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Andrew 'AJ' Johnson

"Upgrade" movie - how we used the Omega (AR) Rig for tracking actors...

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"Upgrade" movie - how we used the Omega (AR) Rig for tracking actors...


Hi All..
A few people have asked me about this… so thought id share the techniques we used on the Movie "Upgrade" which came out recently.



In the movie, the main character, GREY, receives a chip implant which enables him to walk again after becoming a Quadriplegic.


"STEM" the chip starts taking over and GREY becomes more and more mechanical both in the way he moves and of course… his fighting technique.

DP Stefan Duscio suggested we be "connected" to the main character and his movement as a chip takes over throughout the film.

We used my MKV Omega-R rig (which is the upgraded version of the AR) together with the Omega Control app for the iPhone written by guru Ruben Sluijter.
The app uses the iphone’s Gyro and Accelerometer’s to control the roll position of the Omega rig.

We shot all the fight scenes and a few special shots with this technique, basically strapping the iPhone tight to the actors chest or waist, depending on what movement we wanted the camera to follow.
It gets a bit of getting used to but for quick cuts and extended steadicam choreography we found that it was a super effective way of emphasizing the actors movements.

With the app you can also program set moves into it, so for one shot we wanted the camera to do 3 1/4 spins (1170 degrees) at a pre determined speed to follow a stunt performer flipping.

We simply dialed that into the app and triggered it for the shot. (that was the shot of the guy doing 3 cartwheel / flips then the camera stops dead level as we follow him out the door.)

Enjoy the film… its a crazy one.!

Camera details:
- Alexa Mini

- C and E series Pana Anamorphic Lenses.



These clips shows a variety of what we did:




Behind scenes clip…










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What settings did you use when attaching the phone to the actors?

Hi Benjamin,


We used various setting on the app although for the iphone realtime tracking, i generally had the "wifi roll smoothing" between around 7 and 15. any lower than about 7 was too jittery.

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Thanks AJ!


Doing a movie with Daniel Radcliffe at the momentan. For some shots we attached an iPhone to him.

Got great results with smoothing between 10 and 15. Sometimes we went as far down as 6.

There is quite a gap between 6 and 5. 5 is unusable whereas 6 works for certain shots.

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