Where Art Meets Technology

From the world’s biggest sporting events to cinematic thrillers, today’s broadcast and film experts capture the drama using robotic cameras equipped with Timken industrial motion solutions. Two Timken brands — Rollon and SPINEA — help enhance production safety, quality and efficiency in global entertainment.

Reduction gear expert SPINEA and linear motion solutions provider Rollon are both part of a diverse Timken industrial motion product portfolio. Timken acquired SPINEA in 2022 and Rollon in 2018. Building on its engineered bearings leadership, the company’s growing industrial motion offering delivers technical solutions for robotics across industries and continues to evolve to meet future customer needs.

“In sports broadcast and film, the science of motion and the art of entertainment are converging in the rapidly growing robotic camera market, which benefits both audiences and media companies,” said Dusan Vasilisan, CEO of SPINEA. “We work with top innovators in motion control camera setups to make filming safer for camera crews, more entertaining for the people watching and more efficient for studios.”

Capturing every sports move and photo finish

Details are crucial when filming sporting events. Spectators want to see every pass, catch and photo finish — rain, snow or shine. Mounted broadcast cameras achieve this with the assistance of Rollon Speedy Rail, a self- supporting, silent linear motion solution.

Detail photograph of a swimmer's arms during training.

Movicom, a global leader in robotics broadcast camera systems, relies on Rollon to enhance the mobility of its Robycam solution, which features a camera on a winch-based platform with advanced 3D motion control. Crews using Robycam have captured events like the FIFA Women’s World Cup and FINA World Aquatics Championships.

Rollon developed the linear rails on which Robycam camera handling systems glide. For one permanent installation in a professional soccer stadium, Rollon designed and manufactured a long, single rail strong enough to carry a robotic camera the entire length of the field.

Application requirements included robustness, low noise and the ability to accommodate the camera’s top speed of movement at 10 meters per second. That’s more than 22 miles per hour.

Image of Rollon's Speedy Rail.

Rollon’s Speedy Rail helps keep Robycam’s gyro-stabilized camera head as stable as possible for smooth camera operation and high-quality footage.


More motion in action movies

Filming dynamic scenes requires camera systems that can move quickly through space, track target objects and still maintain image stability and sharpness. Filmotechnic, a Ukraine-based innovator in robotic camera systems, has delivered this for successful franchises like Star Wars, Mission Impossible, Transformers and The Hobbit.

SPINEA reduction gearboxes equip Filmotechnic’s remotely-operated robotic cameras, which allow human camera operators to capture footage safely from the sidelines. Filmotechnic’s cameras are mounted on filming vehicles, helicopters, cranes and rail systems, and can be controlled in up to six axes for high freedom of movement. This eliminates unwanted camera shake and vibrations.

A TwinSpin® gearbox. SPINEA TwinSpin® G series gearboxes are ideal for this application because they are precise, small and capable of operating in a wide range of ambient temperatures and weather conditions. The design’s high torque density permits an overall smaller camera footprint and allows for greater motion control and dynamics. The gearboxes also serve as a gyro stabilizer to help capture stable and clear images, even during chaotic scenes.

“Imagine the difficulty of filming a helicopter chase for the movie Mission Impossible, or a battle scene with countless extras portraying orcs, elves, dwarves and hobbits,” says Dusan. “With the help of robotic equipment, human camera crews are able to streamline the filming process, improve the predictability of the footage they capture and keep everyone on set safer. We’re excited to be a part of it.”

SPINEA and Rollon both apply their vast experience in industrial automation applications to customize solutions for the robotic camera systems market. Learn how SPINEA offers more flexibility for designers of mid-range industrial robots and Rollon 7th-axis solutions advance automated manufacturing.