History of Visual Effects - Motion Control

The use of motion control in filmmaking has been around for a long time. One of the first units, in fact, recorded onto a wax cylinder the movements of the camera and could then be played back. Computer operated motion control was first developed for the film Star Wars IV: A New Hope. This was the main technique used for the dynamic space flight scenes. By moving the camera around and past a static model, the effect was later achieved that the spacecraft seemed to be soaring past the camera. This home film from behind the scenes of Battlestar Galactica shows some of the ILM team at work in the original process:

Motion control has become a mainstream tool in filmmaking today with smaller units that offer a great deal of flexibility and control:

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