Motion capture company Vicon has today launched Cara, a new head-mounted 3D facial motion capture system.

Vicon says that Cara is designed to bring facial motion capture to film, animation and games studios of any size by providing affordable, out-of-the box hardware that is accessible but can also produce high-quality results.

The Cara head rig is available as a standalone piece of hardware, but when paired with Vicon's software, it becomes an end-to-end motion capture workflow.

 
The Cara head rig can hold up to four cameras, and has been designed to allow the actor to move around as freely as possible.

The head rig, which is designed to maintain as much physical openness for the performer as possible, can hold up to four 720p 60fps Pico global-shutter cameras.

Vicon's CaraLive software can be used to control, manage and monitor the motion capture process, and wireless streaming means you can keep track of the images being captured in real-time. Those images can then be exported to third-party software packages, or to Vicon's CaraPost. CaraPost can then take the images from CaraLive and extract the 3D point data to be exported to third-party animation packages.

Vicon's CaraPost software can be used to extract the 3D point data caputred by the head-mounted cameras.

Vicon says that it has worked closely with its customers to create Cara, aiming to ensure that the final product will meet the needs of studios and resolve some of the problems they've faced when trying to capture facial motion in the past.

Framestore, an award-winning visual effects and animation company based in London, is one of those customers. The studio's motion capture supervisor, Ben Guthrie, has said: "Head mounted cameras are the way forward when it comes to large scale capture stages. Through beta testing of Cara we've seen at Framestore that Vicon is an innovator in the industry.

"Cara offers four synchronised high-speed cameras with full wireless connectivity, and a robust dot tracking solution that integrates well into existing Vicon motion capture products as well as being a solid standalone system."

 

During a press briefing, Framestore revealed that it has been using Cara while working on a new (undisclosed) film that involves an animated character in a live-action environment. Among other benefits, it reduced the time needed in makeup each morning from around two-hours with previous motion capture equipment to 45 minutes with Cara.

CEO of Vicon, Imogen Moorhouse, has said: "The need for a modular, high-performance and accessible facial motion capture and tracking system has long been recognised within the industry. This makes the launch of Cara very exciting and instrumental to the future of facial motion capture."

Cara is available to order now from Vicon and some specialised resellers.