VENOM is a custom adapted 6-axis motion control system manufactured by KUKA designed specifically for shooting slow motion shots. It's construction focuses on two main attributes: speed and precision. The robot can lift any camera up to 16 kg, which means it is perfect for the world's most popular digital highspeed cameras such as the Phantom HD Gold or the Phantom Flex 4K. The flexible construction allows us to mount any necessary accessories, such as telescopic lenses, follow focus, etc needed to shoot even the most demanding set-ups.
The robot is equipped with an external triggers board which means it can control any type of other electric devices on the set such as servos, step motors, solenoids, lights, etc. It is very useful to synchronize all the devices used for sfx during each setup for it will guarantee that every take is timed perfectly and the director can focus on the details of each shot instead of losing time to bad synchronization.
The Venom rig can lift any camera with a weight up to 16kg, but for highspeed shooting we bundle it up either with a Phantom HD Gold (up to 1050 frames per second in FullHD 1080p) or the Phantom Flex 4K (up to 1000 frames per second in 4K 2160p or 2000 fps in Full HD 1080p) Each camera outputs RAW files for maximum post production capabilities and grading. The cameras feature a PL film lens mount, meaning we can use any type of PL film lenses the DoP wishes for.
Thanks to its advanced control panel, the robot can execute any sort of movement within its physical limits. That we can execute any move that is based on linear, circular or spline curves, which is pretty much any move we can think of. Below is the robot physical range guide.
|Axis data||Range of motion||Speed|
|Axis 1 (A1)||+/-185°||100°/s|
|Axis 2 (A2)||+35°/-185°||80°/s|
|Axis 3 (A3)||+158°/-120°||80°/s|
|Axis 4 (A4)||+/-350°||230°/s|
|Axis 5 (A5)||+/-130°||165°/s|
|Axis 6 (A6)||+/-350°||249°/s|
Venom is much faster than standard motion control systems such as Mark Roberts Modula Rig or Milo. The speeds below are represented in degrees per second units. Although that may not seem too clear at first when we look more closely at the values we see that the robot can travel from one extreme of its reach to the other in about 3-4 seconds, covering a distance of about 5 meters. Packshot camera movements are usually no longer than 2 meters, which means we can execute most of the moves in 2-3 seconds which is just what we need for commercial editing. If the move is very complicated the timing can extend up to 4-5 seconds. Of course we can adjust the speed of the move from 5-100% making it longer or shorter as the director sees fit.
One of the most common applications for the Venom rig is packshot/beautyshot work. Slow motion effects are very common now on the high-end commercial market so those, who want to get one step ahead, need something more. Adding movement to a highspeed take is just what it takes to make it to the next level. Venom is super fast, very precise and can control other mechanical devices on the set. It has everything that is needed to satisfy even the most demanding clients
The supreme reach of nearly 3 meters makes Venom an excellent choice for real live shooting. That means super fast camera movements thus far reserved for CGI enviroments are now avaible on the set. Whether shooting on a greenscreen or a built scenography Venom can spice up any video, feature film or commercial. Once robot is done for the day it is possible to dismantle it within 30 minutes to make room for a dolly, tripod or other conventional cinematography tools.
The thing about a giant robotic arm is... it's very flexible. It can carry any pauload up to 16 kg and that means that literally anything that meets the weight restriction can be attached to it. Bottles with liquids, glasses, boxes, crates, products, anything that needs to perform a precise repeatable movement can be mounted onto robot. What about the camera? We can put it onto another motion control robot like the Modula Rig and create some seemingly impossible shots.