A joint research and innovation laboratory working for the cinema industry

The working methods of the cinematographic industry are rapidly changing. New technologies are emerging. They are revolutionising opportunities and impacting film content. They are profoundly changing the ways in which content is created, not only by cutting costs but also by fostering team creativity. It is against this backdrop that the University of Rennes 1 and Inria, the Public Research Institute devoted to digital sciences, founded, along with the company SolidAnim, a joint research and innovation laboratory devoted to the virtual environment 3D cinema industry.

The goal of the CineViz laboratory is to implement a joint ‘Research and Innovation’ (R&I) roadmap involving the Mimetic Research Team (a joint team from the University of Rennes 1, Inria, ENS Rennes and the University of Rennes 2) and the company SolidAnim with a view to developing innovative pre-production products and services for the film industry using 3D animation technologies in virtual environments.

The goal of the R&I work is:

  • To produce rapid prototype cinematographic sequences in virtual environments prior to filming (preview stage);
  • To prepare for the technical production of these sequences during filming in the best way possible (technical preview stage).

This work constitutes a break with the existing technology, which is primarily based on the use of generic 3D modellers, which are hard to access for cinema professionals and which are not tailored to their specific needs.

The scientific, technical and industrial challenge faced by CineViz is to go beyond simple framing support and to offer a new generation of preview tools. The challenge for SolidAnim is to spread the use of previewing to a broad range of professionals, particularly in Europe, via a more powerful tool that is better tailored to their operational needs and offers quicker iteration cycles between the design and production stages.

In order to achieve these goals, CineViz operates on the basis of a pool of resources, technologies and knowledge that is shared by IRISA/Inria’s Mimetic research project team and the SME SolidAnim.

•    IRISA/Inria’s Mimetic research project team is a leader in the field of virtual environment cinematography and presents its research at major conferences in the areas of animation (Siggraph, Eurographics, Siggraph Asia, Symposium of Computer Animation), artificial intelligence (AAAI) and multimedia (ACM Multimedia).
Marc Christie , lecturer at the University of Rennes 1 and a member of the Mimetic team, will coordinate the LabCom.
•    SolidAnim is an SME based in Angoulême and Ivry-sur-Seine and also has a presence in Los Angeles. It specialises in the development of digital pre-production tools for the film industry, and more precisely in the field of motion capture, particularly for the purpose of special effects. It conducted the major R&D that gave rise to the creation of the markerless tracking tool SolidTrack, which can intuitively control a camera in a virtual environment.

The results of the joint laboratory will enable SolidAnim to broaden its range of products and services for the cinema industry and to tap into new markets, particularly those that do not currently use preview techniques. 

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