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The Henson Digital Puppetry Studio Revolutionizes Television Production Using NVIDIA Quadro Processors
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SANTA CLARA, Calif. —Aug. 26, 2009—NVIDIA Corporation congratulates a premier technology partner, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, on winning an Engineering Emmy at the 61st Primetime Emmy Engineering Awards, held Saturday, Aug. 22 in Los Angeles.
The Engineering Emmy was awarded for the remarkably innovative Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, a real-time animation system that allows performers to puppeteer and voice digital characters in real-time, dramatically reducing both animation time and cost. The revolutionary studio features multiple virtual camera production systems and real-time animation viewing systems, all powered by NVIDIA® Quadro® FX graphics processors.
This proprietary animation system has been utilized for the production of the highly successful, Emmy-nominated animated children’s program “Sid the Science Kid,” produced by The Jim Henson Company and KCET/Los Angeles, and has enabled the Creature Shop to generate 40 episodes of HD computer-generated imagery within a year.
“When we embarked on this project, we searched for the best technology out there, and NVIDIA quickly became our graphics solution of choice,” said Steffen Wild, director, Henson Digital Puppetry Studio. ”Since then, a great partnership has emerged, enabling us to achieve this new form of creative expression.”
In the studio, live performers are tracked to map their body movements onto digital puppets. Simultaneously, puppeteers who voice the characters also manipulate the facial motion and lip synch, using a special mechanical-input glove device developed for the right hand, and a joystick-type device for the left hand. This occurs with a director, camera and production crews exactly as it would on a live-action set, and comes together virtually, in real-time, using the Creature Shop’s proprietary software which marries the stage components with the show’s digital environments on the fly. This unique process can be replicated for any film, television, game or interactive production.
“We have been developing our production pipeline for the past several years, based on the vision of Jim Henson, who started exploring the possibilities of digital puppetry back in 1989,” continued Wild. “Back then, computers weren’t fast enough to provide real-time feedback. However over the past few years, graphics processors have truly evolved. Today, our viewing software delivers an entire scene in real-time, and its performance is driven by the NVIDIA Quadro FX solution.”
“We are thrilled that The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is recognizing the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio for its remarkable engineering achievement,” said Dominick Spina, Digital Film Technology manager, NVIDIA. “By harnessing the power of the NVIDIA processor, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop is truly driving innovation and materially enhancing the creation of television programming.”
NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA) awakened the world to the power of computer graphics when it invented the graphics processing unit (GPU) in 1999. Since then, it has consistently set new standards in visual computing with breathtaking, interactive graphics available on devices ranging from portable media players to notebooks to workstations. NVIDIA’s expertise in programmable GPUs has led to breakthroughs in parallel processing which make supercomputing inexpensive and widely accessible. Fortune magazine has ranked NVIDIA #1 in innovation in the semiconductor industry for two years in a row. For more information, see www.nvidia.com.
About JIM HENSON’S CREATURE SHOP™
Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™ provides performed digital visual effects, animatronic creatures, animation and soft puppets to the international film, television and advertising industries.Based in Los Angeles and New York with satellite shop capabilities internationally, the Shop is known for designing and building some of the world’s best-known characters including Elmo from Sesame Street, Miss Piggy from The Muppet Show, the Baby from Disosaurs, Rygel from Farscape and the Skeksis from The Dark Cyrstal. Other credits include Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Are We There Yet?, Five Children and It, the critically acclaimed television series Farscape, The English Patient, 101 Dalmatians, and Cats and Dogs. A recipient of more than 9 Emmy Awards for its outstanding work building puppets for Sesame Street, the Shop also received an Academy Award for its visual effects work on the film Babe. Most recently, the Shop received a Primetime Emmy Engineering award for its work in developing the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, a patented control system technology that enables puppeteers to physically perform a computer generated (CG) character in real time. Jim Henson’s Creature Shop completed production of the first 40 episodes of Sid the Science Kid, an Emmy-nominated animated preschool series airing on PBS and featuring digital puppetry technology and season 40 of Sesame Street for Sesame Workshop. For more information, see www.creatureshop.com.
Certain statements in this press release including, but not limited to, statements as to: the benefits, features, impact, performance and capabilities of NVIDIA Quadro GPUs and CUDA architecture; and the effect of NVIDIA Quadro GPUs on Jim Henson’s Creature Shop are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause results to be materially different than expectations. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include: development of more efficient or faster technology; design, manufacturing or software defects; the impact of technological development and competition; changes in consumer preferences and demands; customer adoption of different standards or our competitor's products; changes in industry standards and interfaces; unexpected loss of performance of our products or technologies when integrated into systems as well as other factors detailed from time to time in the reports NVIDIA files with the Securities and Exchange Commission including its Form 10-Q for the fiscal period ended April 26, 2009. Copies of reports filed with the SEC are posted on our website and are available from NVIDIA without charge. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and speak only as of the date hereof, and, except as required by law, NVIDIA disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances.
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