I initially dove into the world of cinema and photography because of my passion for the automotive world and the arts. I have had some plans for more video work with cars in action but I always wanted more than action camera footage that’s stationary on the vehicle. Even with a jib and other equipment, I wanted more production value out of my work. Really, what I had in mind was a vehicle camera crane system.
For 2017, MotoCrane has the answer for many film markers. Motocrane is the world’s first universal camera crane system that can be mounted to any vehicle, turning your ride into a full feature camera car. Yes, universal with set up taking less than 30 minutes. The great thing is the MotoCrane system is modular, which makes it easy for two people to use and fully set up without the need for a large crew. Portability is not an issue either, the system disconnects and folds into a compact configuration and it is protected by a custom case.
Utilizing the ARMA jib arm, ACRO gimbal head, and the ATILIS base, the MotoCrane system is rated up to 80 MPH. The ARMA jib arm offers 360 degrees of rotation and 70 degrees of vertical lift while the Acro head has 180 degree tilt and roll with unlimited rotation.
No need to worry about heavy batteries and the hassle of switching them out. The MotoCrane system is set up for continuous power from the vehicle’s 12V accessory adapter. But how about durability? Well, the system is comprised of carbon fiber, aluminum, and steel to provide low handling weight with strength throughout to ensure it's built to last and peace of mind in your equipment.
Speaking of gear, the MotoCrane system support a range of cameras including Red Epic, ARRI mini, Sony A7s, Canon C100 and more. MotoCrane system is a worry-free operation with its software enabled limits to ease your mind. During a guided setup, users can save safe and critical positions with a range of motions to protect your ride and equipment.
Now on to control. You have complete control of the system from the passenger seat of the vehicle with zero-latency wireless HD motoring and full FIZ control. Every setting is at your fingertips with the Command Central iOS app.
Now to the final details most of us want to know… pricing and availability. Pre-orders will begin next month with pricing and shipping details being announced at that time. I except a decent size price tag to come along with the MotoCrane system and I don’t expect every person with a video camera system to be rushing out to order one, but I can’t wait to see how the MotoCrane will change the industry. To stay up-to-date on MotoCrane news and updates, you can click subscribe at the bottom of their website.
Included Accessories : iPad, Gamevice, HD Monitor, 1x Lens Control
iOS App : Free; coming soon. Free future software updates
Certifications : CE, RoHS, UL
Max Payload : 25 lbs
Range of Motion : ARMA: Unlimited Rotation, 30 deg up, 45 down. ACRO: Unlimited Rotation, Tilt & Roll: 180 deg
Supported Cameras :
- Red : Epic, Scarlet, Raven, Weapon, Dragon
- ARRI: Mini
- Blackmagic: URSA Mini, Cinema Camera, BMPCC
- Sony: FS7, FS5, F5, F55, F3, A7S
- Canon: C100, C300, C500, 1D C, 5D MkI-III
- Panasonic: GH3, GH4 GH5
Max Speed : 80 MPH
Max Acceleration : 1g lateral, longitudinal
Lens Height from Roof : 3' above, 3' below
Boom Length : 6' from center, 9' total
Max Controlled Speeds : ARMA: 4 sec 360º Swing | ACRO: 1 sec 360º Pan
Operating Temp : MIN: -30ºF, MAX: 120ºF *Over-heat protection
Weather : Water resistant
Power Input : Cigarette Lighter; 12V/10amp (fused in cable)
Roof : Flat, glossy mounting points (non-fabric, non-glass)
ATLIS Area : 2.5'x2.5' MIN, 4'x4' MAX
Suction Cups : 6 inch diameter, 70 lb load rating each (x4)
Security Harness : Straps to wheel fenders rated to 300 lbs each (x4)
System : 95 lbs unloaded, 170 lbs fully loaded (including max payload)
ATLIS Base : 35 lb unloaded weight
ARMA Boom : 50 lbs unloaded weight
ACRO Head : 10 lbs unloaded weight
Wireless : Long-range RF, Bluetooth Low-Energy, Wi-Fi
Energy Storage : 2 Ultracapacitors, 100 amp peak output
Intra-Module Connectors : None / automatic
ATLIS Connections : 12V in, SDI out
ACRO Connections : HDMI, SDI, 2x LIMO Connectors (Lens Control), D-Tap
Accessory Power : 200W D-Tap
Internal System Voltage : 24V
All photos used with permission.
Those hooks in the wheel arches.... nope.
It's fine for a rental car but if you plan on slapping this on a feature car for some rolling close ups, you better have good insurance.
If I had access to this equipment I would be slapping it on my beater VW wagon to shoot the Audi, not the other way around.
I've produced high-end car commercials for all of the major and minor automakers for 30 years and have had the opportunity to use almost every camera car on the market, including The Edge System, The Filmotechnic System, Pursuit Systems, and others. What I can tell you is that the people who operate those camera cars - from the drivers to the crane techs to the head techs - are all highly skilled technicians and artists with decades of experience behind them. It take years of practice to not hit other vehicles with arm, to not bury the arm into a hillside, or, in general, to produce a safe environment for shooting car to car that protects the driver of the picture car and everyone around them. Those systems, by the way, require one person to operate just the movement of the arm, and another person just to operate the movement of the head. The idea that one person - as Motocrane advertises - can safely operate both the head and arm while driving at a max speed of 80mph is a dangerous assumption. That anyone can buy or rent this piece of gear with absolutely no experience in operating it safely is a safety disaster waiting to happen. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.
I agree that you are right, but two things...
- Driver and Camera/Arm operator are absolutely two different people.
- How do you gain experience operating such equipment if the price of entry on the equipment is 6 figures and up? While they haven't got a price point, it seems the attempt here is to make this type of setup easier to get into than say a dedicated vehicle or something more permanent than the 'pro' rigs.
I'm all for it. Innovation is what keeps this industry going.
I fully understand that there's a driver and operator.
Regarding your other comments, I agree that the price of admission to the systems I mentioned is beyond just about everyone. That's one of the reasons they're rental items and not often - if ever - purchased. And generally, they're rented from the companies that build them and are crewed by those same companies.
There's no easy answer to the "how to get experience" question. But my argument still stands: this is a highly trechnical and potentially dangerous piece of equipment. I've been on set when circuit boards go awry, or when communication breaks down between the camera car driver and picture car driver. Only the most skilled technicians can get themselves out of those situations and avoid injury to everyone involved. And sometimes they can't.
Perhaps Motocrane could offer a certification and safety program to insure that anyone taking the gear knows how to use it.
One more thing: I would no more trust Bluetooth or wireless control of an arm and head traveling at 80mph than I would trust myself piloting a rocket ship to the moon.