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Real life 'captured' for animated movie
In this story:
June 20, 1998
Web posted at: 8:57 a.m. EDT (1257 GMT)
From Correspondent Dennis Michael
HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- "Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists," a
movie now in production, is the first feature film to be
completely animated using a technique called "motion
Everything you'll see an animated character do on the screen
was done first by a stunt performer. The real-life motion is
then recreated, or "captured," by computer.
The result, says "Sinbad" producer Sri Ram Rajan, are cartoon
characters that appear more believable. ( 192 K / 13 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
How the process works
The process begins in a large motion capture stage in
Hollywood. On the day CNN visited the set, a stuntman covered
from head-to-toe with shining reflectors, wires and a safety harness was yanked into the air like a bungee jumper going in
The "motion capture" process: from stick figure to animated character
Seconds later, he lands safely on a thickly padded mat.
Seven infrared cameras capture the brief action, but all they
"see" are the bright reflectors because the shots are
recorded as computer data, not as filmed images.
The multiple cameras give animators a three-dimensional sense
of how the human body moves, says motion capture artist Tom
Tolles. ( 288 K / 23 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Turning those bright dots into believable animation comes
next. During the multi-step process, animators use computers
to connect the dots, transforming them into a
Later on, a head, torso, arms and legs are added, giving the
"captured" image a more realistic, human movement, says,
"Sinbad" animation director Evan Ricks. ( 256 K / 20 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
A few steps more and the star of the film begins eventually
emerges from the computer data.
"Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists" is still in the rough
stages. The finished product is expected in theaters at the
end of this year or early in 1999.
By using the motion capture technique, Rajan says he'll be
able to make the film for a third of what a traditionally
animated feature costs. That makes Sinbad's fictional
adventure one that movie studios may be watching closely.