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Case story

Steady camera at 100 mph through the streets of Paris

The British road racing champion Kieran Clarke retired from the race track in 2015. Now he speeds through the narrow streets of Paris on his bike instead, equipped with an expensive Hollywood film camera, mounted on top of an actuator LA36 from LINAK®.

E-tracker motorcycle

It is called ‘E-tracker’. It is a specially designed electric Steadicam-carrying motorcycle invented by the former British road racing champion, Kieran Clarke. Building upon MotoGP and Formula1 technology, Clarke spent the past couple of years developing a reliable and functional solution that would allow him to control a rolling film camera mounted on his motorbike, while speeding down city avenues, slaloming through intense traffic – quietly! Not at all an easy task!

A solution fit for filming pursuits in real time
Today Kieran Clarke earns his living as a stuntman and a motorbike riding cameraman for some of Hollywood’s most prestigious film productions. Most recently he and his ‘E-tracker’ motorbike were commissioned for the filming of ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ (M:i 6), where he and actor Tom Cruise were to hurtle through the streets of Paris at breath-taking speed – Clarke filming Cruise. 
To get the camera in the optimal height and position, Clarke integrated a LINAK® linear actuator LA36 with the E-tracker. And this was no coincidence.

Steady camera at 100 mph through the streets of Paris-content

‘We started developing whilst filming “The Mummy” with Wade Eastwood (stunt coordinator for Tom Cruise) and continued through M:i 6,’ says Clarke, and continues:

‘Our team started with other electric actuator brands and they all failed to deliver the performance and reliability we needed. Finally, we tested LINAK and suddenly all of our issues were transformed and ultimately helped me make the E-Tracker a huge success’.

Hollywood expands application scope for LINAK
Naturally, working with Kieran Clarke and the E-tracker has been a new experience for LINAK. Especially for SBU Manager, Richard Harris, who was quite thrilled to engage in this, for LINAK, rather unusual project. 

‘We were all so delighted to learn that Kieran chose LINAK as the actuators of choice – for this and many other projects,’ he explains. ‘For us to be included in this bracket is a huge “pat on the back” for our R&D-teams. Modern day filming uses the highest technological advancements, especially the films in which Kieran is involved’. 

However, despite confidence in his own product, Harris cannot help but being impressed with what Clarke has managed, integrating modern actuators with an electric motorbike.

‘The way Kieran has adapted the motorbike to suit the high-speed intricate filming required with actuators used to control the camera’s position really is a technological feat. The way the camera can be intricately controlled using sophisticated feedback as well as being robust, offers a great deal for film makers’.

More LINAK actuators for the movie industry
However, the sudden “red carpet success” for LINAK does not make Richard Harris declare a whole new business area for LINAK. Although, he sees more projects of this kind on the horizon in the future.

‘The film industry isn’t currently a focus area for us. But, it certainly is one we are happy to be involved in,’ he says. ‘Being part of the industry this way, is a great advertisement for our products, obviously’.

On the other side of the table, the all-over high performance of the LA36 has excited both Kieran Clarke and the tech-crew around him to a degree, where more LINAK actuator products could find their way to film equipment, where clean, reliable and low-noise movement is a requirement. 

Clarke and the E-tracker have already been commissioned for more large action film productions, and LINAK actuators for another three camera bikes are on their way. According to the former race champion, the team has found the recipe for future filming of hi-speed chases. 

‘The E-tracker transforms from a 100-mph electric superbike to a multi-functional stealth dolly in minutes, delivering the most unique tracking shots never seen before’.

E-tracker motorcycle with LA36
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