Animatronics and Servo Motors in Movies

We know that servo motors are essential to modern manufacturing and industry. Without servos, we wouldn’t have industrial motion control. Without industrial motion control, manufacturers couldn’t produce the quantity of goods that consumers have grown accustomed to. That’s not all that servos are good for, however. The use of animatronics and servo motors in movies have helped make some important films over the years.

Animatronics finds its way into film

Animatronics is a process that uses cables, servo motors, or both to animate inanimate objects. Directors sometimes use a combination of puppetry, costumes, and animatronics to bring characters to life in film. Think of your favorite movie monsters. If they aren’t computer generated, animatronics was more than likely involved.

The first film to use animatronics was Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins in 1964. An animatronic bird helped Julie Andrews sing “A Spoonful of Sugar”. The bird didn’t move with the use of servos, however. Its movement was controlled by bicycle cables.

Examples of animatronics in film

Animatronics have been used in a number of classic and iconic films throughout the years. While directors have used servos in films for decades, the animatronics doesn’t necessarily indicate the use of servo motors. Jim Henson, for example, didn’t use servos in his 1982 film Dark Crystal, but he did use servos four years later in Labyrinth.

Here are some classic movies with animatronics.

  • Mary Poppins (1964)
  • Dark Crystal (1982)
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
  • Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
  • Labyrinth (1986)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • The Star Wars franchise (1977 – )
  • Alien (1979)
  • Jurassic Park (1993)

While technology has improved and computer generated images have become more realistic, directors still use animatronics and servos motors in movies. Sometimes this is due to budget restraints, and sometimes it’s for a desired effect. The House With the Clock In Its Walls (2018), for example, uses a combination of CGI, animatronics, and servos

Contact us for Indramat servo support

You’re not making movie magic with your Indramat servos, but you’re making something that’s more important to your business. Whether you use your Indramat servos for packaging, manufacturing, or printing, we can keep them running smoothly.

Contact us online or call 479-422-0390 for immediate support.