Specs

Maximum Track Length 18 m 59′
Maximum Track Travel 16 m 53′
Maximum Telescopic Arm Travel 2.95 m 9′ 8"

Dimensions

Min. Length from Center to Front 0.71 m 2′ 3"
Max. Length from Center to Front 3.83 m 12′ 6"
Length from Center to Back 1.82 m 9′ 4"
Min. Overall Length 2.85 m 9′ 4"
Max. Overall Length 5.95 m 19′ 6"
Door Clearance Height 2.03 m 6′ 7"
Door Clearance Width 0.78 m 2′ 6"
Footprint 1.32 x 1.2 m 4′ 3" x 3′ 11"

Weights

Base 200 440
Column 230 507
Telescopic Beam Unit 140 308
Counterweights 274 609
2 Axis Head (with 55 lb. camera) 40 88
TECHNODOLLY (with 55 lb. camera) 884 1948
One Length of Track 40 88.2

Technodolly Pictures

Technodolly FAQ

Can the camera head and focus, zoom, and iris run automatically?

Yes, every axis can be programmed. Additionally, the Technodolly can be operated completely live (like a normal Technocrane). Live moves can also be recorded and repeated.

Can I run the crane automatically and control the camera head manually?

Yes, you can lock the movement of the crane, head or lens into the programmed move. Alternatively, the grip, cameraman, or focus puller can do their work manually.

Can programmed moves be changed?

Yes, camera paths and timing can be edited. Keyframes can be replaced or changed, and new keyframes can be added before, between, or after existing keyframes.

Can I extend the move to the front and to the back?

Yes, by adding keyframes before the first frame or after the last frame.

Can the TECHNODOLLY be rented without an operator?

A qualified operator and tech always accompany the Technodolly.

How many moves can be stored?

Virtually Unlimited.

How many keyframes can be used for one move?

Virtually Unlimited.

Does the TECHNODOLLY need to be returned to zero or taken home in between moves, or if it is turned off?

No, the TECHNODOLLY always knows its position. The TECHNODOLLY uses very advanced “absolute position” encoders so it never loses position, even when it is powered off.

Can I work with several moves at the same time?

Yes, with the Go To command you can travel between any keyframes of any move. Multiple moves can be stored and recalled at any time.

Can I manipulate the move while the TECHNODOLLY program is moving?

Yes, the operator can manually control the speed along the path. You can also override pan, tilt, roll, and zoom while the TECHNODOLLY is moving automatically.

Can you scale the moves?

Yes, moves can be scaled or offset.

Can the TECHNODOLLY be used to shoot multiple passes?

Yes, once moves are programmed, they will repeat precisely, as many times as you need. The TECHNODOLLY is perfect for “twinning,” changing background or foreground elements, and greenscreen/bluescreen shooting. With the bloop-plate (LED flasher), you can start the shoot precisely and match the passes.

How can I import a TECHNODOLLY move into my CGI program?

You can get a simple ASCII file of cartesian camera positions, camera angles, and lens data over time.

Is real-time tracking data available for use with systems like Brainstorm/Vizrt/ORAD?

Yes, the TECHNODOLLY exports tracking data on an RS232/RS485 interface (ethernet will be supported soon).

Can I run my CGI move with the TECHNODOLLY?

Yes, as long as you do not exceed the kinetic limitations of the TECHNODOLLY.

Will the TECHNODOLLY pass through a standard door?

Yes, it is 2’6″ (78 cm) wide and 6’7″ (2.08 meters) high.

How noisy is the TECHNODOLLY?

The TECHNODOLLY uses very advanced direct-drive motors which allow the rig to move precisely, without backlash and gear noise. The head, boom, and swing are nearly silent. Track and telescope use cable drive systems which create some noise, and lens motors are geared and are equivalent to Preston motors. We have shot many sound sync projects with the Technodolly, and noise is usually not an issue.

How precise is the TECHNODOLLY?

The TECHNODOLLY is better than +/- 0.2 mm. With the telescoping crane arm fully extended, moves will repeat with a precision of less than .008 inches (0.2 mm). As a point of reference, two sheets of paper are about .008 thick.

What is the maximum lens height of the TECHNODOLLY?

15′ 4″ (4.5 meters).

How fast is the TECHNODOLLY?

Max speed is around 2.3 meters per second (7.5 feet per second) – This is a straight line move combining track, swing, and telescope. Max track speed is around 6.5 feet/second (2 meters/second), and the telescopic arm can move at 3.25 feet/second (1 m/sec).

How much track comes with the TECHNODOLLY?

Up to 59 feet (18 meters) of track can be used with the TECHNODOLLY, but the TECHNODOLLY can also be used without any track.

How much electric power do we need to run the TECHNODOLLY?

4, 20 Amp 115V circuits are needed to run the TECHNODOLLY.

How many people come with a TECHNODOLLY?

Two. An operator and tech go with the TECHNODOLLY.

How much time do we need to be ready for shooting?

This depends on a few factors. For most shoots, it takes around 1 1/2 hours to unload and set up the Technodolly. This assumes that we can park the truck reasonably close to where we are shooting, that there is easy access for the equipment (stage door, no stairs, no elevators), and that the surface that the rig is being set up on is firm and level. If a long track run (40′ or more) needs to be laid, you should plan for 2 hours under these same conditions. Remember, these are rules of thumb and can vary greatly depending on the location and access. It is always helpful to have the tech attend tech/location scouts.

Technodolly Videos

Jordan Flight Plate Innovation Film featuring King Bach

Technodolly Operator: Paul Maples
Technodolly Tech: Garritt Hampton
Director: Seth Epstein

Old Navy Presents: The New T Machine

Filmed with the Technodolly
Technodolly Operator: Anthony Jacques
Technodolly Tech: Adam Francis

Technodolly and Gazelle Working Together

The Technodolly was used as the sun in this motion control miniatures shoot. The operator was Anthony Jacques from Arf and Co.

Sony HMD Commercial Shot with Technodolly

Behind the Scenes – Sony HMD Commercial Shot with Technodolly

Very Fast, Precision Move with the Technodolly

Technodolly Tests at the Supertechno Factory in Pilsen

Technodolly with 3D Beamsplitter Rig

Technodolly Greenscreen and Virtual Set