Machine vision cameras used in animated feature film | Automation.com

Machine vision cameras used in animated feature film

Machine vision cameras used in animated feature film
January 5th, 2009 - Princeton Instruments reports the extensive use of its MEGAPLUS EC11000 color CCD cameras in the production of the soon-to-be-released feature film Coraline. This full-length animated movie from LAIKA (Portland, OR) is the first major stop-motion feature to be shot with industrial machine vision cameras, as well as the first to be shot in stereoscopic 3D.

Written for the screen and directed by Henry Selick (who directed Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach), Coraline boasts a voice cast that includes Teri Hatcher, Dakota Fanning, British comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Ian McShane, John Hodgman, Keith David, and Robert Bailey. The film will be released February 6, 2009 by Focus Features. Adapted from the Hugo Award-winning, internationally best-selling novel by Neil Gaiman, Coraline is a spine-tingling tale about a curious girl who unlocks a mysterious door in her family’s new home and enters into an adventure in a parallel reality.

Instead of shooting on film, director of photography Pete Kozachik (Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride) acquired the movie’s frame-by-frame footage using roughly three dozen cooled, 11-megapixel Princeton Instruments MEGAPLUS cameras. Kozachik indicates that the new MEGAPLUS-based shooting process offers key advantages over previously employed techniques that relied on film, video frame grabbers, and prosumer digital SLRs.

Beyond excellent resolution and color reproduction, the flexible programmability and rugged mechanical housing of the MEGAPLUS are very important for this application. Thermoelectric cooling is critical too, as dark current has to be minimized during the relatively long exposure times used.

In particular, relates Kozachik, the ability of the Princeton Instruments MEGAPLUS to provide sharp, near-real-time monochrome preview images and then capture full-resolution, color “beauty” frames substantially improves project workflow and throughput. Princeton Instruments’ industry-leading automation and integration capabilities amplify these advantages.

“We’re pleased that our advanced imaging technology helped save the Coraline production team considerable time and effort without compromising the quality of their results,” says Terry Guy, Industrial Group Business Manager at Princeton Instruments. “We look forward to seeing future film projects utilize MEGAPLUS-enabled stop-motion animation methods.”

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