Siggraph, July 2016 – In an interview with Jeffrey Ovadya, Director of Sales and Marketing for Vicon Motion Systems, we got a chance to hear about their latest mocap camera and also Project Katana which was being demonstrated on the conference expo floor at SIGGRAPH 2016.

Motion Capture, or MoCap has moved to the mainstream for VFX production in movies, TV, advertising and most content creation.  It has even expanded to support automated PTZ camera movement for live TV production using virtual studios.  The primary product from the company is high speed cameras for motion capture that are mounted to a scaffolding system or framing to define a 3D space where the movement is captured.  The new cameras and software are designed to be smarter and easier to use, as mocap moves from the professional space to the prosumer market.

For simplicity in the use of mocap, Jeff said that Vicon has started a program called “Project Katana”.  The idea behind it is to have a system that in real time will create a mocap skeleton model ad bring the data into systems like Final Cut.  The goal is to have final quality, fully rigged and articulated skeletons of the mocap session at the end of each shot.  This will provide full skeletons of all characters in the 3D capture space, at the end of each day, along with the production dailies.  In order to perform this analysis, the studio setup and network has to be self-healing.  The data environment for motion and the rigging connections in the project are being done using a Matlab mathematical modeling core.

The booth at the SIGGRAPH expo was showing the system however there is not release date or a “product name” for when Project Katana will be released.


To address this shift towards simplicity, Vicon has introduced the Vero camera.  It is available in two models the v1.3 which is a 1.3MP camera and the v2.2 which is a 2.2MP camera.  Designed specifically for mocap applications, the cameras are an 850nm IR greyscale camera that operates at either 250FPS for the v1.3 or 330FPS for v2.2.  The high frame rates on the cameras allow for real time and full range live motion capture.

The cameras have a variable focus lens from 6mm-12mm for use in low angle and high angle applications.  A major design simplification for the user is the single cable connection.  The cameras have standard RJ45/Cat5e Ethernet connector that serves to be the interface for the camera control, data connection from the units and power the units using the POE specification.  For this single cable connection system, the cameras have been designed to only require 12W to operate.  Like the prior generation and larger camera the Vantage, the Vero has on-board sensors that monitor camera position and temperature to ensure optimal performance.