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SOLIDWORKS TECHNOLOGY REVEAL

Project Details
Client: Solidworks
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Services: Custom Creative Services, Circo Luci® Specialty Act Integration

CONCEPT
The client was seeking to show that increases in computing power allowed for its software to generate motion capture renderings in real-time versus sending it to a render farm. This event showcased the processing power of computer technology to a live audience via real-time rendering of a circus performance in motion-capture suits.

APPROACH
A duo hand balancing act from Circo Luci was chosen to perform their act while wearing motion capture suits similar to the ones used in the motion capture scenes from the Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy. The circus artists were completely covered in black fabric and had multiple reflective elements attached to their bodies for the cameras placed in the performance area. These special motion-tracking cameras tracked the motion of these multiple reflective elements in the three-dimensional space, sending all of the captured data to the render farm. The computers then translated this information into a three dimensional space and generated wireframe images of the artists based on the spacing of the reflective elements in the black motion capture suits.

The three dimensional space was then rendered into an image and output to video for large-format projection live for the audience. The computers had to compute and update the image in real-time any change in movement of the hundreds of individual reflective elements embedded in the motion capture suits. Any updates were processed through the graphics output and updated live in the video presentation. The point of view camera could also be moved in real-time, and in addition to calculating movements of the artists in the motion capture suits it had to adjust in real time for camera motion.

This new technology for the first time allowed for real-time rendering and real-time presentation of the motion capture, including camera flights, pans, and rotations. The audience was able to see the live performance on stage and the rendered wireframe performance in real-time, with no rendering delay. The slow movements of the acrobatic hand balancing duo was perfect for programmed camera flyovers and fly-arounds in the wireframe view. Positions held for long periods of time by the duo in the balancing performance were able to be viewed from multiple camera angles instantaneously and smoothly with no rendered camera jitter.

The video on the right shows the actual motion capture recorded during the live performance. Circo Luci artists altered their performance to showcase the images that would work best with the live motion capture. In the video, you will see a large circular camera rotation around the room, showcasing the artists from three hundred and sixty degrees.
The other videos below show this technology in action in the film industry in the making of the Lord of the Rings, and how advances in technology give the ability to shoot film and do motion capture simultaneously.

The fusion of technology with real-time live performances opens a new frontier for live experiences, and advances in masking, rendering and video technology are consistently added to live theater to increase production value.

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