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Nodal Ninja Tera®

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Introducing the Nodal Ninja Tera "powered by PixOrb". Nodal Ninja, in concert with Fanotec®, is proud to announce a new line of fully automated panoramic tripod heads, based off the very successful and popular Peace River Studios PixOrb® products

The Nodal Ninja Tera is an easy-to-use modular automated camera head. Users can now capture single time lapse images to several thousand images in a variety of configurations which can then be stitched to form super high resolution panoramas. Because of NN Tera’s timed single shot capability this also makes for effective for multi-axis video movies, motion time-lapse recording and other automated tasks in the field and in the studio. What sets the NN Tera aside from other camera and video robotics is its unique modular lightweight structural frames which can be adapted to a wide range of single and multiple camera and lens combinations. The modular design will allow for easy upgrade path from one model to the next.


Three winning teams - Fanotec, Nodal Ninja and Peace River Studios collaborate decades of experiences to form a product line unique to the industry.

  • Fanotec: ensures highest standards, quality components, precision build, long life and durability.
  • Nodal Ninja: ensures customer satisfaction with industry leading support.
  • Peace River Studios: ensures proven PixOrb success, continual advancement in research and development using the very latest state of the art design and technologies.

New industrial motion control technology and advanced integrated software that has recently become available is applied in the Nodal Ninja Tera (Tera) machines. Recent mechanical advancements are also being employed.

Tera’s utilize modular lightweight structural frames that can be adapted to a range of camera and lens combinations. Structural composite panel material, carbon fiber tubing, and ‘T’ slotted aluminum components enable accurate photography even with long telephoto lenses. Some key structural components will be ‘3D Printed’ to save weight, cost, and allow for incremental design improvements going forward.

These camera-heads are engineered for the capture of high-resolution stitched panorama images, and are equally effective for multi-axis smooth repeatable video moves, motion time-lapse recording and a number of other automated tasks in the field and in the studio.

Below: Example of motion time-lapse shot by innovative photographers Time Bandits with their PixOrb working with the their PRS Automated Dolly System:

time lapse mexico 2011 from time bandits on Vimeo.

An example of PixOrbs panorama capability is a 17 Gig pixel stitched-together image shot by Gerard Maynard at Yosemite National Park is here.

A virtual tour example that was filmed in Rome by Villanova University with their PixOrb is here

PRS manufactured a number of PixOrbs and sold them to customers internationally. The list includes: Boeing, Sandia National Labs, Microsoft, and additional universities, museums and research labs.

The New Nodal Ninja Automated Heads "powered by PixOrb"

Having gained insights from their immersive Natural History projects as well as receiving feed-back from their customers for specialized equipment, PRS has gone the next step to work closely with Nodal Ninja; experienced and established purveyors of a range of excellent panorama equipment with over 50 dealers in more than 25 countries world-wide.

During the past two years PRS has performed comprehensive R&D for this new product-line through constant productive discourse with Nodal Ninja. The new equipment has evolved with input from prospective customers, consulting engineers and team members.

These new machines are based on industrial robotics technologies that provide excellent registration through the latest motor and controller sets manufactured by Arcus Technology who has developed and perfected their unique equipment and accompanying integrated control software for precise industrial and medical uses.

An incorporation of the most successful aspects of the PixOrb products is the foundation of the Nodal Ninja Tera robotic head.

Time Bandits


The frame members are based on modular ‘T Slotted’ aluminum components from Bosch Rexroth that are re-machined with unique double-dovetails to facilitate Acetyl plastic sliding positioning components, which can be adjusted adjacent to linear gauges. Sliding stops allow for breakdown and easy re-assembly if the system is to be shipped or backpacked. 

A single tool can be used for making most field adjustments and breakdown.

Mechanical and controller systems are protected by laminated composite aluminum panels made by AluPanel; and are rigid and very lightweight. 


Tera’s have refined mechanical components integrating metric timing-belt resolution-amplifying technology using Gates GT2 - 2mm belts that enhance torque and repeatability.  The integrated transmissions add only ounces to the overall weight of the systems.

Since lubricants gather dust and grit and only operate within limited temperature ranges, PRS has selected wear resistant industrial plastic bearings by Igus. Additional advantages with Igus bearings are lower cost and lower weight.

