InCinematographer - Issue 1 - June 2017 - 30
www.incinematographer.com | Issue 1 | June 2017
StarTracker installed in a
(note the fluorescent targets)
Mo-Sys Engineering StarTracker "fast becoming de-facto standard for VR/AR in-studio camera tracking...
o-Sys Engineering, the London-based
developer of StarTracker, the first automatic,
real-time optical camera tracking system, has seen its
technology adopted by high-end television networks,
corporations, production companies, and regional TV
stations throughout the world.
Since StarTracker's introduction last year, it's
found a home at networks, including: BBC, FOX,
Telemundo, NHK, Sky Sports, ZDF in Germany, and
ESPN; and corporations such as Hewlett-Packard,
Audi, and General Electric. Mo-Sys systems are in use
in over 40 countries.
The increased acceptance is due in large part to
the company's simplification of camera tracking and
its subsequent lower cost. "You can literally turn
it on like a light switch," Michael Geissler, CEO, MoSys Engineering explained. "Every day you simply
flick a switch and you're good to go. It runs in the
background and works every time. There's no more
advanced or cost-effective way to track in-studio
cameras, on pedestals or handheld, for virtual set
production. When you compare what StarTracker can
do against the expense and complexity of traditional
camera tracking methods for VR and AR, this is
genuinely disruptive technology."
As opposed to competitive systems developed for
other applications that are triple the cost and employ
several high-cost infrared cameras, StarTracker was
purpose built for virtual studio camera tracking.
It uses a single optical sensor on one navigation
camera and retro-reflective stickers that are peeled
from a roll and placed as a 'constellation' on the
studio ceiling. LED light reflected by the 'stars' is
detected by the navigation camera. The navigation
camera transmits the location data to the graphics
"There's no more advanced or
cost-effective way to track in-studio
cameras, on pedestals or handheld,
for virtual set production"
Michael Geissler, Mo-Sys Engineering
engine which produces the virtual environment.
Initial set-up can be achieved in hours, after which no
further calibration is required. It works equally well
mounted on pedestals, cranes, jibs or for use with
German production company Plazamedia uses two
StarTracker systems for their client Sky Sports for
in-studio production of the UEFA Champions League.
StarTracker systems mounted to a Vinten pedestal
and a crane are used in the creation of augmented
"In the past, camera tracking was a nightmare,"
said Michael Ermair, Head of Graphics Technology,
Plazamedia. "With StarTracker, it's just an
automated process running in the background.
It frees us to focus more on creativity. It's been a
significant upgrade for us in terms of production
value and reliability. The time-consuming homing
procedure of mechanical tracking has been replaced
with a maintenance-free optical marker recognitionbased tracking system. StarTracker has made it
immeasurably easier and more enjoyable to do
Before StarTracker, in-studio camera tracking
was performed with a combination of disparate
technology packaged together as part of an overall
virtual set bundle. "It was like a cocktail of solutions
sold as one," explained Geissler. "Now, technical
directors have a choice for tracking. And they know
that they can select a more robust and cost-effective
in-studio tracking solution for their application."
He said that at NAB2017, around 80 percent
of virtual set manufacturers had StarTracker on
their booths. In addition to the Mo-Sys booth, the
company's technology was on display at: Blackmagic
Design / Ultimatte, Brainstorm, ChyronHego, Ross
Video, WASP3D, and Zero Density.
Mo-Sys continues to improve upon the technology.
As proof of this, the latest release of StarTracker,
Version 2.0 provides increased positional accuracy
when tracking camera movements.
The StarTracker system components include:
the L40 remote head for high-end digital
cinematography; the V70 encoding kit; a bolt-on
encoding kit for the Vinten Vector 70 series camera
heads; and the high-resolution encoding kit for
Jimmy Jib cranes, jib arms and other heads.
"We're thrilled with the reception to StarTracker
just a year after its introduction," added Geissler.
"Its versatility and reliability truly set it apart. We're
confident that once NAB attendees see first-hand
how robust this
system is, its price
point and ease of
use, we'll generate a
ton of excitement at
Mo-Sys designs and builds advanced camera
robotics and high-precision camera tracking for AR
and VR for the film and broadcast industry.
Mo-Sys portfolio of camera tracking technologies
includes mechanical, inertial, to optical, in addition
to remote heads, broadcast robotics with overhead
and floor-based camera rail systems and on-set
Mo-Sys has delivered its products to large-scale
networks, including the BBC, Warner Bros. and
Disney. Mo-Sys systems have been used on feature
films such as: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,
Social Network, The Departed, Tron - Legacy, Life
of Pi, and Gravity and by broadcasters including the
BBC, ESPN, FOX, Red Bull TV and Sky Sports.