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Image Metrics to Develop Hologram of Richard Burton for Hit Musical

Image Metrics announced at SIGGRAPH 2007 in San Diego that its proprietary performance-capture solution will provide the modeling and animation for a photorealistic 11-foot 3D hologram of the late Richard Burton, for the live onstage production of Jeff Wayne's hit album, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.

"Image Metrics' proprietary performance-capture technology analyzes the motion data captured in any video recording of an actor, such as the performance of renowned theater actor Brian Mallon that we're using to develop the Richard Burton," said Image Metrics COO Kelvin Duckett. "Our unique performance-capture solution removes the slow process of animation by hand required by other motion-capture programs and eliminates the need for expensive motion-capture camera systems, while producing stunningly accurate results."

Currently selling out large arenas around the world, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS is touring across the U.K. and Australia/New Zealand in the latter half of 2007. Image Metrics is animating Burton for an eerily realistic encore performance in the show, reincarnating him in his mid-30s to mirror the age of journalist George Herbert, the role Burton plays in the musical work.

Image Metrics is completing a total of 23 minutes of photoreal facial animation perfectly synchronized to the original audio recording of the international star of stage and screen. The company's contribution to the production consists of 72 shots developed by a team of five artists.

Providing the first and only markerless and makeup-free system in the animation industry, Image Metrics' technology captures the minute details in each pixel of a particular individual's performance, allowing the actor's personality to shine through the digital character.

Developed over the past seven years by a team of Ph.D. physicists, Image Metrics' proprietary performance-capture process uses pre-existing or newly recorded video of an actor's facial performance that can be shot using any video or high-definition camera. All detail seen in the recorded video is then analyzed and mapped onto the computer-generated head, including the movement of the teeth, tongue, lips and, most importantly, the actor's eyes.

Image Metrics is headquartered in Manchester, U.K., with offices in Santa Monica, California. Its unique performance-driven facial-animation solution is used in the entertainment, medical and security industries. The technology has been successfully applied in more than 40 video games, movies and commercials worldwide.