This Robotic Camera Will Make You Feel Like Part of a Ballet Performance

By Andrew Liszewski on at

Watching ballet on TV doesn't provide nearly as satisfying an experience as seeing it performed in person—at least using traditional filming techniques. Director Tarik Abdel-Gawad has taken a radical new approach to capturing footage of a ballet performance, using a motion-control camera on a robot arm that's been choreographed as part of the routine.

Before filming began, Tarik worked with San Francisco Ballet principal dancers Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada at a motion capture studio to digitise every last move they'd make while performing. This gave him a virtual stage where he was able to program and sync the moves of a robotic camera alongside the performance. These movements would then be perfectly reproduced on-stage, while the dancers performed the piece.

Here's what the performance, entitled Francesca Da Rimini, looked like from behind-the-scenes with the massive stage-side camera making its intricately plotted moves:

Ballet Meets Robotics from Francesca Da Rimini Film on Vimeo.

And here's what the robot-mounted camera actually recorded during the performance—footage of a ballet that actually makes you feel like you're one of the performers on stage.

Francesca Da Rimini from Francesca Da Rimini Film on Vimeo.

[Vimeo via Laughing Squid]