Modular Design

The integrated motor and belt-drive transmissions operate independently from the structural frame members. The units come in both left hand and right hand configurations; mirror images of each other. This enables matched pairs to operate opposite one another on either side of the frame, for example in case twice the power is needed to tilt heavy camera/lens packages. Since the clutch mechanisms are also integrated, pre-balancing in addition to pre-positioning is enabled.

Base view of power module


A ‘drag-and-drop’ Arcus software environment enables the machines to operate in stand-alone mode with pre-programmed routines, or tethered to a laptop. On-board Arcus Touch-Screen units enable control through ‘Stand Alone’ routines.

Downloadable software and manuals are an available for the motors and controller and are kept current on the Arcus Technology website.

Lenses and Cameras

Tera’s will allow for high-level photography with the very wide range of lens focal lengths, and yet the machines are easy to transport to distant and remote locations and operate in extreme environments.

The engineering is modular so that photographers can adapt their units to configure for single or multiple cameras. The tilt-axis, generally driven from a single side, and can operate with either a single camera on a one-sided frame, or with a full-sized frame supported by an additional bearing on the opposite side facilitating the mounting of more than one camera and/or long telephoto lenses.

Markets Served

The market for Tera’s includes, but are not limited to, the following:

  • General panorama photography all the way up to extremely large arrays
  • Environmental and habitat monitoring with baseline recording for change-over-time and base line records. (Comparisons can help guide management decisions).
  • Industrial photography of factories, refineries, and container ports.
  • Infrastructure photography; for example creating very large images of bridges and buildings for engineers to view and plan maintenance
  • Mountain, canyon, cave and remote locations, even under extreme conditions
  • Virtual-set and time-lapse imagery for the motion picture industry
  • Security and border operations
  • Crime-scene photography to reveal high level’s of detail
  • Ship and aircraft photospheres to enable planning for re-fitting, training etc.
  • National Park, US forest service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and other agency record keeping
  • Virtual Tour production
  • Astronomical and nighttime photography
  • Archaeological progress photography, analysis, and record keeping
  • Museum and public-space photography
  • Texture mapping to be overlaid on LIDAR imagery
  • Artistic photography for large prints and computer re-play

Several of the markets in the above list can be further served through the application of third-party Change-Detection software. A prime example of a company who's software powerfully enables environmental monitoring and infrastructure assessment etc. is EXELIS: http://www.exelisvis.com/

Three Tera products in the line are as follows:

MK 1

A base-level unit to perform basic tasks of camera positioning for panorama photography and will be inexpensive as a starter unit.

MK 2 (First to be manufactured)

A second level machine will have more accessories and capability with encoders on the motors that will keep accurate record of positions etc.

MK 3

A high-end model that will be ruggedized.  It will have Ethernet connection for networking for multiple cameras overlapping coverage of large scenes. Internet connection with remote units etc.

All of the three products have the same basic structure and interchangeable parts. An upgrade path from one level product to next can be provided.

Accessories for all three units will be available for an additional cost. 

Electronics and Battery Power

Automated Media Systems and Inspired Energy have been involved in the design of the electronics and battery systems. AMS is skilled in the ‘Design and construction of equipment for expeditionary film and video production and the manufacture of lithium batteries and solar charging systems.”


The Tera robotic camera heads will be manufactured using advanced methods including 3D Printing informed by ‘Finite Element Analyses’ for refining structure to achieve high strength to weight ratios.

Testing and fine-tuning each Tera product prior to shipping will follow after the rapid lean manufacturing of the equipment.

Note: The information set-forth here is subject to change as we are constantly are reviewing improvements from suppliers and closely watching for changes in the mix of industries that make Tera’s possible.


Multi axis automated panoramic robotic motion control rig for super high resolution mosaic photography from Nodal Ninja & PixOrb

Nodal Ninja Tera’s utilize modular lightweight structural frames that can easily be adapted to a wide range of camera and lens combinations. These new camera-heads will be easy-to-use and engineered for the capture of not only high-resolution stitched panorama images, they will be equally effective for multi-axis video, time-lapse and motion picture production. Very light rail accessories will allow for vertical, horizontal and cantilevered moves with pan-tilt and roll moves at a range of speeds down to extremely slow for time-lapse photography, even in very remote locations.

