In the rapidly evolving landscape of cinematography, agility and innovation are paramount. The AGITO systems, renowned for their dynamic and modular capabilities, are set to undergo a revolutionary transformation. By embracing the MyWorld Challenge Call led by Digital Catapult we are committed to redefining how AGITO operates and interacts safely within a production environment and furnishing the opportunity to centralise operation control.  

Collaboration: The Backbone of Innovation

The Challenge Call funding offers an unparalleled opportunity for us to collaborate with industry experts, tech enthusiasts, and potential users. To conceive something extraordinary, diverse minds must converge, brainstorm, and iterate. We intend to harness this collective intelligence to refine our concept, bolster the project’s feasibility, and ensure it seamlessly integrates into current workflows. Our in-house team, in combination with contractors, are set to deliver solutions that will open commercial opportunities specifically for broadcast and live events markets.  

Project Objectives: Charting the Course 

  1. Centralised Software Platform:

Our primary mission is to create a software platform that promises centralised control. Imagine a world where cinematographers have the power to oversee and dictate multiple AGITO systems from a unified interface! Not only would this enhance efficiency, but it would also empower the creative vision, making intricate sequences easier to manage and execute. Through centralisation, we enable various operations that utilise presets and positions and animation curves that seamlessly perform within many different production scenarios that require orchestration and repeatable performance.  

  1. Visualisation & Advanced Control:

Beyond mere control, we aim to offer an immersive experience. As cinematography becomes more intricate, the ability to visualise movements, anticipate challenges, and craft precise controls becomes indispensable. The subsequent AGITO-specific simulation and visualisation software are steps in this direction. The technology foundation developed during the project will form the basis of more advanced planning and visualisation.  

  1. Streamlining Workflow:

We recognise the challenges of live event production. Juggling multiple AGITO systems, ensuring consistency, and mitigating errors – it’s no mean feat. Our project seeks to simplify these processes, providing a smoother, more efficient workflow and saving time and resources. This also includes the significance of reusing presets and positions to orchestrate AGITO movement with other production choreography.  

Anticipating Impact: The Ripples of Change 

Every innovation creates change by its very nature. Our project isn’t merely a technical upgrade; it’s an overhaul of how AGITO systems are perceived and utilised through centralised control, out of line-of-sight and in environments with static or dynamic obstacles.  

Enhanced User Experience: 

A more intuitive interface means cinematographers can execute their vision without technical difficulties, including the movement behaviour, albeit linear, ease-in, ease-out or editable b-spline curves you see in mainstream animation software.  

Safety Assured: 

With the integration of the Sonar system, the safety of both equipment and crew is assured. As AGITO moves autonomously, potential hazards can be detected and mitigated in real-time, providing a seamless production process. Our approach like what you see in a semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicle where brakes are applied when the probability of collision is high. We are also incorporating predictive analysis outside of the trajectory boundary for sudden changes in direction. 

Economic Efficiency: 

By automating and streamlining processes, productions can save considerable time and human resources costs. Especially when movement and orchestration are pre-planned before appearing in the studio or event. Integration between 3rd party systems is also essential ensuring that the AGITO systems are in synchronous with other components or assets in production.  

Why This Challenge? 

Understanding the Limitations: 

AGITO, though advanced, is currently limited by its Master Controller. This one-to-one relationship between AGITO and its operator often acts as a bottleneck, especially in large-scale productions where two or more AGITOs must be controlled.  

Vision for Scalability: 

Our vision is not just to overcome this limitation but to render it obsolete. With our proposed software, we can control multiple AGITO systems simultaneously, offering unprecedented scalability and flexibility. 

Meeting Industry Demands: 

Our project was chosen based on feedback from the marketplace, our customers, potential customers, and partners. It’s a direct response to the industry’s growing demands. By offering centralised control, enhanced visualisation, and a robust safety mechanism, we are answering the industry’s collective call for evolution. 

Addressing the Challenge: Our Roadmap 

Drawing from our initial prototype showcased at IBC 2022, we’ve gleaned invaluable insights. These insights form the bedrock of our next steps. 

Prioritising Safety: 

One clear takeaway was the pressing need for enhanced safety. Primarily when operating advanced systems like SkyTrax, potential collisions could prove costly. Our emphasis, therefore, is not just on controlling AGITO but on ensuring it operates within a safe environment. 

Technical Blueprint: 

The Commander software’s backbone will be a robust web application stack, ensuring device flexibility. This design choice promotes accessibility, ensuring control is not restricted to a particular device or location. 

On the hardware front, our focus is on proximity detection. We can pre-emptively detect obstacles by leveraging cutting-edge technology like Intel RealSense sensors, ensuring real-time response and safety. 

Iterative Approach: 

We are fully committed to an iterative development process. By constantly seeking feedback, testing our prototypes in real-world scenarios, and refining them based on insights, we aim to create a solution that’s innovative and deeply aligned with user needs. 

Conclusion: A New Dawn of Safe Cinematography 

Our journey with the Open Challenge is more than a project. It’s a vision. A vision where AGITO systems, equipped with off-the-shelf hardware sensors and our software, redefine the boundaries of safe cinematography within Broadcast, Outside Broadcast and Live Events. It’s an invitation to step into a world where creativity isn’t hindered by technical limitations but enhanced by them. 

Blog by Motion Impossible, Challenge Call project