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Robots in studios can make creative moves that respond dynamically to events in a studio. With AI-assisted automation taking care of minute-to-minute live studio dynamics, directors can spend more
time on creativity and fresh, new ideas.

Robotic cameras came from the stars

It might seem improbable, but today’s computerised studio cameras may have their distant origin in the 1977 film “Star Wars: A New Hope”. Lauded for its special effects, the movie featured complex shots with dozens of moving spacecraft against a realistic-looking starfield and alien planets. With so many independently moving elements in the shots, George Lucas turned to computer-controlled cameras to create the action. Even though cinemagoers would never have guessed, the spacecraft didn’t move, but the camera did, through complex, pre-programmed paths designed to mimic the spacecraft’s motion.

Although primitive by today’s standards, the computerised system was accurate and repeatable. It meant the camera could track through complex motion paths repeatedly and precisely during multiple takes, each with different visual elements.

That single innovation changed filmmaking forever and established the principle that computer-controlled camera motion can dramatically enhance the look of a production.

A live broadcast studio is a long way from a Hollywood Sci-Fi set, but both settings have high production values and a distant audience of critical viewers in common.

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977). Lucasfilm.

Limitations in current robotic camera systems

Robotic cameras are complex mechanical systems with mass, velocity, and momentum. Viewers expect rock-steady camera shots and will immediately notice vibration, wobble, or any kind of unwelcome movement. The nature of the screen itself amplifies this issue because the physical edge of the display
acts as a fixed reference to highlight any undesirable camera motion. Viewers are accustomed to high quality manual camera moves – often resulting from the operator’s years of experience. The very least an automated system must achieve is to match the performance of a manually operated camera.


Many current robotic camera supports are constrained by their tracking systems. Some run-on rails and some on wheels, but they can’t move through custom curves. By definition, a system on rails can only move in the predetermined direction of the track – and can only respond to unexpected movements from a presenter or guest in a limited way. These restrictions aren’t a problem if the programme format is the same every day and with the same talent, but would be severely limiting in a modern, dynamically changing studio set-up.

Smooth movement

Smooth motion is essential for on-air performance. The audience can immediately see any bumps, irregularities or sudden direction changes. This limits some robotic camera supports to off-air movement only. Robotic movement isn’t a great technical challenge, but the smooth movement of large
robots, often with unwieldy payloads consisting of large lenses or teleprompters.


Some robots aren’t fast enough for modern productions. This is a complex issue. Making a faster robot would be relatively easy, but it’s not just a matter of linear (or curved) speed. Robotic cameras and their supports are heavy and carry a lot of momentum. If you move them too fast, they can become unstable.
They are more difficult to slow down quickly while retaining a smooth, controlled motion. Viewers would notice even quite subtle unwanted movement.

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Discover how Vinten technology guides can help you leverage AI and machine learning in robotic broadcast studios with practical advice and actionable insights.

What’s covered?

Part 1: Software architecture in the digital studio age

Explore the benefits of AI automation, including enhanced accuracy and streamlined operations, and gain a glimpse into future trends such as responsive presenter settings and voice-controlled robotics.

Part 2: AI and the future of robotic studios

Look at the benefits of transitioning to IP-based solutions and address challenges in enterprise network integration. Demonstrate real-world applications of network-friendly systems and discuss the potential of cloud-based broadcasting.

Part 3: Doing more with less – empowering the studio control room team

Provides comprehensive insights into how AI-driven automation can streamline studio setup, optimize real-time performance, enhance productivity with voice prompting and presenter tracking.

Part 4: Making robots more creative on-air

Learn how AI technology overcomes current limitations, generates smoother camera movements, and enables new production possibilities, empowering creative professionals to innovate in live studio environments.
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