Words of Encouragement

"Fantastic!" - Seth Teller

"Bravo!"- Michael Naimark



Nodal Ninja & Peace River Studios Chandler, AZ

About Us


Bill Bailey - Project Leader / CEO Bill Bailey LLC dba Nodal Ninja

Bill Bailey is both a humanitarian and entrepreneur. He enjoys photography, travel and has a great deal of passion for running his company. He strives to find solutions for his customers by continually expanding product options. A percentage of every sale goes to help worthy causes both domestic and international.


John Borden - Product Line Designer / President Peace River Studios, Inc.

John's background is in filmmaking, engineering, and design & use of camera positioning and stabilization equipment. He is a pioneer in the design of solutions of Virtual Tour filming. These experiences, as well as help from fellow team members, were instrumental in the development of the Nodal Ninja Tera.


Nick Fan - Founder, CEO of Fanotec International

Fanotec designs and manufactures the well known Nodal Ninja panoramic tripod heads and carbon fiber aerial poles. It is Nick's passion to design, engineer and build. He is also a humanitarian having contributed to many needed relief efforts around the globe. Fanotec also owns the brand name Nodal Ninja. Every product that bares the NN brand name ensures Nick's personal guarantee to quality components, precision build, long life and durability.


Cindy Berend - Mechanical Engineer/CEO, CRB Mechanical Design

Cindy is a mechanical engineer with over 3 decades of experience in product design. She works with clients to create innovative, cost-conscious and manufacturable products. She holds a SolidWorks Professional User Certification and is passionate about creating in 3D!


Stuart Cody - Electrical Engineer/CEO, Automated Media Systems

Stuart's electrical engineering, machine shop and diverse skills have come into play as the NN T prototype has evolved. He has developed and provided unique solutions with his Expedition Battery products that have traveled up to the highest peaks and down into deepest rain forests.


John Goodman - Software Engineer/Independent Software Developer

John likes writing software that does what non-technical people assume computers can already do! His mission is complete when the technology gets out of the way and people can create their best work. He's programmed using everything from machine language to C++, for Arduino, iOS, OS X, and Windows.


Joana Hattery - User Experience Overview/Vice President, Peace River Studios, Inc.

Joana is a filmmaker who worked with some of the first techniques for virtual tours using multiple camera arrays capturing imagery she displayed through optical-discs slaved to computers. Her continuing understanding of end-user experience with specialized technology adds valuable perspective and direction to the Nodal Ninja Tera project.


Can the Tera be used as an Object VR platform?

Yes, the Tera can be inverted and a NN turntable (or 3rd party table) can be used for shooting Object Movies.

As time goes on there will be increasing compatibility between the different product lines?

Yes, as the Tera evolves so will the accessories and compatibility with 3rd party hardware. Based on need, we will find solutions to make this happen.

If I purchase the NN Tera MK2 now can I upgrade to MK3 later?

Yes - because of the modular build design, it is very easy to buy add-on components and features to that of MK3.

What if the battery goes out in the middle of a shoot?

There is a manual override that allows user to complete the shoot manually.

Can I use multiple cameras on a single Tera to shoot a scene more quickly?

Yes - because of the module build of the Tera, it is possible to configure it to accept multiple cameras on a single unit.

For me it's all about portability - climbing mounting or buildings and towers to reach pinnacle heights. So how will the Tera do for hauling around where weight and size may be a concern?

The Tera can configured to fit inside a backpack. It's the lightest camera robotic in its class.

Does the Tera come with cup holder?

Funny you should ask! We shared development with many people during the early phases and some replied with same question after seeing the feature build list of the Tera. So yes - this is will be inexpensive add-on.

What about support when I buy the Tera - a piece breaks in the field or I want to buy add-on's?

Nodal Ninja's brand name is synonymous with customer support - you will find no better in the industry. If need arises they will work with end user to find quickest possible solution. They have built a reputation on this and it is cornerstone to their business. Support cases will be monitored by Nodal Ninja team, Peace River Studios engineers as well as a host of others involved in the project through a support ticket system soon to roll out.

What are the Terms & Conditions for this project?

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