AI - Stan Winston Studios

Stan Winston Studios Masters Puppet Effects for "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" Using Gypsy Mechanical System from Meta Motion

Gypsy Motion Capture System Performs Impeccably Over 70-Day Shoot

SAN FRANCISCO - August 31, 2001- After creating ground breaking, Oscar winning effects for such movies as "Jurassic Park," "Aliens," and "Terminator 2," Stan Winston Studios tackled the lifelike effects for Teddy, the teddy bear puppet in Dreamworks' "AI: Artificial Intelligence," with quick and simple in mind. Gypsy 3, sold through Meta Motion, is the world's easiest and most affordable real-time motion capture (mocap) system, and it was the perfect choice to control the small bear's arm motions.

"The real beauty of the Gypsy system is that I just bought it off the shelf, changed the shoulder setup slightly, wired it to our system, plugged it in, and went to work," says Glenn Derry, Stan Winston electronic designer in charge of the project. "This all took less than a day and saved me a week-and-a-half building a custom telemetry system. Gypsy allowed us to get the motion data we needed right away."

Gypsy is a moving framework worn by the performer-a lightweight exoskeleton that emulates the internal human skeleton. A series of analog potentiometers on the system are located at various joints on the human body. There are eight sensors on each arm, corresponding with each axis of arm movement. "The teddy bear had the same eight axes of motion," says Derry. "It was a perfect fit."

Derry noted that because the Gypsy and the bear's data points were the same, the only additional calculations needed were those to separate the human from the bear, which is only two feet tall. The studios used the Gypsy telemetry system to quickly capture all the arm motion data and used that information real-time to drive the puppet motors.

"I used Gypsy because I wanted it's ingenious hardware and telemetry," says Derry. "Its unique capabilities gave us the ability to create lifelike motions without being too lifelike, if you know what I mean. After all, it's a teddy bear, not a real bear."

The Gypsy motion capture system holds a number of advantages over traditional magnetic and optical mocap systems, including, lower cost; superior real-time performance; no problems with optical occlusion, as in optical systems, or electrical or metallic interference, as magnetic systems; and easy solo operation.

Perhaps most importantly, Gypsy does not require a highly controlled environment. "We had our performer wearing Gypsy every day of the 70-day shoot, doing real-time motion capture in a variety of conditions," Derry says. "Gypsy is very light, so he suffered no undo fatigue, and it's virtually trouble free. Just a little timely maintenance for the wear and tear was all we needed."

Working constantly to improve Gypsy's capabilities, Analogus and Meta Motion have recently announced the release of the wireless Gypsy 5. It has the largest capture range of any motion capture system ever developed, up to one-half mile (0.8 km) outdoors and 200 yards (180 m) indoors. With rechargeable batteries lasting up to four hours between charges, Gypsy 3W offers unparalleled mocap flexibility.

About Meta Motion Meta Motion, headquartered in San Francisco, California, specializes in distribution, sales, and consulting for full-body motion capture systems. The company is committed to helping customers configure the best possible motion capture system for their needs yet remain within budget. Gypsy is an easy to operate and very affordable real-time mocap system, with pricing starting at $11,995 for Gypsy, Torso. Meta Motion also the PhaseSpace optical motion capture system, datagloves, and face tracking hardware devices.

For further information please visit Meta Motion web site or phone 415-550-6382.