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House of Moves Debuts New Motion Capture Service

(June 07, 2005)

House of Moves, a division of VICON Motion Systems, has debuted a new motion capture service that makes recording facial and full-body data at the same time a reality.  A capacity long sought by commercial and feature film producers because it allows the expressions and actions elicited from actors to be recorded accurately but with sum-total performances that are more "directable," holistic and complete, it replaces the long-standing process of motion-capturing faces, hands and bodies of performers in separate sessions with a creative and cost-effective workflow that is destined to become the new norm.

Design collective PSYOP and advertising agency DDB Chicago have become the first of several clients to take advantage of the new service, hiring House of Moves to capture facial and full-body moves simultaneously of multiple actors and athletes for McDonald's new Fruit 'N Walnut ad campaign. The spots, directed by PSYOP's Marco Spier, Todd Mueller and Kylie Matulick, brilliantly blend equal portions of reality and animation in four fun and striking scenarios -- each rendered in cartoon-like colors and simple line-drawings, yet featuring characters who move and speak in decidedly realistic fashion.

"DDB initially came to us with several scripts," says Justin Booth-Clibborn, Executive Producer at PSYOP. "They explained that they wanted lots of talkative description about the salad, but they wanted very stylized characters and environments. For the characters in particular, they wanted them animated in a realistic way, but not at all photoreal. We were asked to replicate the expressions and emotions of the characters while keeping them very artistic. That balance proved to be both a creative and technical challenge."


To meet this goal, real actors lip synced their parts to audio playback while the movements of their faces, hands and bodies were being recorded at House of Moves using a top-of-the-line, 64-camera VICON MX 40 optical motion capture array.  This motion capture performance information, recorded for narrative as well as action scenes, was applied to give the line-drawn characters life.

"We wanted to get the innate performances from our actors for these McDonald's spots. If you have to motion capture face, hands and body in separate sessions, you lose some of the nuances," comments Boo Wong, Producer, PSYOP.  "Though we are based in New York, we came to House of Moves in L.A. because we were looking for this specific capability and we were very impressed by the studios' experience in the commercial, film and games industry and by its direct affiliation with VICON."

"From a performing, directing and productivity standpoint, simultaneous facial and full-body capture is an extremely powerful tool," states Tom Tolles, CEO, House of Moves.  "Using the VICON MX 40 cameras, we've come to the point where we can capture the total picture of what each performer or prop is doing with incredible detail, even when, as on this project, we were capturing multiple subjects acting and interacting ­ two people on a bike or women diving and spiking a volleyball in the capture volume at the same time."

The 30- and 15-scond spots began airing in May and include: "Rule": a young woman relates that the McDonald's Fruit 'N Walnut salad is good for lunch, breakfast or a snack, but she likes it "whenever"; "Scooter": one-half of a scooter-riding couple compares the freedom of the open road with her own fruit buzz; and "Volleyball": a teenage beach bunny reveals her sudden "weird" urge to participate in the game.

Based in New York City, PSYOP, www.psyop.tv, seamlessly blends the disciplines of design, animation and live action.  The company was founded in 2000 and continues to provide visual solutions in motion for the advertising and marketing, video gaming, broadcast and music video industries with its distinct conceptual approach, collaborative nature and dynamically fresh aesthetics.

DDB Chicago is the largest DDB agency and is one of the world's most awarded agencies in terms of creativity and effectiveness.  Named Agency of the Year by the Clio Awards in both 2003 and 2004, DDB Chicago works for a strong roster of blue-chip clients, including Anheuser-Busch, McDonald's, Dell, State Farm, OfficeMax, JCPenney, Capital One, The Home Depot, Midas, The Chicago Tribune and Dairy Management Inc.

About House of Moves
House of Moves provides professional motion capture services, stock 3D data, and custom 3D animation tools for the entertainment industry.  With expertise dating back to 1985 and credits ranging from "Spider-Man 2" to "Titanic," House of Moves has completed hundreds of animation projects, including feature films, electronic games, television commercials, broadcast television series, music videos and on-line character animation/content for the Web. The world's largest motion capture studio, House of Moves was acquired by leading motion capture developer VICON Motion Systems in 2004.  For more information, call (310) 306-6131 or visit www.moves.com.

About VICON
VICON Motion Systems is a subsidiary of OMG plc (LSE: OMG) with global headquarters in Oxford, UK, and US headquarters in Lake Forest, CA. OMG subsidiary 2d3 Ltd. produces innovative visual geometry software deriving 3D data from moving images. Since 1984, VICON has been providing professionals with the latest tools to accurately capture the subtleties of three-dimensional human motion for research, medicine, sport, engineering, game development, broadcast and film. For more information about VICON, or to view a comprehensive list of worldwide distributors, visit www.vicon.com or contact +44 (0) 1865-261800 in the UK or (949) 472-9140 in the US.


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Related Keywords:House of Moves, motion capture, PSYOP

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