Oct 22, 2019
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Dartmouth company hopes to change film industry with special motion technology

This is maybe skipping a step or two, but there’s room in Julian Taylor’s office in Burnside for an Oscar or an Emmy.

Taylor and business partner Jeff Levy own Andra Motion Technologies Inc., which is poised to make a big splash on the technology side of the film making world.

The partners also own Sunsel Systems Manufacturing, which builds circuit boards in their 74,000-square-foot headquarters shared by the two companies — erected last year at a cost of $6 million. Revenues for Sunsel are expected to hit $14-million by the end of this fiscal year, and while it’s too soon for revenue projections for Andra, Taylor said “significant revenues are coming on line.”

Andra engineers have developed a sensor, still too new to even have a name, that will allow for the automation of an increasingly complex part of the film-making process.

“Essentially, when you’re running a camera you have a focus puller (also called the 1st assistant camera) … who’s turning the focus knob in order to dial in the proper focus, manually,” Taylor said. “There isn’t anything that’s comprehensive enough to provide a fully automated solution that removes the distance judging but allows for full creative control. That has not been solved, except for what we’ve been able to introduce to the market.”

Andra became aware of the need for such technology after a meeting with NSCAD University professor Sam Fisher.

“They put on projects every year and the students have some very creative ideas as they’re studying film making,” said Taylor. “The problem for them is that controlling the focus of a camera has always been something that’s very difficult to do.”

In partnership with Sony Innovation Studios, the company is in the midst of a multi-stage launch of its sensor, which is about the size of a human thumb and contains 200 components.

The system consists of two parts. “One is the motion tracking technology that allows us to put sensors on actors and cameras, and we can very accurately and in real time know where they are in space. So, all this data is sent to a control system on a camera that then converts the motion tracking data,” said Taylor. “Our technology is being integrated with … emerging tech that’s coming on line, and what they’re trying to solve is that next generation of … filming, where there’s no more building sets, it’s all digital.”

Andra created an R&D team in 2012 to develop sensor technologies. It says the new invention won’t make anyone redundant, but rather provide a camera crew a capability and flexibility that doesn’t exist now.

“There is a technological need that is demanding a solution like this. What’s happening is, the higher the resolution … the focal depth gets narrower,” said Andra’s Peter Conlon. “One of the things that’s really fantastic about what’s happened is that cinematographers, and we’re talking the finest cinematographers in the world, have played with this … and have done things with it and said ‘Before Andra, that would have been impossible.’ They’ve unlocked a whole new array of cinematography that would have been impossible.”

Taylor is a mechanical engineer, Levy is an electrical engineer, and both are Dalhousie educated. They have more than 50 employees on the Sunsel side, and 10 engineers on the Andra side of the business, most of them also from Dal.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to attract the top talent, we’ve had the number one students for several years,” said Taylor, who expects to double employment at Andra in the next six to 12 months. “We’re in the process of hiring at the moment.”

Taylor says the film industry is always eager to hear about new technologies, and he has made multiple trips to Los Angeles to demonstrate his sensor.

“The limits are always being pushed and that means the cameras are in motion more often than not, there’s robotics involved in moving cameras around, the actors are being asked to do things in more complex movements and patterns,” he said, predicting that movies or TV shows using Andra will be released late this year or by next year.

And when that happens, he might have to go back to L.A.

“If it makes an impact on the industry, it certainly would be considered for a technical Oscar.”

Source: The Chronicle Herald

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Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Dartmouth company hopes to change film industry with special motion technology

This is maybe skipping a step or two, but there’s room in Julian Taylor’s office in Burnside for an Oscar or an Emmy.

Taylor and business partner Jeff Levy own Andra Motion Technologies Inc., which is poised to make a big splash on the technology side of the film making world.

The partners also own Sunsel Systems Manufacturing, which builds circuit boards in their 74,000-square-foot headquarters shared by the two companies — erected last year at a cost of $6 million. Revenues for Sunsel are expected to hit $14-million by the end of this fiscal year, and while it’s too soon for revenue projections for Andra, Taylor said “significant revenues are coming on line.”

Andra engineers have developed a sensor, still too new to even have a name, that will allow for the automation of an increasingly complex part of the film-making process.

“Essentially, when you’re running a camera you have a focus puller (also called the 1st assistant camera) … who’s turning the focus knob in order to dial in the proper focus, manually,” Taylor said. “There isn’t anything that’s comprehensive enough to provide a fully automated solution that removes the distance judging but allows for full creative control. That has not been solved, except for what we’ve been able to introduce to the market.”

Andra became aware of the need for such technology after a meeting with NSCAD University professor Sam Fisher.

“They put on projects every year and the students have some very creative ideas as they’re studying film making,” said Taylor. “The problem for them is that controlling the focus of a camera has always been something that’s very difficult to do.”

In partnership with Sony Innovation Studios, the company is in the midst of a multi-stage launch of its sensor, which is about the size of a human thumb and contains 200 components.

