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Ross Acquires Robotics Company

IROQUOIS, ON.: Ross Video has acquired FX-Motion, a robotic camera systems company based in Brussels. Belgium. FX-Motion is now Ross Robotics, a new product line in Ross Video’s portfolio. Terms of the deal, which closed in December, were not disclosed.

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Furio used in a live virtual studio on Belgium state broadcaster RTBF.
FX-Motion is best known for brining film-style motion control technology to television remote control and robotics systems. The FX-Motion Furio system has been used to control cameras and provide compelling visuals on the Eurovision Song Contest, “So You Think You Can Dance” and in augmented reality productions like the VGA awards as well as in news studio production environments. The company was founded by Stijn Vanorbeek, an electrical engineer and former Hollywood cinematographer. Vanorbeek is now president of the Ross Robotics division.

Furio is available in 2 variants – Furio Robo (Full Robotics System) and Furio RC (Remote Control System). Furio’s unique absolute positioning system and rail based tracking makes it ideally suited to virtual set and augmented reality applications, (virtual sets sans “greenscreens”).

Furio Robo is designed for live television production studio use in which typically a single operator controls multiple cameras with pre-set shot and motion path recalls. The system consists of a Pan-Tilt-Zoom Head (PTZ), Rail Based Dolly System with Elevator and a sophisticated IP based control system. The system scales from a simple PTZ head on a fixed tripod to a full multi-camera rail system.

Furio RC (Remote Control) is designed for applications in which an operator controls the camera system remotely using a local (encoded) fluid head and foot pedals to move the camera side to side and up and down. Furio RC translates the camera operators every move to the remote camera. Highly responsive, Furio RC is perfect for live stage productions. This system allows one camera operator to rapidly move a camera from one end of the stage to the other and get shots simply not possible with a roaming camera person.

“We are super excited about adding robotics to our product portfolio,” said David Ross, CEO Ross Video. “There is a very close link between the OverDrive Automated Production Control System, Production Switchers, XPression Graphics and now our Furio Robotic Camera Systems. We are able to offer some great integrated production solutions to our clients and really push the state of live production technology.“

Ross says he is excited about the prospect of using Furio to introduce augmented reality to news sets, offering the ability to create graphics that appear out of thin air. “In augmented reality, you’re taking a CG and merging the virtual world with the real world, keying the two together and keeping them fully aligned while doing the camera motion around the curved track, which is quite amazing,” he said, adding that the Furio system is unique in offering this system to broadcasters. “What’s the difference between a CG key and augmented reality? The difference is the camera motion.”

Furio customers include the BBC, which is installing a Furio system in its new W1 news studios, TV5 in France, Al Jazeera and Belgium state broadcaster VRT. Ross customer Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano Texas is a Furio customer and KCET, the community television station based in Los Angeles is installing an Overdrive with the Furio system as well.