Los Angeles, Calif. - Vicon, developer of motion-capture technology, provided state-of-the-art motion-capture systems and support to Sony Pictures Imageworks on the production of the Paramount Pictures release, Beowulf.
The film is the most ambitious project to date employing Vicon motion-capture systems. Moreover, it achieved many "firsts" in filmmaking, including shooting with 200+ cameras, and capturing the movement of more than 20 performers simultaneously.
The film centers on the story of the mighty warrior Beowulf (Ray Winstone) after he destroys the near-invincible demon Grendel (Crispin Glover). Having slayed the monster, Beowulf endures the vengeful wrath of the beast's mother, played by Angelina Jolie. The film also stars Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn, and John Malkovich, and opened in theatres nationwide on November 16.
In order to tell the tale in the style envisioned by Robert Zemeckis, author Neil Gaiman, and screenwriter Roger Avary, the director sought innovative digital storytelling techniques relying on the ingenuity of Imageworks' effects and animation artists along with Vicon motion-capture systems. Vicon assisted Imageworks with installation, provided some custom mo-cap processing tools and provided support on set, which featured more than 200 Vicon MX40+ cameras in a volume capable of capturing a performer's full MX40+ facial, body, and finger movement, along with various markered props, which included everything from silverware to swords and set pieces. The stage was outfitted with near-infrared strobe cameras so there was no visible light to distract actors from their performances. This also meant that the onset cameras didn't see any extra lighting that was put onto the stage to achieve good video reference.