Complex Networks is a modern entertainment company and a leading voice in youth culture based in New York City that creates and distributes original programming with premium distributors including Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, Snap, MSG, Fuse, Pluto TV, Roku and more. The company produces about 25 hours of programming per week in an old Verizon building formerly used by Yahoo.
In 2012, the former magazine publisher purchased a series of studios and production space from Yahoo. That space served as Yahoo’s main East Coast production facility and came with a full complement of Telemetrics robotic camera control equipment. The ease of use and reliability of the robotic camera systems have significantly helped handle the heavy workload.
This past January Complex Networks upgraded its studio with new robotic cameras and control panel, in order to support its popular online shows, like “Everyday Struggle,” a 45-minuite daily show (Mon-Thurs) that is shot in the main studio with new and existing robotics from Telemetrics seamlessly working together.
“It was fortuitous for us that when we moved in here, Yahoo already had a full Telemetrics system in place that still worked great,” said Ben Nelson, Manager of Post & Studio Operations at Complex Networks. “I’ve had experience with other robotic camera control systems but none have performed as well as those from Telemetrics. When we moved into this space we were happy to see that Telemetrics had been used before us. So we simply added onto the existing systems and made it better for our needs.”
On any given day, a flurry of daily production activity moves between three small studios and a larger sound stage. It’s not unusual to see crew transferring some of the Telemetrics elevating columns with S5 series Pan/Tilt heads from one room to the next—shooting one show in the morning and another, with an entirely different look, in the afternoon. The facility’s sound stage is circular in design and features a ceiling-mounted curved Telemetrics TeleGlide camera dolly track with an elevating column and S5 series Pan/Tilt Head. This stage is used for larger shows and other special events.
The latest upgrade in January saw the installation of new software for the existing Telemetrics RCCP-1A STS camera control panel to support several new PT-HP-S5 heads with Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro 4K cameras with Canon CN lenses (although they shoot most often in HD).
During each show Complex Networks’ robotic camera operator mans the RCCP-2A control panel to control up to six cameras at a time. In total there are a dozen cameras on elevating pedestals and one on the trolley track installed on the ceiling in front of the main set.
Greg Barron, Technical Director of Complex Networks, said they use a lot of slow sweeping shots—mimicking a jib move—and adjusts the camera heads as necessary to keep the talent in frame. Telemetrics now offers an Automatic Shot Correction technology called reFrame™ for use with the RCCP-2A panel and Barron said he’d like to upgrade to that capability soon.
“We are an efficient operation that relies on Telemetrics robotics to help us create the shows we do and it works so well for us,” Nelson said. “We couldn’t do this much programming on such a tight schedule without the robotics.”