House of Moves Introduces Helibug
October 8, 2015

House of Moves Introduces Helibug

For the past few years, House of Moves has been developing proprietary technology for use at its motion-capture facility. Called Helibug, the pipeline contains a real-time render engine for on-set motion-capture visualization using final assets.

In addition to the on-set use, Helibug provides House of Moves with the ability to light scenes in real time as well as render in a fraction of the time it would take a typical render pipeline. House of Moves now uses Helibug’s different elements to rapidly generate high-quality animated content at speeds that were previously unattainable and budgets lower than industry standard.

Here, CGW Chief Editor Karen Moltenbrey talks to House of Moves CEO Brian Rausch about this new technology.

What is Helibug?

Helibug is a technology that radically rethinks the production of both linear and interactive content creation, resulting in improved time and cost efficiencies. Additionally, the technology gives users the ability to redistribute content across multiple mediums, including feature films, viral videos, advertisements, games, virtual reality, and more.

How does it work?

Until now, all the animation done has had a very long lead-time. Helibug has closed that gap. IP owners and directors can see their characters in their final worlds full with effects, cloth, and lighting in real time. It allows IP owners to maintain control of their characters rather than sending them ‘over the fence’ and hoping that the characters and animation come back (weeks or months) later looking as they had expected.

Why is it so groundbreaking?

Helibug allows teams to direct characters and performance in real time. Not just an approximation of final characters, but the final characters themselves. The technology makes it possible to shoot like it’s theater, edit like TV , and animate like it’s film. Helibug provides true CG dailies, so story tweaks can be made immediately and beats can be shared with the client within hours , not weeks or months.

When will it be introduced?

Helibug has already been used in various House of Moves projects, from the Barbie Vlog to full-game cinematics – and we intend to implement it moving forward across various productions. 

Is Helibug just a codename at this point?

It is. We can’t seem to agree on a cooler name yet, so we are sticking with Helibug

What is the significance to that name?

It is a match for our logo, the helicopter dragonfly (Heli-bug). It is a nice mix between organics and technology.

How did you come up with it? Why?

I heard a guy refer to our logo as a Heli-bug (I wish the answer was cooler than that). We developed this suite of tools and process, and we needed to name it. Calling it a pipeline would be selling it very short.

Is Helibug a concept, workflow, or tool?

It is a combination of workflows and tools. To be fair, it was born of a concept to dramatically increase the throughput of animated content. The workflow and tools grew from that.

How will it be offered?

It is offered as a service solution and internal IP generation toolset.

Is creating solutions a new step for House of Moves?

It is something that HOM hasn’t done for a few years. Back in the beginning of House of Moves, it used to make production tools that were very motion capture centric. Once HOM was purchased by Vicon, it because primarily a production wing for the company. We have moved it back over to an IP-creation house. We are involved in so many pipelines, from film to VR production, that it just makes sense to use our knowledge to help our clients bridge creative gaps and help them solve their production challenges.

Do you consider HOM more than a service provider?

Absolutely. While the service industry has been absolutely amazing to us, we have started to partner with studios and IP developers to take a deeper role in content creation with them.


What is your vision for HOM?

This is a three-part answer. First, HOM has become known to be a rock-solid service provider of high-end animation and motion capture. We need to continue that. There is a lot to be learned from our clients and the challenges that they face. Second, as I mentioned above, we have started partnering with specific studios to help them bring their content to market. This relationship looks different than a service relationship. This is more of a well-thought-out partnership. Third, ride the Heli-bug wave. We have been receiving tremendous feedback from our clients, and our Helibug toolset has opened many doors and formed many relationships that HOM didn’t have in the past. We were always seen as a motion-capture-only partner. Most of our work now is coming from studios that are turning to us for our end-to-end production. 

Why do you see HOM as a step above other mocap service providers?

We have a solid core group of people. We aren’t like most studios where we live and die by a single person. We have been together for years now and know how one another work. We are more of a family (arguments and all) than co-workers. We also bring to bear some of the most powerful hardware and software technology available today. Because we as a group work end to end in production, we also know what our clients face, and can more readily help them overcome their challenges.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to see the motion-capture feature in the September.October 2015 issue of CGW , along with information from House of Moves about Helibug and more.