The system consists of two parts. “One is the motion tracking technology that allows us to put sensors on actors and cameras, and we can very accurately and in real time know where they are in space. So, all this data is sent to a control system on a camera that then converts the motion tracking data,” said Taylor. “Our technology is being integrated with … emerging tech that’s coming on line, and what they’re trying to solve is that next generation of … filming, where there’s no more building sets, it’s all digital.”

Andra created an R&D team in 2012 to develop sensor technologies. It says the new invention won’t make anyone redundant, but rather provide a camera crew a capability and flexibility that doesn’t exist now.

“There is a technological need that is demanding a solution like this. What’s happening is, the higher the resolution … the focal depth gets narrower,” said Andra’s Peter Conlon. “One of the things that’s really fantastic about what’s happened is that cinematographers, and we’re talking the finest cinematographers in the world, have played with this … and have done things with it and said ‘Before Andra, that would have been impossible.’ They’ve unlocked a whole new array of cinematography that would have been impossible.”

Taylor is a mechanical engineer, Levy is an electrical engineer, and both are Dalhousie educated. They have more than 50 employees on the Sunsel side, and 10 engineers on the Andra side of the business, most of them also from Dal.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to attract the top talent, we’ve had the number one students for several years,” said Taylor, who expects to double employment at Andra in the next six to 12 months. “We’re in the process of hiring at the moment.”

Taylor says the film industry is always eager to hear about new technologies, and he has made multiple trips to Los Angeles to demonstrate his sensor.

“The limits are always being pushed and that means the cameras are in motion more often than not, there’s robotics involved in moving cameras around, the actors are being asked to do things in more complex movements and patterns,” he said, predicting that movies or TV shows using Andra will be released late this year or by next year.

And when that happens, he might have to go back to L.A.

“If it makes an impact on the industry, it certainly would be considered for a technical Oscar.”

Source: The Chronicle Herald

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Dartmouth company hopes to change film industry with special motion technology

This is maybe skipping a step or two, but there’s room in Julian Taylor’s office in Burnside for an Oscar or an Emmy.

Taylor and business partner Jeff Levy own Andra Motion Technologies Inc., which is poised to make a big splash on the technology side of the film making world.

The partners also own Sunsel Systems Manufacturing, which builds circuit boards in their 74,000-square-foot headquarters shared by the two companies — erected last year at a cost of $6 million. Revenues for Sunsel are expected to hit $14-million by the end of this fiscal year, and while it’s too soon for revenue projections for Andra, Taylor said “significant revenues are coming on line.”

Andra engineers have developed a sensor, still too new to even have a name, that will allow for the automation of an increasingly complex part of the film-making process.

“Essentially, when you’re running a camera you have a focus puller (also called the 1st assistant camera) … who’s turning the focus knob in order to dial in the proper focus, manually,” Taylor said. “There isn’t anything that’s comprehensive enough to provide a fully automated solution that removes the distance judging but allows for full creative control. That has not been solved, except for what we’ve been able to introduce to the market.”

Andra became aware of the need for such technology after a meeting with NSCAD University professor Sam Fisher.

“They put on projects every year and the students have some very creative ideas as they’re studying film making,” said Taylor. “The problem for them is that controlling the focus of a camera has always been something that’s very difficult to do.”

In partnership with Sony Innovation Studios, the company is in the midst of a multi-stage launch of its sensor, which is about the size of a human thumb and contains 200 components.

The system consists of two parts. “One is the motion tracking technology that allows us to put sensors on actors and cameras, and we can very accurately and in real time know where they are in space. So, all this data is sent to a control system on a camera that then converts the motion tracking data,” said Taylor. “Our technology is being integrated with … emerging tech that’s coming on line, and what they’re trying to solve is that next generation of … filming, where there’s no more building sets, it’s all digital.”

Andra created an R&D team in 2012 to develop sensor technologies. It says the new invention won’t make anyone redundant, but rather provide a camera crew a capability and flexibility that doesn’t exist now.

“There is a technological need that is demanding a solution like this. What’s happening is, the higher the resolution … the focal depth gets narrower,” said Andra’s Peter Conlon. “One of the things that’s really fantastic about what’s happened is that cinematographers, and we’re talking the finest cinematographers in the world, have played with this … and have done things with it and said ‘Before Andra, that would have been impossible.’ They’ve unlocked a whole new array of cinematography that would have been impossible.”

Taylor is a mechanical engineer, Levy is an electrical engineer, and both are Dalhousie educated. They have more than 50 employees on the Sunsel side, and 10 engineers on the Andra side of the business, most of them also from Dal.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to attract the top talent, we’ve had the number one students for several years,” said Taylor, who expects to double employment at Andra in the next six to 12 months. “We’re in the process of hiring at the moment.”

Taylor says the film industry is always eager to hear about new technologies, and he has made multiple trips to Los Angeles to demonstrate his sensor.

“The limits are always being pushed and that means the cameras are in motion more often than not, there’s robotics involved in moving cameras around, the actors are being asked to do things in more complex movements and patterns,” he said, predicting that movies or TV shows using Andra will be released late this year or by next year.

And when that happens, he might have to go back to L.A.

“If it makes an impact on the industry, it certainly would be considered for a technical Oscar.”

Source: The Chronicle Herald

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

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