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Sony Computer Increases MoCap Output with Vicon MX40

Sony Computer Ent. of America Inc. (SCEA) has more than doubled its motion-capture output as a result of deploying the MX40 system from Vicon Motion Systems. SCEA Motion Capture operates as a service bureau available to all of Sonys first-party game titles that require motion capture. The outfit installed a 24-camera Vicon MX40 system in September of 2004, and in just six months has already exceeded the amount of motion capture produced in all of the previous year.

We simply would not have been able to keep up with the volume of work that we had scheduled these past few months without the Vicon MX40 system, commented Brian Rausch, department manager, SCEA Motion Capture. In January alone we delivered over 5280 motions many of which were multiple character performances resulting in a total of over 9,000 individual character animations. Many of these have involved very complex captures including a 7-man dog-pile and an 8-man cinematic sequence. These types of shots and level of output would have been unfathomable with any other system.

As aggressive as SCEA has been with the system, they plan to accomplish even more complex capture scenarios this coming year. Many of the challenging production demands placed upon Rausch and his team are determined by the latest graphics capabilities of next generation Sony consoles. In the next 12 months it is anticipated that 75% of SCEAs work will involve hand capture of performers simultaneous with full body capture. To accommodate these more complex demands, SCEA is currently building a new studio with a dedicated 121x124x35-foot high capture stage. The studio primarily completes capture for action adventure and for sports games the sports genre comprises approximately 50% of what theyll capture in a given year.

When asked why SCEA chose to standardize its pipeline on Vicon technologies, Rausch replied, The main reason we chose Vicon is the unparalleled combination of great technology and great support Another bonus is that since Vicon acquired House of Moves, technology development of their Diva Software is even more tightly integrated with Vicons systems than ever before. Considering that Diva is the main software backbone to SCEAs mo-cap pipeline, this has been very beneficial to us.

The SCEA Motion Capture pipeline typically involves capturing performance data using their 24-camera MX40 Vicon system, acquiring and labeling the data in the Vicon iQ intelligent processing software, then passing it through to Diva Pipeline Software for filtering, gap filling and exporting into Alias MotionBuilder where data is retargeted to CG characters and delivered as such to their customers. This process has become significantly streamlined with the MX40 cameras, as the high-quality data coming through requires almost no manual tweaking.

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.