November 23, 2022 at 7:03 am #2555MichaelKeymaster
Here is a collection of frequently asked questions we have collected over the past months.
Q: What is LOKI?
A: LOKI is our new 6-axis camera robot system targeted for smaller studios or individuals who want to take motion control to the next level for their tabletop productions.
Q: What is different at LOKI compared to the larger camera robots?
A: Well, first of course it’s size and range, the maximum payload and the price tag of course. Beside that you can pretty much do everything with LOKI what a larger system can also do.
Q: What is the maximum payload of LOKI?
A: LOKI can handle a camera rig payload of maximum 3kg. Depending on the type of move or speed it can also handle a bit more but should not exceed 3kg for best results.
Q: What kind of camera can I use with LOKI?
All DSLR cameras, high speed cameras like the Chronos 2.1, RED Komodo, Blackmagic cameras, Phantom VEO with a light lens. Basically, all camera rigs which are not more than 3kg
Q: What is the range of the LOKI robot arm?
A: LOKI has a reach diameter of 1.186mm and depending on the camera mount position it can go as high as 1.7m or low as 0.65m
Q: How fast can LOKI move?
A: The system has a maximum speed at the camera of 4.2m/s with a joint move. Depending on the move type and path it will be slower than that. It’s fast enough to capture drop follow or pouring shots.
Q: Can you repeat moves for VFX shots and is it accurate enough?
A: Yes of course, this is one of the main use cases for robots. LOKI can repeat a move with an accuracy of 0.05mm. You can create, save, load and edit as many projects (moves) you need within ZM STUDIO software.
Q: Ho difficult is it to program a move with LOKI?
A: It’s very easy and intuitive – you setup your camera for keyframes by moving the robot with the game controller or using the display touchscreen buttons and add as many keyframes you want to the timeline in our ZM STUDIO software. Then you select how to move between keyframes and adjust the timing. That’s it – if you have ever used a video editing software like Adobe PR or AE you will learn it in 5 minutes.
Q: How do I control focus with LOKI?
A: The system comes with one follow focus motor which is also controlled on the ZM STUDIO timeline with keyframes. Optional you can add 1 or 2 more motors for full FIZ (Focus Iris Zoom) support.
Q: Can I easy transport LOKI on set for shooting?
A: The LOKI robot arm and it’s base are 78kg, if you need to transport in a smaller vehicle you could also take the arm from the base by removing a side cover and the 4 bolts. The arm and the base can be carried by 1-2 persons. The system just plus into a standard wall power outlet – 110-240V 50/60Hz, so it works worldwide.
Q: Can I export 3D camera information of a move?
A: This feature will be available soon – once you did setup your move you can export the 3D camera data including FIZ to a standard file format. With that you can animate your camera in your 3D program in post and add background plates or objects.
Q: Can the system also export 3D information in real time?
A: Currently not, but with our December 2022 software update we will add Unreal Engine 5 Live Link – with that you can use LOKI on your virtual production setup and render your background in real time based on the camera and FIZ positions.
Q: I can see some vibrations of the camera when the robot moves, is this a problem?
A: No it’s not a problem. Depending on the used lens, the actual move path and positions you will see more or less vibrations of the robot (aka Jerk). We are providing software settings in ZM STUDIO to reduce them, but it’s not possible to 100% eliminate them. You can remove these vibrations in post stabilizing very easily and/or you can use camera/lenses with IS to further stabilize the image in camera. Even when you do a multi pass VFX shot the resulting moves with post stabilization will line up almost pixel perfect matching frame by frame for every single pass.
Q: The range of the system is ok for tabletop, but do you plan to extend it in future?
A: Yes, for Q2/2023 we plan to release an additional track system for LOKI. It is motorized, programmable with keyframes on the timeline in ZM STUDIO software and it will come in 2.0m segments which can be put together for longer tracks. This is then the 7th axis of the robot.
Q: Have you developed the robot arm yourself and how reliable is it?
A: We work together with a robotics manufacturer here in Germany and we use their adapted industrial robot arm which is built for a 24/7 operation in factory automation. We are adding all components needed for the camera setup and of course our ZM STUDIO software, with some special modifications of the robot firmware to support our use cases.
Q: Where are you located and where is the system manufactured?
A: We are based in the south of Germany about 1 hour south of Stuttgart and 95% of the parts are designed and manufactured in Germany.
Q: What happens if a system is broken and how do you support your customers?
A: As a German company we provide 24 months of warranty of course. In the case of problems, we offer online and telephone support and will find solutions for all problems. Since the robot is built for a 24/7 operation in a factory environment, we do not expect any service work in a normal studio operation as camera robot for many years.
Q: Sounds all to be too good, but how much will the system cost?
A: The complete system has a MSRP of EUR 26.990 (+ tax and shipping), all parts as listed on our website included and a perpetual software license for ZM STUDIO – no additional costs like subscriptions or annual license packages. We ship worldwide (depending on export regulations).
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