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Vicon and Curious Pictures Expand New York Market for MoCap

Vicon, developer of Academy Award-winning motion capture technology, has sold Curious Pictures in New York a top-of-the-line 16-camera Vicon MX 40 motion capture system. This marks the first sale of Vicon motion capture to the New York television and commercial production market, and underscores the recent advancements in Vicons realtime technology to meet the challenges and demands of creating and directing motion capture animation for broadcast.

Curious Pictures has already used the Vicon system on three commercials, producing performances for brands such as AOL and Imodium that would have been extremely difficult and time consuming to accomplish via keyframe animation methods. In addition, Vicons realtime facial and full-body capture capabilities are giving Curious Pictures clients the opportunity to direct animation and make creative decisions on the fly on the day of the shoot.

Realtime animation with our clients has traditionally been the realm of smoke and mirrors, said Lewis Kofsky, Curious' director of Computer Graphics and Visual FX. Now, for the first time, we do not need time-consuming calibrations and configurations and are able to capture facial and body performance at the same time. We have been following motion capture technology for years and the Vicon MX 40 system is miles ahead of previous generations. Instead of a large support team, we can finally put our directors and animators on stage and have them work directly with talent.

"One of the great aspects of the system is that it provides realtime feedback, which allows for a high degree of client interaction," added Curious partner Steve Oakes. "A client can literally watch their character come to life, participate in the process and provide instant feedback. And because the technology captures 'extreme acting,' it allows an actor to try various expressive character changes during multiple takes. It's truly liberating, elegant and fun. This is really a historic change in the animation process."

Vicon MX 40 cameras deliver four million-pixel accuracy and the level of performance, throughput and streamlined setup that makes motion capture first unit and stage friendly, added Tom Armbruster of Vicon, who worked closely with Curious on the install. The amazing work of our customers on film projects like THE POLAR EXPRESS and VAN HELSING has helped drive these new breakthroughs, moving us rapidly to develop capabilities to meet specific industry needs...

In addition to adding creative benefits, use of Vicon at Curious Pictures will make the CG animation process more viable for the television production environment, allowing the company to produce many more takes of animation data via motion capture than would be possible through hours of traditional key frame. Kofsky suggested that the Vicon system has also opened the door to long-form CGI production as well.

We are currently producing several long-form programs in cel animation and mixed media, and bringing motion capture capabilities to our studio with Vicon has enabled us to start production on our first feature-length CG film. With Vicon MX, Vicon has provided a total solution from capture straight into one of our animation packages. We are excited about being the only place in Manhattan and one of a few studios in the country that can produce Vicon motion capture projects from concept to final image under one roof.

Curious Pictures (www.curiouspictures.com) is touted as being the largest animation studio in New York and the home to award winning creators of animated television series, television commercials and celebrated animated characters in picture books and television. Curious incorporates elements of animation, design, production and brand strategy in creating successful branded entertainment for Mattel and AOL as well as in commercials for Target, Steve Madden, General Motors, Burger King, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and hundreds of other companies.

Vicons next-generation Vicon MX realtime optical motion capture systems provide ultra-high-resolution, virtually artifact-free capture with MX40, the first four-million-pixel motion capture camera. Vicon MX raises the quality, flexibility and ease with which motion capture data can be applied to realtime and off-line applications in film, television, videogames, virtual prototyping, biomechanical analysis and more.

Vicon Motion Systems (www.vicon.com) 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. Vicon received a Scientific and Technical Academy Award from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in February 2005.

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