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Foundation Imaging Creates Alien Creatures for Enterprise with Vicon Mocap System

(January 14, 2002)
Vicon announced today that Foundation Imaging announced today that Foundation Imaging, a top visual effects, production company and motion capture service bureau, recently completed the motion capture for Paramount's new Star Trek series, "Enterprise" using the Vicon 8 motion capture system. Suliban, a regularly featured alien species in the series was animated using Vicon motion capture data in various scenes.

Foundation Imaging is doing most of the CG animation and visual effects for Paramount's "Enterprise" airing on UPN. The company has a long history with the use of motion capture in production, "We started using motion capture as a key component of our character work around four years ago, and were working with a magnetic system. We switched to a Vicon system when the motion capture requirements became greater with more stunt work, multiple characters and the demand for highly accurate data to pass on to our LightWave animators," explained Dave West, Motion Capture Supervisor, Foundation Imaging. "There is no way that that we would be able to complete the capture data that we are able to produce with anything other than Vicon 8."

For "Enterprise" Vicon motion capture has been used to animate the Suliban species, characters that are able to flatten their bodies out to slither under doors and get into tight spaces. Human actors usually play the Sulibans when they stand upright, and move on all fours; however when the creatures perform certain stunts, the actors are replaced with CG models. "In one shot the script called for two aliens to scurry on all fours running sideways along a large tube. We captured the movements on our stage floor with Vicon, and the animator just rotated them into position. Similar walk cycles were captured to animomConnection: uliban creatures as it transitions from it's human-like form to slide underneath a doorway," West continued. West worked together with Foundation Imaging animator John Teska, collaborating closely with Dan Curry, Paramount's Visual Effects Producer on the show.

"Using Motion Capture was the only way of producing the realistic movements we needed within a television budget and time frame. The Vicon system enabled us to deliver the high quality results that StarTrek demands," concluded West.

Vicon 8 is the most advanced optical motion capture system available and allows actors to move freely, unrestricted by wires, awkward suits or large body markers.

The system can capture multiple actors simultaneously, and with the recently introduced million-pixel resolution MCams', motion data is recorded at near perfect accuracy. Vicon 8 is the same professional motion capture solution that has been used in the production of leading game and feature film projects including, "Gladiator," "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace," "The Mummy," "The Patriot," "Titanic," and many others.

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