Our motion-control rig was built mainly from LEGOs by the amazing Sunit Parekh-Gaihede. It worked very well and was fully functioning. We could have never afforded a typical motion control, yet we didn’t want to have to do this film without any moving cameras.
— Jakob Schuh, Director (Computer Graphics World)

Gruffalo - Motion Control

our part

Studio Soi came to us early on in the production of their Oscar nominated short film, The Gruffalo, for a way to solve camera moves using a low-cost motion control system.  They'd heard about our early rig tests using LEGO, and we designed a quick guerilla style prototype to demonstrate our approach.

Our vision with LOCO was to build a turn-key system that could easily be maintained, allow for future development, be precise enough for miniature sets (we hit around .01mm precision for our track) and be run by people who had never run motion control systems before and had minimal training.

using LEGO

Our design mentality is heavily based on fast prototyping and iterating, and in that sense LEGO fit perfectly into our model.  They thought so too, and have sponsored our rig in various incarnations.

LEGO isn't the first choice when it comes to stable motion control, but we were so taken by the idea that we couldn't resist.  As you can read below, we eventually machined some of our own components, but the LEGO mindset and modularity took us a long way.

the hardware

We designed the system using a few opensource toolkits ( processing ), LEGOs for the wheel construction, and machined the rest of the parts ourselves, including a custom set of tracks, and interfaces between the LEGO servo motors and industry grade gearing.

the software

Our design vision extends out to our software development - we tend to use opensource libraries as far as we can, build on top of them, and design our own toolkits when necessary (which can be more often than not!).  Here, we built the interface based on processing libraries, wrote our own GUI toolkit (which we still use), and used these libraries to connect to our rig.