Roberto Iacoviello (Rai), co-chair of EBU CG Animation group

Virtual production has revolutionized the way movies, television shows and other forms of media are created. It enables filmmakers to visualize and manipulate virtual environments, characters, and special effects in real time, reducing the need for extensive post-production work. By integrating live-action footage seamlessly with CGI (computer-generated imagery), virtual production, capturing quality and realism of the final product. It offers a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to traditional production methods.

Real-time motion capture is a crucial component of virtual production. It involves capturing the movements of actors or performers and translating them into digital data that can be applied to virtual characters or objects.

In the EBU’s CG Animation group, we have explored the significance of motion capture in the broadcaster pipeline and its vital role in enhancing the virtual production process.

This technology enables the creation of realistic and dynamic performances, as the digital characters mimic the movements of the actors in real time. More recently, motion-capture systems have become sensitive enough to capture subtle details in the face and fingers, giving rise to performance capture.

Discussions in the CG Animation group have focused on the importance of understanding use cases and requirements, the difficulty of comparing various motion- capture tools, and proposing a methodology to facilitate the comparison process.

The group has produced a document on use cases and requirements. Each project or production has its unique needs, and identifying them beforehand helps streamline the tool- selection process. By defining the specific goals, desired outcomes, and technical specifications, we were able to narrow down the list of potential solutions, making the comparison task more manageable.

Comparing the tools

The vast array of options often leads to confusion and difficulty in comparing them effectively. Factors such as the tracking accuracy, ease of use, compatibility with existing workflows, and post-processing capabilities must be considered. Additionally, understanding the level of support, training, and ongoing maintenance provided by the tool’s developers is crucial.

To simplify the comparison process, it is beneficial to develop a methodology that focuses on key evaluation criteria. Currently we are working on a methodology that includes factors such as tracking accuracy, compatibility with industry-standard software, ease of integration, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. By establishing a comprehensive evaluation framework, we will objectively assess each tool’s strengths and weaknesses, facilitating an informed decision- making process.

To gain a deeper understanding of the significance of motion capture in the broadcaster pipeline, we are currently conducting a survey among industry professionals. This survey should aim to uncover the perceived importance of motion- capture technology, the benefits it brings to content creation, and the challenges faced by broadcasters in integrating it into their workflows. By gathering feedback from a diverse range of experts, the survey results can shed light on current practices, trends, and areas for improvement within the broadcaster pipeline.

To follow or get involved with the CG Animation group’s work, EBU Members should visit: animation

This article first appeared in issue 57 of EBU tech-i magazine.

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