November 24, 2008

Vicon House of Moves Provides Motion Capture for Universal Pictures' Changeling

Los Angeles, Calif. - Vicon House of Moves, a motion-capture service bureau and a division of Vicon, developer of motion-capture systems, has provided motion-capture services for VFX facility CIS Vancouver for the Clint Eastwood-directed drama from Universal Pictures, Changeling.
Based on actual events that occurred in 1920s-era Los Angeles, Changeling tells
the story of a woman who faces corrupt police and a skeptical public as she
desperately hunts to find her son. The film, starring Angelina Jolie and
John Malkovich, had its wide release in North America on October 31, 2008.

During a two-day shoot to obtain the full range of idiosyncrasies for a
character's motion and body sizes, VICON House of Moves handled full-body
capture of five men and four women. This motion data was then used in
conjunction with artificial intelligence crowd software Massive to generate
realistic-looking background crowds that evoked the attitude of that time

For CIS Vancouver, "Changeling" gave the team the opportunity to build on
the number of individuals and the variety of performances captured from
past projects the facility had done. Said Geoffrey Hancock, VFX Supervisor
for CIS Vancouver, "For Massive crowd scenes, we typically capture a more
limited array of physical performances, and then use Massive to create the
additional variety, whether it's a faster or slower walk or a shorter or
taller person. In this case, we evaluated how that process had worked in
the past and didn't feel that it looked natural enough to hold up to
scrutiny in the foreground of the scene. So we opted for a wider variety of
really clean natural mocap for plugging into Massive, and I think the
results show that improved subtle natural movement."

Hancock found VICON House of Moves' motion capture data integrated
seamlessly into the Massive pipeline. CIS Vancouver sent its skeleton rigs
to VICON House of Moves ahead of time, so the team could help adjust the
skeleton rigs to exactly match the proportions of each of the actors. This
eliminated the inaccuracies previously introduced by using motion capture
from one size actor on a differently proportioned digital character. In the
end, CIS Vancouver had nine distinct skeletons to match the nine distinct
characters, so the mo-cap data fit extremely well and required very little
editing in Massive.

In addition to praising VICON House of Moves' level of service,
organization and expertise in capturing motion capture data for Massive,
Hancock and his team were very impressed with the company's in-house online
review and ordering system. "This system allowed us to log in remotely and
review our motion capture clips in real time, from any angle, at our
offices in Vancouver," he said. "Being able to go through the incredible
amount of material shot and narrow it down to the absolute best takes
before ordering the material to be processed saved us money and allowed us
to be very efficient."