Focus on camera remote control systems


Bradley Engineering is a customer led, Innovation Company specialising in camera remote control systems. They have a strong and clearly defined company culture which, together with their technical expertise, has enabled the company to achieve steady and sustainable growth even throughout the recession years.
A large part of their external philosophy is a strong emphasis on customer interaction and support to ensure that their customers profit from doing business with them. We ask Bradley Engineering to answer some of the most frequently asked questions they come up against. Refreshingly their responses demonstrate how a company really can operate and understand the Customers perspective.
Can we control more than one camera from a single control panel?
Simple answer -Yes. We make a range of controllers starting with the Mini Joystick which can control 2 heads. Next is the Quad Joystick which you guessed can control 4 heads. Our biggest controller in the Multi function controller which is able as a stand alone to control up to 8 heads but combined with our Multi Camera Selector can control up to 99 remotes on a system. You can also control the same cameras from multiple operator controls. We like to make things as compact and integrated as possible, straightforward to operate, and easy to rig with minimum cabling.
What cameras can we use – only yours or others?
Other people make good stuff too and we have extensive experience of interfacing with 3rd party equipment: You can use either our cameras or any other manufacturers eg Sony, Ikegami. We load the appropriate camera protocols into the head to enable CCU control via our standard RCPs. We control various lenses, including Canon and Fujinon as standard. The design ethos is very much from the cameraman’s perspective, due to the MD David Bradley previously working in that field. It is for that reason that we don’t restrict our compatibility with complicated plugs and fittings or special cabling.
Does it need special cables?
As answered above No. We use industry standard cabling throughout our range as we believe that this just makes it a whole lot easier for operators on site . There is nothing more frustrating that you get to your shoot and you are missing a cable from your case and only one specific branded cable will work. Standard XLR3 audio cables will carry the data perfectly well and can easily be sourced or made.
How far apart can the camera and controller be from each other?
In theory – anywhere in the world. It is, after all, only data! However, for most practical applications up to 1km over a single cable without repeaters. We also sell repeaters for runs over 1km. Power would need to be more locally sourced.
Can it be inverted?
Yes. All our remote pan and tilt heads can be rigged upright or inverted. Often we are approached by customers who want a specialist mount so that they can invert the equipment or mount it in an unusual way. Because we engineer on our site we are able to design and manufacture exactly what they need. We are very much customer driven and offer a high level of customer service as well as enjoy the challenge the special projects sometimes bring.
Are they weatherproof?
All bar one of our remote heads are weatherproof - the one that isn’t does have a fitted rain cover/sun shield available. Being weatherproof our cameras are suitable for outside broadcast and have dealt with some extreme conditions where even we have been shocked that they functioned fully – One example was at the Ryder Cup 2010, Celtic Manor in Wales last year. Our Gyro 350 was mounted on the Skytrac (see picture) and it worked from 6.00am to 7.00pm for four days producing some incredible footage in the torrential downpours that disrupted the play throughout the competition.
Where can we get operators help/instructions?
Our design philosophy is often different from other approaches. We know that equipment gets unplugged accidentally, that computers crash, that data, like audio and video, sometimes breaks up. We also know that broadcast television equipment often has a hard life and still needs to work on the day. Our equipment is designed to cope with all these things - and more.
Instructions are shipped and emailed to the customers with new deliveries but we understand that these often get lost by the time the operator gets the kit on location. Because of this, all of Bradleys instructions will soon be available to download from our web site, however we still like to help our customers personally, the most usual solution, we help over the phone. Often operators call us directly and we answer their query and run through what they want to achieve with the equipment this way. You may even speak to the very person who built the equipment so you can see the benefit of this and not enough companies allow for this personal service these days.
Is it possible to upgrade instead of buy new?
Most of our kit can usually be upgraded to the latest specification very easily. There are often new software routines following customer feedback, or bug fixes. All these get installed automatically during a regular service and major upgrades are something we offer at a fixed price. We use as much of the original unit as possible, case, joystick, plugs and sockets etc. This not only keeps the cost down to the customer but means less waste. All the products we have ever made are compatible with each other and upgradable. This makes our equipment as future-proof as possible. In fact rarely is anything disposed of so you could say we are a naturally green company. We have customers today who are still using equipment purchased nearly ten years ago and it is still fully operational. We produced our first remote pan & tilt head in 1998. It was, of course, analogue. Since then we have moved on a long way to our latest, digital, U-Series remote heads which encompass a host of features and use the latest technologies for smooth, quiet, multi-camera operation.

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