Vicon Motion Systems' Brian Nilles: Motion-Capture Moves Forward
(continued from page 3)

SS: How has motion-capture impacted the volume of character animation that is being produced for television, games and film?

BN: I don't think anybody would argue that it's only gone up. The whole reason we're in business is because we can produce very realistic motion, capture it from an actor, and save money and time for people who are implementing such digital animation in their productions, whether it's film, TV, games, etc. One of our quests over the last few years of development has been to reduce the pipeline from the capture session into the animation package in the final product. And without being able to show people real cost benefits for using motion-capture, just the artistic argument probably wouldn't hold up. Everybody wants to be able to produce better quality video games and TV and film and special effects, but if there is a heavy price premium on it or it meant that projects would be delayed, then we wouldn't go anywhere with it. But the fact that we can have our customers save money and produce super-realistic animation, that's the reason that we're having record years.

SS: Do you imagine that this volume will increase in the future?

BN: Absolutely. We tripled our business last year and we're on slate to do it again this year.

SS: Will motion-capture become more prevalent to the average consumer?

Fox's Halloween special Night of the Headless Horseman utilized motion-capture techniques ranging from collecting facial expressions to the movements of a horse. Courtesy of and © Computed Animation Technology (CAT), Dallas, Texas.

BN: Absolutely. No question about it. Certainly, people are going to have more access to 3D. Existing programs and existing Web content are only now starting to investigate 3D. So, for the average consumer, they really don't understand what that is and how it can benefit them. But the future is only going to increase the amount of 3D accessibility that people have. In terms of whether people will have access to motion-capture themselves -- no question. One day there will be a product that will be able to capture the nuance of motion and have people, even at the consumer level, do something with it. The motion-capture horizons are fairly pretty right now.

SS: What new arenas do you think we'll be seeing motion-capture in?

BN: You'll see more 3D and more motion-capture on the Web. You'll see entertainment media that haven't been able to afford motion-capture so far. You'll see that prices are coming down and people will have more access to it. There are more service bureaus who are using motion-capture as their primary business and offering services for motion-capture. So, a whole bunch of people who don't currently use it now will have access to it because of better pricing, because of a better understanding of the technology, because the pipeline got simpler, and it's easy to use. All of the above. We're still at the bottom of the curve.

Sharon Schatz is a writer in the New Media department at Fox Family Worldwide and is also a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.

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