Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Virtual Handheld Cameras - Taking Machinima to the Next Step

Researchers from the University of Abertay Dundee have leveraged Simul-cam techniques pioneered by James Cameron for the film Avatar to deliver new motion based cam-controller technology dubbed "Motus" that may have profound effects on the future of machinima.

The Abertay research team, led by Lecturer in Games Engineering Matt Bett, have combined the notion of a virtual camera and motion based game controller technologies to deliver an entirely new means by which to capture video in a virtual world, PC based game or any other simulated 3D environment. 

They've done this by utilizing a development kit for the Sixense TrueMotion controller which allows the virtual camera to be controlled outside the environment in very natural ways - as if you were holding a hand-held camera. This allows machinima makers to step outside the constraints of the game based camera system.

Matt describes the concept:
What the Simul-cam technology allows is a kind of augmented reality, where the computer-generated world can be seen immediately. 
What I wanted to do was turn this on its head, and bring this power to home computers. Using a new Sixense electromagnetic motion controller, we can now manipulate a virtual camera in any virtual environment – be it a film, an animation, a computer game, or a simulation tool for teaching.
Razer will develop the initial commercial offering of the Motus system which should be available for purchase early next year at a cost of roughly $161 USD.

I can't wait to see how the growing numbers of machinima artists will put this to work.

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