image to view a sample movie
Full Tilt Studios has a proprietary
system of translating computer generated scenes, models, and camera
motion into motion control camera information. The advantage of
this system is it allows client and director alike to previsualize
camera motion in detail, while simultaneously programming motion
control camera moves. It reveals potential problems and gives
all involved a clear understanding of what the finished piece
should look like. It also saves money, because moves can be planned
and debugged ahead of time, potentially saving thousands of dollars
in stage time.
Recently, visual effects
house Ring Of Fire contracted Full Tilt Studios to use this system
to design moves for a series of NBC promotionals. The process,
an example of our system's implementation, is described below:
In 1999, NBC's Magic Room hired
director Dan Schmidt to shoot a series of elements they could
use throughout the year in their various network promotions. The
elements, a set water jet carved glass peacock feathers, were
to be mounted into a custom-designed rotating rig and table. The
rig provided three axes of rotation for the feathers. The second
part was a Lynx motion control system, which provided its own
set of axes. The Lynx was positioned to augment the axes of the
feather rig with its own axes. The net effect was a complex set
of rotations and timing.
When NBC returned in 2000 for
another set of elements, director Schmidt was looking for a better
Full Tilt Studios worked with
Director of Photography David Kuklish first to build and program
a CG scale model of the feather rig in Softimage 3D, a high end
animation application. The model functioned exactly like its real
life counterpart utilizing a series of positional and rotational
constraints. They next built a virtual Lynx which would be constrained
in 3D space to the motions available to its real life twin. Lens
information was programmed into a virtual camera and they were
set to go.
This system allowed NBC creative
directors to quickly create exactly the shots they wanted. Once
programmed into Softimage 3D, the motion data was extracted and
prepared for Kuper motion control input.
A total of nine channels of
motion were culled from Softimage 3D and piped into the Kuper.
The remaining channels were used for zoom and focus.
On set, a workstation was set
up specifically to design additional shots and quickly send them
to the Kuper. Now with an understanding of what NBC was looking
for, Full Tilt Studios was able to easily design additional shots
right there on set.
Each pass was filmed at three
to five frames per second, and there were an average of four passes
per shot. The finished elements were processed and sent to the
Magic Room where they will be edited, composited, time-squeezed,
time-stretched, color corrected, enhanced, and artistically modified
on the Inferno throughout the year.
You can see the results daily
on NBC's network promos.