Zothecula writes: Actors may soon say good-bye to those humbling Lycra body suits commonly used in the visual effects industry, thanks to a group of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics (MPII). They've formed a start-up called The Captury that is set to deliver its proprietary markerless motion capture software later this year. Their software can even capture a costume's surface detail in three dimensions, like the draping folds in a ballroom dress.
Zothecula writes: Given that most real-life superheroes don’t have the budget of Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne, you would assume that their gadgetry wouldn’t be quite on par with what we’re used to seeing in the movies. German cyber weapons hobbyist Patrick Priebe, however, has built his own working laser gauntlet... just like the one made famous by a certain Iron Man.
Zothecula writes: In the past few years, not only has the Corvette-like Batmobile from Batman Returns been put up for auction, but a jet-powered replica of that same style of Batmobile has also been created. A drivable copy of the Dark Knight-era Tumbler has likewise been built, along with a working replica of the associated Bat Pod motorcycle. For many people, however, the only “true” Batmobile is the original version driven by Adam West in the 1960s TV series – and it’s about to be put on the auction block, for the first time ever.
Zothecula writes: The Star Wars Identities exhibit recently opened in the Canadian city of Edmonton, one of only two North American stops on its current world tour. Gizmag had a chance to check out the show, which features approximately 200 original props, costumes and models used in all six films. Using interactive technology, however, the exhibit also teaches us how our own identities are formed, using the Star Wars characters as examples.
Zothecula writes: We're smack in the middle of summer, which means there are plenty of blockbuster movies to choose from in theaters right now. If you're deaf, though, a trip to the movies can be frustrating. Not many theaters screen movies with closed captions, since most people without hearing problems would rather not see them. The only other option is usually to have a special ear piece on, but that only works if a person has any of their hearing left. Fortunately, Sony is outfitting certain theaters with its new Entertainment Access Glasses, which can display captions right in front of the wearer's eye that no one else can see.
Zothecula writes: An anonymous electrical and systems engineer going only by the moniker BTE-Dan has posted surprisingly detailed plans for a full-scale, functioning Starship Enterprise that he claims could be built in 20 years. Though it may be tempting to scoff at such lofty ambition, the Build the Enterprise website (up all of one week) includes specifications, costs, mission plan and funding strategies, all suggesting that a serious amount of thought has gone into creating a real world counterpart to the icon spaceship of the TV and movie series, Star Trek.
Zothecula writes: Comic book artists and animators often use posable mannequins or motion capture to help get tricky action postures just right, but transferring the figures to paper or computer screens still involves drawing or learning complicated animation and mo-cap software, not to mention all the cameras, hardware and people in funny suits running around. Last year, we heard about the efforts of a Japanese consortium to create what is essentially an action figure equipped with sensors at several joints that would allow real-time pose generation of on-screen CG characters. Still in development then, it's now called Qumarion and when it hits the market in a few months, it'll no doubt prove to be a major time saver for artists and animators alike.
Zothecula writes: The 1988 film Akira stands as a classic not just in Japanese animation, but in the entire post-apocalyptic film genre. As such, fans of the film have been drawn to some of its most memorable moments and visuals, particularly the futuristic motorcycle driven by one of the main characters. One fan even went so far as to devote several years to creating a working replica of the signature vehicle, which has become the only one officially recognized by Akira's creator, and which recently toured Japan to raise money for charity.
Zothecula writes: If you've seen the film The Social Network, then you might have wondered about the identical Winklevoss twins — were a real-life pair of twins cast for the roles, or was it a bit of Hollywood magic? Well, it was magic. Although two different actors' bodies were used, their faces both belonged to actor Armie Hammer. After the movie was shot, the body double's face was digitally replaced with Armie's. While such computer-enabled face-swapping trickery has so far been available only to feature film-makers with deep pockets, that could be about to change, thanks to research being conducted at Harvard University.
Zothecula writes: It would be hard to imagine a greater contrast between today's launch by Canon of its EOS C300 digital cinema camera and the launch of RED's long-awaited Scarlet. Canon's event was huge and long-winded with a string of cinematography heavyweights on stage. At the RED gathering half an hour later, an ad hoc bunch of the faithful turned up at RED studios, ostensibly just to watch the same web page update as the rest of the world. Alas it didn't quite work out like that.
Zothecula writes: Well, you may have heard rumblings about hints that were made at a mysterious press event in Los Angeles, but now it's official: Nike will be auctioning off 1,500 pairs of NIKE MAG high-top sneakers, just like the ones worn in the year 2015 by Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future II. While it isn't clear if the shoes automatically fit themselves to the wearer's feet (as Marty McFly's did), they are at the very least exact visual replicas of the kicks from the movie.
Zothecula writes: Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has become such a staple of modern movie-making that most people know what actors are doing when prancing around in front of green screens wearing skin-tight leotards with reflective balls affixed at various locations over their bodies — motion capture. In addition to the actor's performance, such techniques can also require the tracking of camera movements and props so that perspective is maintained when translating the movements into CGI. Now researchers have demonstrated a system that can perform motion capture almost anywhere and without the need to track a separate camera and it does this by mounting the cameras on the actors instead.
Zothecula writes: Back in 1982, when the original Tron was released, movie merchandising wasn’t quite as... robust as it is today. Therefore, there wasn’t much available in the way of Tron collectibles, much to the chagrin of Apple II-using geeks everywhere. Skip forward 28 years, and you can now buy Tron Legacy toys before the movie has even opened. One of the first out of the starting gates is Air Hogs’ RC Zero G Light Cycle... and yes, you're right, remote-control toys have become pretty much a dime a dozen. Ones that can be driven across walls or ceilings, however, are still kind of special.