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VICON Announces Steady Stream of Competitive Upgrades

Mainframe Entertainment and Capcom switch to VICON mocap systems (November 16, 2004)

VICON, the leading developer in motion capture, announced the tenth in a steady stream of entertainment market customers who chose to upgrade to a VICON system from an alternative optical motion capture provider. This most recent upgrade is Mainframe Entertainment, Canada's leading CG animation production company, who joins such companies as Capcom, Microsoft Games, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Dynamo, Imagica Corp. - Links Digiworks, Konami, Namco, Rare Games and Reardon Studios in moving their motion capture pipelines from a competing motion capture setup to VICON.

Customers cite new technology advancements including 8-bit gray scale imaging using VICON's new VICON MX40 four-million-pixel CMOS camera as well as the company's unmatched service and support as key reasons for their VICON choice. Users from game developers to film and television effects producers are also turning to VICON to maximize the automated post processing and kinematic solving tools of VICON iQ.

Mainframe Entertainment, an IDT Entertainment company based in Vancouver and an award-winning producer of animation since 1993, has moved its motion capture pipeline to a 16-camera VICON MX 40 system. Mainframe is using the system to create projects for television and direct-to-video release, as well as to expand into long-form CGI for feature films, commercials and interactive entertainment. Recent productions on Mainframe's slate include a Tony Hawk direct-to-video feature, a popular direct-to-video film titled Barbie of Swan Lake, a new Popeye CGI primetime television special, and the new Spider-Man animated series.


"We needed to update with the technology and times, so moving to the VICON system was key," said Richard Overington, Manager, Motion Capture for Mainframe Entertainment. "VICON MX gives us the performance, scalability and pipeline efficiency to achieve seamlessly accurate motion capture and expand our creativity and our technical capabilities to meet the demands of increasingly sophisticated audiences. Installing VICON MX has also helped us expand our appeal to clients, now that we can offer facial capture and more complex motion."

Top Japanese games company Capcom similarly switched its motion capture pipeline, previously based on Motion Analysis' flagship Eagle system, to an 18-camera VICON system with VICON MCam2s. Capcom reports greatly enhanced motion capture accuracy on its very first project with the VICON system Resident Evil 4, a terrifying new chapter in the world-renowned series for the Nintendo Gamecube.

With a game atmosphere based around AI and believable character actions, the production required that Capcom capture thousands of highly realistic moves. All motions within Resident Evil 4 were shot with the VICON system in Capcom's Osaka-based head office, using eight actors and stunt performers in a 7x5x3-meter motion capture volume with VICON real-time capture to provide instant feedback about character movement and performance. VICON iQ provided another huge benefit, allowing all moves to be processed via the applications' intelligent, automated motion editing tools and enabling Capcom to finalize most moves with no further clean up.

"Using VICON, we can deliver the final data to the animation team the same day," said Motion Capture Studio Manager Mr. Masashi Imanaka, Capcom, a leader in the video game industry for more than 20 years with such blockbuster franchises as Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Mega Man, Breath of Fire, Devil May Cry and the Onimusha series. "VICON iQ has made the ultimate result so much easier to achieve."

Mr. Katsumi Kobayashi, Motion Capture Software Manager, added that VICON iQ gave Capcom a 50% improvement in studio production efficiency. "VICON iQ is the best software in our production pipeline," he said.

"This is a fun milestone for the Vicon team, but it also represents a more serious confirmation that we are turning out products which are unsurpassed in terms of performance and value," said Brian Nilles, CEO, VICON. "We welcome these two new customers, including Mainframe and Capcom, to the VICON family."

"For a customer to choose a brand new system and pipeline after earlier investment in another technology, they must see a rather significant difference in the technology and the company. I think that for Mainframe, our most recent competitive upgrade, the decision was even easier than in the past simply because of the new VICON MX system's grey scale imaging technology coupled with the real-time performance of the four million-pixel VICON MX40 camera. But also, as the world's largest provider of premium motion capture systems, we have the staff and resources to go the extra mile for the customer a valuable asset for any studio who must meet tough deadlines and increase its capabilities to meet the demands of its audience."

VICON first showed its next-generation motion capture cameras at SIGGRAPH 2004, ushering in ultra-high-resolution, virtually artifact-free capture with MX40, the world's first four-million-pixel motion capture camera. The VICON MX line revolutionizes the quality, flexibility and ease with which motion capture data can be applied to both real-time and off-line applications with high frame rates, on-camera proprietary real-time image processing, real-time output and simultaneous capture for facial, hand, foot and body performance. VICON MX has replaced the VICON 8 and MCam2s as the new benchmark for the industry standard for precision, range, fidelity and marker density. More than 500 VICON MX cameras have already been installed around the world since the cameras were launched in June 2004.

VICON also continues to innovate with VICON iQ, a software application developed to dramatically streamline motion capture workflow and deliver unprecedented accuracy when tracking multiple actors. The software applies a strong kinematic knowledge of the subjects being captured to instantaneously record production-quality animation for CG characters in real time, employ intelligent feedback loops to converge on the best outcome and resolve data discrepancies without operator interpretation or intervention. The combination of MX technology and Vicon iQ has provided animators with tools which allow them to focus on artistry rather than the technology a long standing quest of game developers and filmmakers across the world.


About Mainframe
Mainframe Entertainment Inc. (TSX: MFE), is one of the world's most prolific producers of computer animation for television and direct-to-videos, and is expanding into long-form CGI for feature films, commercials and interactive entertainment. In addition to its production of the award-winning "Barbie Swan Lake" direct-to-video feature, a new "Popeye" CGI primetime television special, and the new "Spider-Man" animated series, the company created the animation, logo, and branding for the 2003 MTV Movie Awards. The company is best known as the pioneer of computer animated television series for the groundbreaking "ReBoot". Mainframe has produced over 240 half hours of computer animation since its inception in 1993. The company employs approximately 240 artists, animators, technicians and production personnel, and has won many prestigious awards for its creative technical innovations, including a Laureate of the 1998 Computerworld Smithsonian Awards. Mainframe is currently in production of a new CGI animated "Inspector Gadget" DVD feature, as well as a slate of new proprietary television specials and DVD features. Mainframe's majority shareholder is IDT Entertainment. IDT Entertainment is the IDT subsidiary focused on developing, acquiring, producing and distributing computer-generated and traditionally animated productions and other productions for the film, broadcast and direct-to-consumer markets.


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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