The Louma Crane is known worldwide as the very first remote controlled camera crane, used extensively in the Film and TV Industries. The origins of the Louma dates back to the 1970s when Jean-Marie Lavalou and Alain Masseron developed a basic idea they had whilst making a film inside a submarine during their national service in France. Subsequent research and development in Paris, alongside David Samuelson and his team of engineers in London resulted in the world's first remote controlled camera crane, recognised as such by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and awarded an Oscar statuette in 2005. The term Louma derives from LOU & MA from their names.
Plans for a telescopic crane came to fruition when a new partnership was formed, led by Loumasystems in France with associate partners in the UK and US. With vast on set shooting experience between the assembled team and their industry friends, the task was to build a crane that, while as groundbreaking as Louma 1 was in its time, pushed forward the capabilities of a telescopic camera crane on a film set.
See an issue with existing equipment - try and resolve it, think of something new - try and create it. That is Louma 2.
The concept and design of Louma 2 was to build an ultra rigid telescopic crane arm with intelligent software that would simplify the achieving of crane shots with what has become known as 'Shot Assist'. By integrating the remote head with the movement of the crane arm with a digital network, experience gained by developing the first ever smart pan compensation function on Louma 1 could be further enhanced with Louma 2. The result is that the pan, tilt or rotate of the remote head is able to be coordinated by the swing and jib of the arm as well as the telescopic movement in a master / slave relationship.
One moving part of the system is able to slave another motorised moving axis - arm swing and pan of the remote head for example. For back pan compensation, the swing of the arm sends instruction to the pan of the remote head when the arm moves with a ratio to keep the camera always pointing in the same direction (which can then be added to by the camera operator as normal). Because the digital network travels around the system, receiving and sending instructions from / to the axis at 20,000 times per second, the reaction time is immediate. With this system in place, possibilities open up and things get interesting -
Variable ratio from the swing of the arm slaving the pan of the remote head to suit the shot depending on how far away the subject is from the camera : Smart tilt compensation when the tilt of the remote head reacts to the vertical movement of the arm : telescope movement slaving the roll of the camera : pan of the remote head or swing of the arm slaving the roll of the camera for flying POV shots - an entirely new and unique 'box of tools' has been created to aid the coordination between the remote head and the crane arm. This means that less time is required to rehearse shots and less retakes are required due to camera movement issues.
Another first for the Louma 2 was the invention of automatic telescope extension and retraction to create a straight camera move when the arm is moved by the grip, either side to side or up and down. To do this we created a two dimensional 'plane' in virtual space (think of a sheet of glass) at the push of a button so that the camera stays on this plane no matter the movement of the arm. In terminology, we named the function 'PLANING' which has become an industry standard. Recent developments of the function includes 'Point & Plane' where the direction of the plane is determined by which way the camera is pointing and is set at the single push of a button.
Many other groundbreaking features of the Louma 2 can be found around the website which are helping productions around the world save time and money while achieving the shots they planned.
Thanks to the simple process of adding new functions via software updates, Loumasystems and the Louma 2 team continue to develop the system further to bring innovation to the art of camera crane movement.