Published: 17 December 2015

Surrey and Disney collaborate on innovative film software

In the film industry, it’s quite common for a director to re-shoot a crucial scene numerous times, spending both time and money to ensure that timing, emotion and facial expressions are near perfect.

However, a new system developed by researchers at the University’s Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP) and Disney Research has eliminated the need for excessive reshooting by allowing multiple video takes to be blended in order to achieve the perfect performance.

FaceDirector enables a director to seamlessly blend multiple facial performances of an actor, in which facial expressions may differ, in order to fine-tune performances. This gives a director the power to exert control over an actor’s performance, even after the shoot, with just a few takes.

The software achieves this by allowing directors to choose desired facial expressions and timings from two separate videos, blending them together by using a mixture of facial landmarks, optical flow and compositing. Moreover, the system works with the 2D video input belonging to standard cameras, without the need for additional hardware or 3D face reconstruction.

Surrey’s Professor Adrian Hilton, Head of CVSSP, said:  “FaceDirector is the result of a highly successful collaboration between Disney Research Zurich and the Centre, resulting in a new technology for more flexible actor performance production in movies.

“CVSSP has led the UK in collaborative computer-vision research with the creative industries for over a decade and it is particularly rewarding to see the results of cutting-edge research being exploited by industry through joint collaboration.”

See more about the software in our film.

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