Bringing extreme Hollywood film making to life

25th October 2017
Posted By : Anna Flockett
Bringing extreme Hollywood film making to life

With advanced, high-voltage Gold Drum servo drives, perfected with Elmo's Application Studio motion design software, the Mega Trax robotic camera dolly is able to capture extreme live-action footage. Elmo Motion Control an innovative motion solutions company designed to make smart machines smarter, has announced that the revolutionary Mega Trax MX 500 semi-autonomous, high-speed, robotic dolly system uses its Gold Drum HV servo drives and the Elmo Application Studio II (EASII) motion design software tool to achieve never-before-seen, extreme, high-speed, live-action footage.


To address the ongoing creative-meets-financial-and-technical-limitations dilemma in the entertainment industry, writer/ director Howard McCain and VFX supervisor David Kuklish founded Mega Trax. With credits spanning large-scale films (Outlander), franchise films (Underworld), televisions shows (Conan) and theme park attractions (Universal Studios), the two entertainment mavens created the world’s first semi-autonomous, high-speed, robotic dolly system. The company’s flagship product, the MX 500, is revolutionising the filmmaking industry by creating high-speed, live-action shots for movies, television, commercials, sports and live event venues that were previously only possible with computer generated imagery (CGI).

Howard McCain, co-founder and CEO, Mega Trax, said: “Elmo has a great reputation for precision motion control, which gave us a high level of confidence in the company. Then, we realised that Elmo’s servo drives were the only ones that could handle the power and motion control requirements that we needed to deliver extreme action shots with our robotic dolly system. Elmo helped us create a system that will give audiences the jaw-dropping ‘wow factor’ of real, live-action footage.” 

Each of Elmo’s four high-voltage, lightweight, extreme power density Gold Drum HV servo drives can handle up to 100A/800V and are capable of delivering more than 65kW of continuous output power. The compact Gold Drum HV’s extreme high voltage is vital to the robotic dolly achieving high speeds and fast acceleration. The EASII software tool’s flexible programming environment makes it easy to quickly create and implement motion, and intuitively program and fully manage Elmo’s servo drives and motion controllers. Elmo’s complete motion control solution for the MX500 reduced overall power consumption and extended battery life, and enabled the robotic dolly system to consistently and efficiently reach extreme performance metrics. 

The Mega Trax MX 500 semi-autonomous robotic dolly system can:

  • Safely go from 0-62 mph in 3-3.5 seconds.
  • Decelerate, switch directions and again accelerate without hesitation.
  • Reach top speeds of over 90mph.
  • Complete up to 50 high-speed, quarter-mile runs per battery charge.
  • Achieve perfect synchronisation among four motors.
  • Capture ultra-smooth camera shots at top speeds.

John McLaughlin, President, North America, Elmo Motion Control, said: “Mega Trax’s requisites for high power for acceleration and extreme power density outlined a unique and complex configuration that could only be achieved with a powerful, advanced motion control solution. Through deep motion control expertise and extensive experience, Elmo helped Mega Trax meet and exceed these expectations with high-efficiency servo drives and an easy-to-use programming software tool. It’s a thrill to contribute to the creation of such a revolutionary, disruptive technology for a high-profile, innovative industry. We look forward to future opportunities to collaborate with Mega Trax."


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