Case Study:

Remote Avatar Virtual Presenter Challenge for the Gadget Show

When:05.03.2014

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The Brief

The producers of North One Television approached 3D creative services company Inition, asking us to provide the technical expertise for an ambitious ‘virtual presenter’ challenge.

Solution

Inition helped presenter Suzi Perry to win the ‘virtual presenter’ challenge (Season 15, Episode 4) in which she and Jon were invited to find the best way to present the show without actually being in the studio. Whilst Jon commissioned an android version of himself and placed it in the studio to take his place, Suzi came to Inition to make use of our motion capture technology.

Based on real-time 3D animation software Autodest MotionBuilder, LILA is Inition’s markerless motion capture solution which can provide show stopping interactive installations for brands, exhibitions, tours and marketing agencies.

Using LILA, Inition were able to capture the motion of Suzi in London and transmit this data to Birmingham to drive an avatar which was composited in the Gadget Show studio, all in real time.

Without any calibration required, Suzi stepped into the holo-deck style cube at Inition’s London studios where her silhouette was tracked by 14 x2D cameras. No markers or any special clothing were required. The vision processor software calculated a 3D mesh of her body from these views and a digital skeleton was applied using the Organic Motion plugin.

The frame-by-frame motion co-ordinates from the data were transmitted to the MotionBuilder system at North One TV studios via a special driver which then applied Suzi’s features- including clothes, hair, skin tones etc. The avatar of Suzi was composited into the studios of The Gadget Show next to the real co-presenter Otis and the android version of Jason Bradbury.

Suzi’s avatar character included full face expressions and mouth shapes driven by her voice, fed through LILA’s voice recognition software. The composited footage was sent back to Inition’s Shoreditch studios via Skype which Suzi could monitor on a screen, seeing exactly what the public would see.

Results

This project posed several challenges, not least because of the processing power required to deliver the avatar in real time. This was the first time a motion capture system had been used to drive another avatar over the Internet. By chosing to approach Inition for help, Suzi beat Jason’s android by 16 points to just 12.

Based on the success of this project, North One Television decided to invite Inition to help create fun and innovative crowd games to be played at Gadget Show Live, a consumer event based on the television show. Read more about this here.

The LILA motion capture is a complete attention grabbing solution which is available for events, promotions and exhibitions. As well as hire of the LILA system itself, Inition also provide a complete production service with the hardware, software, and creative design of the characters, environments and interactions.