November 16, 2006

Pendulum Studios Captures Full Performances and Voice-over with House of Moves and Vicon

Los Angeles, Calif. - Vicon House of Moves worked with digital animation outfit Pendulum Studios to capture the entire performance of an actor, including face, body, and hands, while simultaneously recording the performer's voice-over and giving the actor complete freedom of movement.
Motion-capture studio House of Moves developed a customized capture volume within its in-house soundstage for voice-over recording capabilities at its Los Angeles facility. The capture volume was equipped with more than 100 four-megapixel Vicon MX40+ cameras situated to capture the full performance of multiple actors, along with sets and props.
The actors are provided a full 360-degree range of movement within a 25 foot by 25 foot capture volume, which captures not only the body motion, but also high-fidelity facial and finger motion across the entire capture volume.
The resulting motion data was used by San Diego-based studio Pendulum to apply its proprietary facial animation system to simplify the process of mapping facial animation onto a digital character. In a half-day session, Vicon House of Moves recorded the actor's performance of a Mark Anthony monologue from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra using more than 160 markers -- 70 on the face, 25 on each hand, and 65 on the body along with props -- before turning the data over to Pendulum for data application and final renders.
"A huge hurdle in bringing believable digital actors to the screen is achieving realistic facial animation," says Michael McCormick, director of Animation and co-owner, Pendulum Studios. "The leading-edge motion capture technologies at Vicon House of Moves, known throughout the industry for unparalleled accuracy and flexibility, blended beautifully with our 3D production experience and proprietary facial mo-cap pipeline to achieve an amazing level of precision and believability in the Mark Anthony production."
"We have invested a lot of time and R&D in creating a full-performance capture solution that is incredibly powerful for game, commercial, and film production requirements," says Gary Roberts, vice president of Production, Vicon House of Moves. "In the past, we have been able to capture the entire performance of an actor, but it was somewhat time- and resource-intensive in postproduction. Now with our new software and MX40+ we have a far more streamlined full-performance capture pipeline that allows us to deliver the cleanest data within real-world production timelines -- ultimately saving our customers time and money."