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Starring role for bearings in camera stabilisation kit

Starring role for bearings in camera stabilisation kit

Kaydon Reali-Slim thin-section bearings supplied by RA Rodriguez are delivering both high quality and performance as part of patented body-worn camera stabilisation equipment used in the film industry. With around 200 units already in field service, the bearings have seen action on various blockbuster movie franchises.

Cheadle-based MK-V Omega has spent the last 15 years since its formation growing into a world-leading designer and manufacturer of body-worn camera stabilisation technology. Selling directly to the industry’s freelance camera operators, MK-V’s advanced systems are now in use worldwide. The success of the company’s systems is determined by many factors, as managing director Ashley Hall confirms: “One of our major concerns is weight, as every gram has to be carried by the camera operator, which means any bearings we select must be light. Rotation is clearly another factor; we’re looking for around two full rotations per second. Although not a huge speed – around 750 rpm – the critical aspect is that rotation must be super smooth.”

This last factor is particularly important in light of the film industry’s adoption of ultra-high resolution screens, where any irregularities in motion are more apparent to the naked eye – something directors are understandably keen to avoid. “In short, our system, the MK-V-AR, is so smooth that it allows native footage to be used,” says Hall. “Shots can be taken continuously without cuts, from high to low, or when stepping on and off moving vehicles or quad bikes. It can all be done seamlessly.”

The upshot is that footage can go from the camera to the cinema screen, which is important for both the director and the film production company (which can save both time and money). “The Kaydon Reali-Slim thin-section bearings supplied by RA Rodriguez are an important element in our performance promise,” states Hall. “At the time, we evaluated all suppliers in the market, but our only goals were quality and performance, which is why we chose Kaydon Reali-Slim for our MK-V-AR (Auto-levelling Revolution) system.”

Many years ago, Kaydon engineers trying to help designers fit assemblies into smaller spaces had an idea: what if the bearing cross-section did not increase as the bore size got bigger? This led to the development of bearings with a cross-section that remained constant: Reali-Slim thin section bearings. These offer large ratios of diameter to radial section and, therefore, space and weight savings of up to 85%.

RA Rodriguez has over 350 stocked sizes in four precision classes available.

The particular bearing used by MK-V is 11 inches in size, made from AISI 52100 steel and of radial contact type. Reali-Slim radial contact bearings feature a single row of ball bearings and a Conrad-type assembly, which means that they are assembled by eccentric displacement of the inner race within the outer race to permit the insertion of about half a full complement of balls. “In recent years we have delivered around 200 MK-V-AR systems featuring Reali-Slim bearings to customers around the globe, and we’ve never had any issues,” says Hall. “Even when the equipment has taken an impact during use on a quad bike, for example, the bearings always remain intact.”

He concludes: “The Kaydon Reali-Slim bearings are an integral part of our success. Furthermore, RA Rodriguez has proven to be particularly knowledgeable about the products they supply, and their support throughout our relationship has been valuable.”

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