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New Captain Scarlet Powered by Vicon MX40 Cameras

GERRY ANDERSONS NEW CAPTAIN SCARLET, the 3D-animated TV series currently airing in the U.K. and picked up for U.S. distribution by Sony Pictures Television, marks the first entertainment project completed with Vicons four-million pixel MX40 motion capture cameras.

In continuing Andersons popular 1960s Saturday morning British series and updating it with cutting-edge CGI, The Indestructible Production Co. at Pinewood Studios, London, sought the leading motion capture technology, building its own in-house motion capture studio and acquiring Vicons top-of-the-line equipment.

The Indestructible Production Co. capitalized on the ultra-high precision of 18 Vicon MX40s to capture of the moves of human performers and bring life to the all-digital shows characters. Twenty-six 30-minute episodes have been delivered, in HD, with the studio shaving its schedule significantly per episode with production-ready motion capture data from the Vicon system.

Im usually very skeptical of vendor claims on hardware and software, but Vicons MX system just blew me away its a quantum leap ahead of anything else in the industry, said Ron Thorton, CG producer. The combination of the new MX cameras and Vicons iQ software enabled us to produce huge amounts of extremely accurate data and greatly reduce our workload. The quality and quantity of data every week from our Vicon MX system was astonishing.

At Pinewood, The Indestructible Production Co. constructed a purpose-built motion capture studio for the series, outfitting it with 16 Vicon MX40 cameras and then adding two more Vicon MX40 units as production ensued. Right out of the gate, the company was capturing complex fight scenes with six actors and props simultaneously, rapidly producing clean data using the Vicon MX and iQ realtime system and multiple seats of Vicon iQ post processing software for the animation pipeline.

The original CAPTAIN SCARLET was an instant classic, and its exciting to see its working new magic with the backing of the latest computer animation and motion capture techniques, said David Lowe, business development manager, Vicon. This team of innovators has a long history of producing work that stands out and sets the new bar in our industry, so its no surprise that they were among our first Vicon MX40 customers, and were shooting real production footage on a television deadline with the system from Day One.

An update of the classic 1960s supermarionation series CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS, GERRY ANDERSONS NEW CAPTAIN SCARLET follows Spectrum agents Captain Scarlet and Captain Black after they are sent to investigate mysterious alien signals, which leads to Captain Black mistakenly firing an attack. The men are destroyed after the Mysterons retaliate, only to be recreated as agents of evil to destroy Earth. After Black returns from the grave to lead the alien campaign, Scarlet escapes the Mysterons influence and regains control of his human psyche. But, he also possesses a true alien quality; hes indestructible.

Vicon and its sister companies 2d3 and House of Moves contribute via their products and services to a wide range of television and film productions involving visual effects. Technologies developed by Vicon continue to enable groundbreaking creative firsts, such as last-years performance capture feature THE POLAR EXPRESS, starring Tom Hanks. Vicon received a Scientific and Technical Academy Award from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in February 2005.

Vicon Motion Systems ( is a subsidiary of OMG plc with global headquarters in Oxford, U.K., and U.S. headquarters in Lake Forest, California. 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.