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Meet Brian Burling of eMotimo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Burling.

Brian, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was inspired, really blown away, by some shot I saw in Planet Earth. There was a scene where the seasons changed from winter to spring to summer to fall all with the camera moving. It took my breath away and I wanted to create imagery like that too. At the time I was managing a small consulting team that specialized implementing financial databases. The money was good, but the job never turned off. While I was good at it, and liked the people, what I was doing didn’t’ inspire me. I wanted to find or make a new career that I loved and engaged some of my passions. For those Planet Earth shots, I did some investigation on how it was accomplished. It requires some specialized camera robotics. The products on the market were too expensive and difficult to use. With passions in photography and a background in engineering and consulting, I left my job and set out to make my own camera robots. eMotimo was born in 2010 and sold its first eMotimo PT in January 2011.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There was no formula for building a company like this, but it was a lot of fun to figure it out. It was a company of 1 for the first 6 months, when I proved out the concepts and got started. There was a unique opportunity to take advantage of a now-defunct DIY space called Techshop. I had access to CNC milling machines, Laser Cutters and etchers, powder coating, and lathes. My design office was out of Starbucks in San Francisco’s Presidio. I had no responsibilities or expectations shading my thoughts. It was one of the purest times of creation in my life. I was quickly able to iterate our designs and use off the shelf products with custom machining to do small run manufacturing. The first hundred products created and sold were hand soldered in my living room and fabricated by me in Techshop.

eMotimo – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
eMotimo INC builds camera robots for cinema and television production. Our core products are the eMotimo ST4, a 4-axis motion control pan/tilt head that has the ability to drive sliders and focus motors. Most people use our products for capturing VFX, automated interviews, timelapse, or stop motion. We are known for developing extremely capably and deep products that are easy to use. We are also known for being a small brand that talks and integrates to other brands – sometimes – our competitors. It is a unique stance to actively seek integrations that truly enable our customers, rather than build products that lock customers into a single brand. I am truly proud that eMotimo has evolved from building hobbyist consumer gear to building professional gear that serves and delivers results for our creatives. It has shot in -40 degrees, in volcanos, and the top of the highest peaks in the world. You will find shots enabled by eMotimo in Planet Earth 2, Frozen Planet, and other BBC documentaries. Full circle. I know people will never know or care how certain content is created, but they will feel it when a shot widens their eyes, drops their jaw, and gives them the chills.

What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
I grew up well, lots of great memories, but here’s a relevant one to my engineering start. I remember being under the hood of our family’s 1976 Saab with my dad. He was adjusting the timing of the engine with a timing light, explaining how a 4-cycle internal combustion engine worked. I think I was five or six and he took the time and drew diagrams and broke down the how and why until I got it. I was extremely fortunate to have parents who fueled my curiosity and encouraged me to never stop asking, “Why?”


  • eMotimo spectrum ST4 Dana Dolly Bundle – $3649 –
  • eMotimo spectrum Run and Gun Bundle – $3599 –
  • eMotimo ST4 4-axis head – $2499 –

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