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Entry-level mo cap system used for online machinima hit

A marker-less desktop motion capture system was used by UK-based filmmaker/animator Ian Chisholm to create his machinima (a film made using the graphics engines from video games) epic Clear Skies III.

Chisholm, who works in IT and describes himself as “just some ordinary Joe without any background or training in film” learnt the skills required to make his films as he went along.

He used iPi Soft’s entry-level mo cap system to create character animations, which he then applied to the graphics engines of some well-known computer games. 

iPi Soft's system accurately captures human motion data using inexpensive, off-the-shelf cameras and doesn’t require sensor suits or green screen stages.

''I started the Clear Skies series about six years ago,'' says Chisholm. ''I'd just started doing some basic video work when I discovered I could use blue screening to composite video footage together.”

“I'd always wanted to tell a full story, and by using the Eve Online graphics engine for exterior space and ship shots, and the Half Life 2 engine for interior sets and characters, I managed to achieve that.”

It took Chisholm over two years to make the first instalment of Clear Skies: “I learnt everything in the Half Life 2 development kit, wrote my first script, build the sets, shot and created the film itself,” he says.

''I continually challenge myself technically and creatively, and Clear Skies III is the culmination of what I learned producing the previous two films,” he adds.

“Practically every line of dialogue and every movement was motion captured using iPi Soft. Not only was this fun, but it also raised the bar on the performances I could deliver using the Half Life 2 characters – I could add more personality and dimension to the characters, rather than be limited to the built-in gestures that come with the game.”

The mo cap system also made it possible for Chisholm to capture whole body motion and walk around in a small area and interact with items. He created "action sequences and dramatic moments – gunfights, fistfights, character interaction – that wouldn't have been remotely possible without it,'' believes Chisholm.

Posted 12 October 2011 by Jake Bickerton

48 GoPros capture The Matrix 'bullet style' surf shot

Surf brand Rip Curl used a handheld underwater camera array of 48 GoPros to capture The Matrix ‘bullet time’ style footage of surfer Mick Fanning riding a huge wave in the South Pacific.

It’s the first time the portable camera array of miniature GoPro cameras has been used on a production, with the eye-catching footage being used as part of Rip Curl’s marketing campaign for its Mirage Boardshort surfboard.

“The pioneers of camera array photography” Tim and Callum Macmillan of Time Slice Films created the 48 GoPro array. An expansion kit for the GoPro, which enables two of the 1080p HD cameras to be synced together with a synch cable, is at the heart of the camera array, which extends the capabilities so make it possible for an unlimited number of GoPros can be synched together.

“We are always looking to lead the way when it comes to camera array effects and identifying new ways to push the limits for creativity and to acquire unique shots,” says Tim Macmillan. 

Additional videos are planned for Rip Curl, using the GoPro array, to film surfers Owen Wright, Matt Wilkinson, Dillon Perillo and Dean Brady.

Posted 12 October 2011 by Jake Bickerton
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