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VICON House of Moves Provides Motion Capture for Universal Pictures’ ‘Changeling’

VICON House of Moves, a leading motion capture service bureau and a division of VICON, developer of Academy Award(r)-winning motion capture systems, has provided motion capture services for VFX facility CIS Vancouver (

) for the Clint Eastwood-directed drama from Universal Pictures, “Changeling.” Based on actual events that occurred in 1920s-era Los Angeles, “Changeling” tells the story of a woman who faces corrupt police and a skeptical public as she desperately hunts to find her son. The film, starring Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich, had its wide release in North America on October 31, 2008.

During a two-day shoot to obtain the full range of idiosyncrasies for a character’s motion and body sizes, VICON House of Moves handled full-body capture of five men and four women. This motion data was then used in conjunction with artificial intelligence crowd software Massive to generate realistic-looking background crowds that evoked the attitude of that time period.

For CIS Vancouver, “Changeling” gave the team the opportunity to build on the number of individuals and the variety of performances captured from past projects the facility had done. Said Geoffrey Hancock, VFX Supervisor for CIS Vancouver, “For Massive crowd scenes, we typically capture a more limited array of physical performances, and then use Massive to create the additional variety, whether it’s a faster or slower walk or a shorter or taller person. In this case, we evaluated how that process had worked in the past and didn’t feel that it looked natural enough to hold up to scrutiny in the foreground of the scene. So we opted for a wider variety of really clean natural mocap for plugging into Massive, and I think the results show that improved subtle natural movement.”

Hancock found VICON House of Moves’ motion capture data integrated seamlessly into the Massive pipeline. CIS Vancouver sent its skeleton rigs to VICON House of Moves ahead of time, so the team could help adjust the skeleton rigs to exactly match the proportions of each of the actors. This eliminated the inaccuracies previously introduced by using motion capture from one size actor on a differently proportioned digital character. In the end, CIS Vancouver had nine distinct skeletons to match the nine distinct characters, so the mo-cap data fit extremely well and required very little editing in Massive.

In addition to praising VICON House of Moves’ level of service, organization and expertise in capturing motion capture data for Massive, Hancock and his team were very impressed with the company’s in-house online review and ordering system. “This system allowed us to log in remotely and review our motion capture clips in real time, from any angle, at our offices in Vancouver,” he said. “Being able to go through the incredible amount of material shot and narrow it down to the absolute best takes before ordering the material to be processed saved us money and allowed us to be very efficient.”

About VICON House of Moves

VICON House of Moves is a division of VICON, the Academy Award(r)-winning supplier of precision motion tracking systems, serving customers in film, visual effects, computer games, and broadcast television, as well as engineering and life science industries
VICON is the largest holding of OMG (Oxford Metrics Group – LSE: OMG), plc.

VICON House of Moves provides professional motion capture services, stock 3D data, and custom 3D animation tools for the entertainment industry. With expertise dating back to 1985 and credits ranging from Poseidon to Spider-Man 2 to Titanic, VICON House of Moves has completed hundreds of animation projects, including feature films, electronic games, television commercials, broadcast television series, music videos and on-line character animation/content for the Web. For more information, call (310) 306-6131 or visit


VICON and VICON MX are trademarks of OMG plc. Academy Award(r) is a trade or servicemark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.