An Interview With Brian Burling
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this week. Please tell the readers a bit about yourself and the work you do.
Brian Burling: My name is Brian Burling and I run eMotimo out of San Diego, CA. Our current flagship product is the eMotimo spectrum ST4 motion control head. We sell primarily to television and cinema production teams who are gathering footage for documentaries, narrative films, or visual effects.
There are thousands of customers and heads throughout the world now, but our ST4 and accessories are easy enough for hobbyists to use while being powerful enough to serve the ultra professionals who shoot the most amazing footage on the planet.
What drove you to get into robotics and filmmaking?
Brian Burling: In BBC’s original Planet Earth, there’s a scene capturing a tree on the Japanese hillside. It looks like a simple sliding shot, but then it transitions to timelapse where the seasons transitioned from winter to spring to summer to fall, all while the camera is moving.
I was blown away by the results and what it made me feel. I eventually watched that clip at least 50 times and I was still amazed by it. I wanted to do it too but there was no gear commercially available that would support this. I love storytelling and robotics and because of that eMotimo was born!
What are the biggest obstacles when it comes to your work? What strategies do you use to overcome them?
Brian Burling: For a company our size, we build a tremendously complex product with literally lots of moving parts. Keeping a constant eye on quality and a focus on improvements keeps us grounded. Strong process control and management keep us grounded and our reputation very strong in this niche industry.
Burnout happens to the best of us. What do you do to stay motivated?
Brian Burling: I speak to our customers. We have a great relationship with some of the most amazing cinematographers on the planet and when we hear what they are shooting and where it’s showing up, it energizes me and eMotimo to keep solving problems and making tools that enable our customers.
Running a company takes a lot of time and energy. What do you do to stay productive?
Brian Burling: Always try to do the most important thing and maintaining master task lists to enforce it. I have also started recognizing the value of when to say no.
With the current states of events in the world, where do you see filmmaking heading in the future?
Brian Burling: Great question and timely. How do you take a camera operator, and dolly grip and give them the tools to shoot the way they want, without being too close to the actors? Robotics across much of the television and moving making industry is viewed as a job taker. In reality, there are ways to enable these crews to just physically move their controls further from the cameras and talent. Robotics and remote controls are actually helping get shooters back to work for more details on how eMotimo products serve as remote shooting solutions check out our brief video on the subject.
Outside of eMotimo, what do you do for fun?
Brian Burling: Kids and family. I have a two and five-year-old that ironically, loves to push into my office at all times of the day to “play robot” with dad”. Additionally, I have an unhealthy obsession with my solar production and our home’s energy efficiency.
Do you have any advice for creators and artists who want to start their own business?
Brian Burling: Get a partner with who you can solve the most difficult problems productively. Know your strengths and weaknesses and find those that complement and fill you in.
Do you have any upcoming releases or events you would like to discuss?
Brian Burling: Our remote shooting solutions are solving problems and getting shooters back to work.
Thank you for talking to me this week! Where can the readers find you and your work?
Brian Burling: eMotimo.com is where you can learn more! Thanks for the questions!
Check Out eMotimo!
A huge thank you to Brian Burling for taking the time to chat with me this week! Make sure to check out eMotimo at the following locations: