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Vicon Moves into Mocap Expansion

Given the preeminence of CG characters in movies and gaming, Vicon Motion Systems has acquired Los Angeles-based House of Moves (HOM) in an effort to expand its U.S. motion capture presence. The move formally establishes HOM, an indie motion-capture service bureau of long standing, as a new technology test-bed for Vicon.

"Becoming a part of Vicon is a win-win for all parties involved," said Tom Tolles, founder and ceo of HOM. "With the Vicon resources now available to us, we are the best-equipped motion-capture studio in the world. HOM will provide Vicon with direct production experience for the product development team- and Vicon will provide direct factory resources so that we can continue to push the boundaries of motion capture for our clients."

Commented Julian Morris, ceo of Vicon and OMG: "We have enjoyed a synergistic relationship with House of Moves since 1996, and we viewed this as a natural progression of both our relationship with HOM and a move which fits well with our corporate expansion goals. The market opportunity for motion capture studio services is growing at a rapid pace. There is a rising demand for heightened realism in game character animation, and the use of motion capture for digital characters, virtual stuntmen, and populating crowd sequences has become de rigueur in feature film development."

Added Vicon USA ceo Brian Nilles: "We have always focused on customer input to draw our road map for product development. Now with HOM operating as a Vicon company, we will be able to perform rigorous testing and refinement of the latest products, and deliver field-proven technology more quickly than ever before. Having House of Moves involved much earlier in the design process will provide a shorter, more streamlined development and QA pipeline."

The acquisition comes just as HOM prepares to launch its third expansion into a brand-new production facility. HOM's facility will afford Vicon a real-world production showcase stage, equipped with Vicon's next generation MX system. The 12,000-square foot facility boasts the largest dedicated motion capture stage in Los Angeles, spanning 60' x120' with a 24-foot height free span clearance. The new studio will feature a full-body performance stage outfitted with a 30-camera Vicon system, a 24 camera rehearsal insert stage and an audio-scan-facial capture stage.

HOM will continue to service its regular clients, which include Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Sony 989, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Digital Domain and other film and game development leaders. HOM will also continue to develop its motion capture workflow animation software DIVA, which is compatible with existing Vicon pipelines. Code from DIVA was recently licensed by Alias for adding character retargeting and motion data workflow efficiencies into Maya 6.0.

House of Moves (www.moves.com) is best known for its motion-capture work on such films as THE PATRIOT and TITANIC, as well as hundreds of interactive games. The company pioneered use of motion-capture technology to depict photoreal virtual characters on screen in TITANIC working together with client Digital Domain. In addition to its 12,000 square-foot studio, HOM boasts a full-time professional staff of 13 motion capture experts, animators, programmers and engineers, and offers support for all digital motion formats.

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 provided 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.

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