From its background in gyro-stabilized aerial cinematography, Pictorvision has found a new market on the ground with its 3-axis gyro-stabilized remote head—the XR system. It has been used on such films as Seabiscuit, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Spider-Man 2 and The Aviator.The company was spun off when defense contractor L3 Communications purchased Wescam in 2002 (primarily for the military and security applications of stabilized aerial imagery) and then sold off the entertainment division in 2004 (along with its Academy Award for Technical Achievement and 16 Emmy Awards).“The aerial head kept the camera really stable, and it didn’t take long before someone said, ‘Hey, let’s do this on the ground,’” explained company president Sean Licata.So the company’s XR system leverages its aerial expertise to deliver one of the most stable ground systems on the market. Its dual-gimbal design combines highly stabilized remote heads with fine precision steering. While many remote heads are only stable up to focal lengths of 200mm, the XR has been successfully tested at focal lengths up to 3,000mm. That level of stability often means that productions can forego track and dollies, and rely on the XR for a stable shot.The system offers seven steering modes to help deal with difficult steering maneuvers like tracking the horizon or staying focused on a central point while the camera is moving, enabling the operator to precisely steer, even with a long lens.
Written by Scott Lehane